Wednesday 4 October 2023

IWSG October 2023

Time for our monthly meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Hosted as ever by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the aim of the group is to offer a safe space where writers can share doubts and insecurities without fear of being judged. This month's co-hosts are Natalie AguirreKim LajevardiDebs CareyGwen GardnerRebecca Douglass and Patricia Josephine.

Today's optional IWSG question is a good one! I'm a bit late today, but I couldn't resist weighing in on this one.

The topic of AI writing has been heavily debated across the world. According to various sources, generative AI will assist writers, not replace them. What are your thoughts?

This one's interesting to me because I'm currently exploring AI themes in my WIP - not in terms of assisting in writing, but in the context of VR worlds and immersive experiences. Suffice it to say, things don't go so well when the characters are allowed some degree of independent thought rather than following preprogrammed behaviour patterns. I suppose it reflects my fear that AI could get out of control if we let it - and the most sinister result could be an overload of blandness. We all know there are already plenty of human-produced works out there in every genre that reproduce the same set of tropes that fans of that area have come to expect. AI can only compound this and accelerate the stagnation because it can only imitate, not innovate. I suppose the argument in favour is that this is giving readers what they want, but art isn't a production line. I like to know exactly what I'm getting when I order my favourite pizza. In contrast, when I pick up a new book, I'd like to be surprised - to encounter a different way of looking at the world, to come away slightly changed by the experience. Also, can AI capture the intricacies and idiosyncracies of human relationships in the same way we can? I'd need to be convinced on that.

AI can't move things forward, it can only reproduce and dilute what's already out there. I don't think it'll produce a great work of world literature like Frankenstein or Lord of the Rings. They may not have been the first ever works of horror or fantasy, but they were different to what came before and changed the game in terms of what those genres could be and what they could achieve.

I could go on, but I'd probably get into an even more worried and troubled state. Maybe I'm a Luddite in some ways, but the only word processing software I've ever used is Word and I don't even like the autofinish feature - how many times does it come out with the wrong thing?! Creativity has to stay in the hands of humans if things are to remain vital and progressive. 

Over to you - I'd love to hear your thoughts! I'm sure there are also loads of interesting answers at the IWSG sign-up sheet here.