Hey! That book you're reading was written by an A.I.
Is the unthinkable going to happen?
A January 27, 2020 article written by Richard Lea appeared in the Guardian. The title: If a novel was good, would you care if it was created by artificial intelligence?
This topic befuddled my brain. I'm a writer. I spend countless hours hammering away on my keyboard in the hopes that you will read my stuff and get a thrill out of my work. BAM!! Guess what Sebastian Blunt, your competition was invented in Silicon Valley. The thought is a scary one, and the title of the piece in the Guardian is spot on.
So, would you care? You just read a great book. You loved it. You recommended it to your friends. Then you find out that a computer wrote it. Is that a blow to your gut, or no problem at all?
The article states that computer-written screenplays are going to be coming in the next 5 years. Movie scripts aren't books, but how long before the books appear? Typewriters are gone. Everything is going digital. The world has changed.
On March 25, 2019, the Guardian published a different article on the prospect of A.I. writing the books. A fantastic quote from the article is:
"Writing is not Data: it is a means of expression, and a non-sentient computer program has nothing to express."
Emotionally, I completely side with the sentiment above, but what the hell happens if A.I. evolves to the point where these computers manufacture their own emotions? We humans write our emotions onto pages and pages of novels that we hope will capture the attention of other flesh and blood beings like us.
There is not nearly enough space in a simple blog to delve deeply into this subject. It is an ethical, moral, technical subject that is difficult to grasp. However, let's run this idea out to a distant future convergence. What happens when the A.I.'s are writing for other A.I.'s. Try to wrap your head around that. Humans are no longer IN THE FOOD CHAIN. Instead, Artificial Intelligence machines amuse and entertain each other. Writing for humans is no longer a meaningful endeavor.
Here's a metaphor. I'm bored with using crayons to illustrate see Spot run for four year old kids. Get the idea? This is a step beyond the scope of the Guardian articles. Step one is when novels the likes of To Kill A Mockingbird are written by a machine. Step two, perhaps the final step, is when the machine, now emotionally endowed, FEELS that writing for finite, moronic humans is worthless. A human cannot appreciate what the A.I. can do. Only another, like itself, can.
For now, we are still in charge of our entertainment. I hope that we can pass on to the next generation the value of human expression. A famous quote: "Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should" may very well apply to our dash to build machines to replace us.