Will AI ‘Authors’ Become the Norm?

This morning I woke up to an article in the New York Post about “authors” using ChatGPT to write and sell books on Amazon. The artificial intelligence tool builds off simple writing prompts and can write a book in under four hours. Give it a topic…let’s say a children’s story about two dogs who are best friends and save a farm and its animals from being sold. Presto. A story and illustrations are “created.” Everyone who wants to write a book can now call themselves an author. Apparently, the “boom” is in e-books. This got me thinking…will AI authors take over the already saturated marketplace and the competition for readers? Will this become the new norm in the burgeoning self-publishing business or a threat to the traditional publishing model?

As much as those questions, though, I consider a robot becoming our voices, our storytellers? Do writing seminars become unnecessary? Have talent and dedication gone the way of the landline? Will ghostwriters be out of work? And what about the journey the serious writer undertakes to understand herself and others and her place in the world? Now, she simply loads an app and lets it outsmart her?

The Post article goes on that “there are concerns over authenticity because ChatGPT learns how to write by scanning millions of pages of existing text. An experiment with AI by CNET resulted in multiple corrections and apparent plagiarism before the tech news site suspended its use.”

Besides wondering if some of my novels or memoirs might appear someday in an AI-generated book, I have to think that the hard work and years of dedication it takes to master the craft might simply be expendable.

As Ava Stuart, the writer in my novel And the Memory Returns puts it:

She thought of the many writing spaces where she had tried to find meaning beyond words. The weathered picnic table under the elm tree in her parents’ backyard. The upstairs attic bedroom where she tapped away on the green Smith Corona her parents gave her as a high school graduation gift. The beach in Crete the summer of 1973 when she traveled with Asher, who strummed his guitar to the doleful strains of a Leonard Cohen song. The stark white oncology office, where she waited for Jay during his chemo treatments. Her bedroom late at night, pen scribbling across a spiral-bound reporter’s notebook, pouring out her grief for all that had been and never would. What will I write? How many risks will I take? Will these impressions, memories, and observations that I pen in airports, at home, and in doctor’s offices remain for my eyes only or for an audience of many?

If a robot writing tool exists as a way to simply write and sell a book as a commercial, not a creative enterprise, will those places, memories, and reflections become little more than superfluous? And what about the lovingly crafted workspaces, the nature walks that spur reflection, and the time spent in solitude that fortifies and nourishes the writer? As Ava writes:

Now, sitting at the new desk, the screen glowed translucent, inviting her to write. As Virginia Woolf said, a woman needs money and a room of her own. Woolf also said that a woman needs privacy to write, pen her innermost thoughts, and believe in herself. There was no “perfect” pen, no “perfect” desk, no “perfect” manuscript, and maybe no “perfect” title for a book. Just the invitation to enter the sacred space of writing.

Like so much in life, technology becomes master if we let it. Will the AI ‘author’ become the ‘norm’?

Would you use ChatGPT to write a book? And if so, why or why not? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Published by Susan G. Weidener

Join me as I share reflections, always with an eye toward the challenges and struggles we women encounter and embrace in both creative and personal ways. My memoir, Again in a Heartbeat, was selected as a 2011 editor’s pick by Story Circle Network. Its sequel Morning at Wellington Square has also achieved critical acclaim. A Portrait of Love and Honor, a novel based on a true story, is centered around a story of two people, Ava Stuart and Jay Scioli, who are destined to meet and Jay's commitment to honor following his years at West Point. My new novel And the Memory Returns continues the story of Ava Stuart who begins asking herself those questions so many women face as they age. What had it all meant? Where does she go from here? In 1991, I joined the staff of The Philadelphia Inquirer and worked as a reporter covering news and writing feature stories until 2007. A native of the Philadelphia suburbs, I attended the University of Pennsylvania. In 2010, I started the Women's Writing Circle, a critique and support group for writers in suburban Philadelphia, which meets the second Saturday of the month at the Chester Springs Library. I live in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania with my Yellow Lab, Lily.

4 thoughts on “Will AI ‘Authors’ Become the Norm?

  1. Susan, I agree that the creative process of putting thoughts, feelings, ideas and insights into words on paper is a world away from a computer-generated story, no matter how “creative” it might be.
    Writers have hearts and souls. Nothing can replace that.


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