Artificial intelligence (A. I.) is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems (source). A. I. has been coming for as long as I’ve been watching television. Shows such as The Jetsons and Lost In Space romanticized the A.I. to human relationships, while movies like The Terminator and The Matrix showed examples of A.I. gone wrong.
This latest crop of A.I. can write a novel or paint a portrait based on a human’s ideas. We can program it to assimilate data at record speed and regurgitate that data, in any form we request, at a rate not humanly possible. To what end, you ask? To free humans to do more right brained kinds of work? Recently, large tech companies have realized they don’t need so many right brained workers.
“What’s exciting is that the responses are more and more human-like, so what you’re seeing is things we did not think computers could do before,” Jeffrey Wong, global chief innovation officer at professional services firm EY, told CNBC. (source)
November 30, 2022, Elon Musk and partner, Sam Altman unveiled an artificial intelligence they’ve been developing since 2015. By January, ’23, their A. I., ChatGPT, had amassed 100 million monthly users after only two months in existence. It was the fastest-growing consumer app in history. Their tech company, OpenAI, sold more copies in 5 days than Netflix sold subscriptions in 36 months. (source)
In the artificial intelligence race to rival ChatGPT, Google’s A.I. powered chatbot, BARD, is the latest to be tested. BARD, built on Google’s large language model, Lamda, rolls out to the public soon. One engineer described it as so human-like in its responses that he believed it was sentient (source). Sentient means to give A.I. the ability to think, reason, make judgements and use common sense.
Another form of artificial intelligence turning the unartistic into Rembrandt is DALL-E (source), also owned by Elon Musk’s company, OpenAI. This A. I. model takes simple instructions, much like we’d give a human artist, and generates all kinds of images that are difficult to near impossible for humans to create manually. Can DALL-E help you create the cover art for your next book? Short answer: Yes.
We’ve all experienced this scenario. After a couple of minutes on a consumer website, a chat or voice messaging box will pop up. These are chatbots, computer programs that respond to users’ questions based on a pre-written script, and they are the precursors to what is emerging today.
Declarative and Predictive are the primary types of chatbots based on their conversation styles and they function using keywords and pattern matching. Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google’s Assistant are examples of Predictive chatbots known as simple A.I.
ChatGPT, BARD, and DALL-E are more advanced and can be programmed to learn how we speak. After a while of interacting with a writer or artist, they can put words and thoughts together for us.
Will A.I. impact indie writers?
That was the burning question, and the answer is Yes! You won’t be able to write with the speed of someone who uses this new medium to turn out ten novels a year. However, this A.I. may give you a nose to sniff out the missing humanness or see the weird word choices in a story or blog post because humans will always write better prose. Writers will need their networks and communities to stay relevant as they grow with and adapt to this new technology.
Wednesday, February 15, I’ll discuss writers who are using ChatGPT and cover designers utilizing DALL-E.