Everyone loves, fears, and loathes technology. The latest incarnation, Chat GPT, is putting teachers, writers, artists, and creative types into a tizzy because the dawn of a new era is upon them that could, like all technology, spell doom for some while being a panacea for others. Will Chat GPT threaten or enhance the book industry?
Let’s explore together.
Right now, Chat GPT is still really in beta. It’s somewhere between an idea and an actual thing. It easily can get facts wrong, show bias, and render something you weren’t looking for. But, it can spit out complete, relevant, well-written paragraphs on all kinds of topics.
Teachers worry that they will never get another essay or term paper written by a student. Companies wonder how soon robots can replace humans. Writers worry they will become marginalized, or worse, become mere editors than creative writers. Additionally, intellectual property is being used by machines to help program its abilities to churn out content. Publishers wonder if they will be able to sell book when machines can create them for free.
Look at how one little invention can make everyone crazy.
Chat GPT;s arrival is creating an arms race between Microsoft, Google, and the others to launch and perfect the next big thing. We will soon have an Internet that can truly interact with us, giving rise to age-old concerns about machines taking jobs away, machines learning to outthink us, and machines arming themselves to enslave humans.
The Age of Artificial Intelligence is upon us and it will have a profound impact on everything good, bad, and both.
I remember writing a term paper in college nearly four decades ago, about how computers will one day write books. All that is needed is for words to be loaded into a computer for programs to be written to show all combinations of words. Of course, trillions of calculations are needed to be done and computers are much faster now. Once you set up guidelines, such as length of sentences, the need for a verb and noun in each sentence that takes up two or more words, the processing of content gets better. Then, all that you need are human readers, or editors, who can dismiss the garbage and uncover the gold, Maybe it has already happened.
It seems that a bigger burden is on readers today. They don’t trust what’s on social media. They question real journalists. And now they have to contend with AI--generated content that may sound legit but lacks veracity and accuracy.
Of course, any computer is the product of humans, including incompetence and/or not well-intended individuals. Whatever complaint or praise we have for Chat GPT really should be aimed at its human programmers, unless computers are now training each other, the spawning of a second-hand world where no one really is in control. The dangers of technology are clear.
What happens if we rely on them so much that we expose ourselves to losing our human abilities, where we allow computers to make decisions without taking into account feelings and relevant factors? Technology fails to give way to philosophy, religion, or a fairness that only humans can experience. In other words, is a computer able to practice morality?
The New York Times recently decried this about the new technology: “The new chatbots do come with baggage. They often do not distinguish between fact and fiction. They can generate language that is biased against women and people of color. And experts worry that people will use them to spread lies at a speed they couldn’t in the past.”
Time Magazine said this: “Proponents believe this is just the beginning: that generative AI will re-orient the way we work and engage with the world, unlock creativity and scientific discoveries, and allow humanity to achieve previously unimaginable feats.”
But it also noted: “If humans come to rely on AI for information, it will be increasingly difficult to tell what is factual, what is an ad, and what is completely made up.”
I do wonder if there will always be a lag between AI and human reality. AI needs constant inputting of data and reprograming, as it reacts to the real-world events, ideas, and people who create what actually happens in life. Will AI be something that both propels us forward with new concepts not yet seen by humans, while also keeping us in a pattern of past-life experiences and moments?
Technology has no off button.
There’s no turning back. What gets discovered gets used - and abused. Nothing is inherently good or bad, great or useless, but we make it so. We increasingly live hybrid lives, where some percentage is relying on computers, machines, and technology in hopes it will augment the human experience. But in the process, we may be coming less human. It might already be written into software DNA.
Will AI help us become smarter, better, and as a result productive, wealthier, and happier? Will AI gain a rapid ability to function autonomously and improve itself independent of human touch?
For now, keep writing and living as you are, but at the same time, start to think how you can prepare for, even exploit, the next generation of AI. It is coming and it will no doubt alter the world as we have known it to be.
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About Brian Feinblum
Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2023. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This award-winning blog has generated over 3.3 million pageviews. With 4,400+ posts over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by www.WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult: www.linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum.