By Francis Hamit: “Sci-Fi Mag Pauses Submissions Amid Flood of AI-Generated Short Stories” reports PCMag. This was predictable. And I feel sorry for this editor for having to sort through this pile of crap. You would think that people would have more pride.
By the way the Copyright Office will not register anything generated by an AI program. Saying that puts me in an odd position since I’m generating images with ArtSpace.ai of the characters in my novel Starmen. I’m using these in my posts of some of the chapters in Starmen, a multi-genre novel I wrote during the Covid lockdown while also recovering from surgery for spinal stenosis. Writing is part of my therapy to prevent dementia. Playing with a natural language program to make new art also excites my brain. I can feel the white matter growing.
Like any other technology, ChatGPT can be abused and AIs are really stupid compared to humans. Typing instructions into ArtSpace.ai requires a lot of trial and error. It takes ten seconds for a result but hours to get one that you can keep.
As a thought experiment of the alternative universe kind I wondered what would have happened if the famous 1950s pin-up model Bettie Page had posed for a painting by Edward Hopper. This never happened in this universe. Hopper’s wife, who was very jealous, posed for all of his nudes. I’m a big Hopper fan and also of Bettie Page. Hopper’s theme was loneliness and Page, despite her fame, was so lonely that she just disappeared in 1957. After over 100 tries I came up with one that I feel is very close. The program has setting for various artists’ styles. Having put in all that time I then wrote a short story about that fictional encounter. A creative challenge that required using my research skills, but did not use ChatGPT. That story has been submitted for publication where they already get thousands of stories every month and say “if you don’t hear from us in 90 days, move on.”
We seem to have a Gresham’s Law effect working here. Bad content drives out good. We can look forward to novels for various popular franchises being generated by AI programs that will produce results superior to some of the hack work used by some authors whose publishers have convinced them to seize the moment and get as much material as they can out under their brand as possible. Having others work from your outline comes under the definition of authorship. So do those images I create in ArtSpace.ai since they result from words I typed. And a database with 5,000 years of art history. Hardly original. This will be an issue for the courts. Is AI a tool like a paintbrush or a typewriter or not?
Taking it to the next level, I am putting some of these images on products through Printful. Mugs, posters and notebooks. Here I use the “velvet rope” theory of marketing. Quantities are very limited so I can charge $20 for a notebook that elsewhere would sell for a tenth of that price because it has an interesting thought-provoking cover that not everyone can have. Printful gets most of the money for making and shipping it. What I get is attention for my novel. Anyway, images attached if you care to use them. I sell them on Ebay and Etsy. Neither is a great place to sell anything because there is so much competition. But I like the result and ordered samples for myself. I’m not worried about great writing or art being pushed out by AI. Quality, like cream, rises to the top. It will be harder now for those human-to-human interactions to break through because of all of the noise created by people too lazy to do their own work.
Oops. Meant to say ‘Bleak’
After seeing so much junk rise to the top of search results, I see no reason to believe that quality always rises. Web sites can’t get found any more and I expect the same to happen to a lot of people producing books and art.
I’m upset that literary magazines are being forced to close submissions because of AI written submissions. Especially since the one in the article is one I’ve been trying to break into.
In terms of AI art, I’m torn. It does have its applications, like the one you are using it for, and I’m experimenting with images for book covers. However, the artist in me is crying. (I have an MFA in sculpture) Let’s hope the art AI advances slowly.
I have a MFA in Fiction from Iowa. How do you think I feel?