Artificial Intelligence creeps into the creative world.
Confession. I read a lot. Books and magazines mostly. Oh, and newspapers. Yeah, newspapers.
Good reading habits are integral to writers. Books help hone craft. I’ve always read newspapers because those little snippet articles in the back pages provide wonderful fodder for imagination.
Wired has become one of my favorite monthly magazines. I’m not a terribly techie person. I’m not into high tech gadgets as much more than a conversation starter. I am, however, intrigued by the “what if” proposition in a great many of their features. The editors of Wired are masterful at crafting pieces that touch on tech’s influence in our lives from a variety of angles.
In the current issue of Wired, writer Stephen Marche went down a curious rabbit hole. With so much being written about how Artificial Intelligence is going to reshape the landscape of both blue and white collar jobs, Marche delved into the possibility of robot writing – that someday a bot could write a great work of fiction. Specific to this article, Marche appropriately challenged a bot to write a work of science fiction.
As I read Marche’s introduction, I went a little pale. I got a familiar kind of feeling, kind of like when I open a letter and realize one of those robot speed detectors caught me doing 47 in a 25.
Could such an audacious thing as robot writing be possible?
Marche described in detail how the bot was going to create his story. He talked about the technology and revealed a well thought out formula and then followed it up with what the bot produced.
The experiment wasn’t simply hypothetical. It was real.
I won’t reveal much more than that on the substance. You really should go out and pick up an issue of Wired for yourself and see how that story and Marche’s premise makes you feel.
What I will say however is this. To realize that what I read on the page was only the awkward beginnings of AI’s creep into the creative world was eerie. The concept of an “uncanny valley” was never more alive than as I felt myself pulled into the story as I am prone to do. I’ve felt the uneasy wave watching digitized actors on the screen, cringed at automated voices, but this was something far different.
While on one hand I don’t believe they’re coming for my job, I recognized that the robot writing genie had been let out.
How does the idea of robot writing make you feel? Have you read the article? Does the idea of creativity and fiction become less (or more) when you remove the human experience?