What does ChatGPT mean for writers?

–Berthold Gambrel

You probably know about the new AI chatbot, ChatGPT. If you somehow don’t, Kevin Brennan wrote a blog post about it here.

There is a lot of concern in the community that it will mean the end of writing as we know it. And, understandably so. After all, AI destroying everything is an age-old science fiction trope. Everyone knows it, and yet people build it anyway. Welcome to the Torment Nexus, ladies and gentlemen!

However, I’m a glass half-full kind of guy. The optimistic view on this is that, as the traditional publishing industry turns towards churning out mediocre by-the-numbers writing, people will start to long for that hand-crafted touch that only a human writer can provide. Enter indie authors, who can produce unique, offbeat, and interesting stories that traditional publishers wouldn’t touch.

So, basically, the same as now, only more so. πŸ™‚

Of course, there is a possibility the AI will get so powerful it can produce truly human-like writing. However, if that happens, we’ll probably have much bigger problems to worry about than just our future careers as writers. Survival of the species, for example.

I say, don’t worry about what you can’t control, and in the meantime make the best of things. You can’t compete with the machine, so don’t. Instead, produce things so original and creative that you’re in a completely different market than the computer-generated pablum.


  1. So the real threat is to trad-pubbed authors who may be shuffled to the sidelines by publishers. They may have to take the indie road!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. kingmidget says:

    If AI takes over, it’ll be a good excuse for me to give up on writing!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No! I won’t accept that as an excuse.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. kingmidget says:

        You may not have a choice. πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  3. chucklitka says:

    Funny you should be writing about this, as it has suddenly caught my eye as well. The thing is that, in my view, it will really end writing as a career for every writer of fiction and entirely reshape publishing. And it will usher in a golden age for readers. And sooner than you might think.

    Reading and publishing will soon become an app, a service. You sign up, you define what you like to read – genre(s) tropes, story beats, writing style, i.e. Steven King, or Jane Austin, or what have you. You then give the AI a story idea with prompts and suggestions, and seconds later you have your store. For example, you can tell the AI that you want a cozy Gothic mystery, that includes a dumb talking dog, a snarky talking cat, an spooky mansion, written in the style of Jane Austin. But that’s just the beginning. You can create your own characters for the stories, giving them different attributes, or make yourself the hero of the story. You can have lots of different profiles for stories, and can pick one depending on your mood of the day. In short everyone will have stories made just for them when they want them.

    Writing and publishing books that then have to go out and find an audience is very inefficient. Only one out of three books turn a profit for the publishers in traditional publishing, and most self-published books never make up their production costs. Personal books by AI that can be printed on demand if a paper copy is wanted will quickly replace traditional publishing.

    Writing a novel may be significantly harder than making art, but it will use the same process, i.e. truly vast amounts of data that it can draw on to assemble a unique work of art. And when you consider how fond readers are of stories written to a formula – take the Stephanie Plum novels – the bar is not all that high for AI to reach. And soon.

    Is there any room for human writers in this world? As a hobby, yes. As a career, maybe as story baristas; people skilled in teasing out the best in AI stories for customers with their knowledge of how to write a good prompt for the story. Otherwise, I doubt it. Artisanal books written by real writers maybe, but since there is no way that anyone could be assured that the writer didn’t use AI to write it I doubt that there would be much demand.

    Writing fiction as a career will go the way of soda jerks, switchboard operators, and dodos. AI is going to enclose a whole lot of fields that people make a living on today. People will adjust. In time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I fear you could be right. :/


    2. I can’t see readers plugging in the elements to prompt the AIs. Well, maybe some, but most readers don’t want to “cook” their reading material, but to consume it pre-cooked. Except for broad genre categories. But there will very likely be humans tweaking the AIs to crank out reading products.
      In that scenario, fiction writing as a career will be dead. People may continue writing and even publishing, but we’ll be like those folks who do blacksmithing or weaving as a hobby. It will be the trad-pubbed authors who lose the most.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. chucklitka says:

    Here is a YouTube creator about AI

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Anonymole says:

    I’ve been following and writing about AI, in general, and ChatGPT, specifically, since its debut. If you’re curious you know where to find me.

    The scenario Chuck describes will come to pass. But both the industry and society will be the ones to balk at total AA (Artificial Authorship) adoption. The landscape is shifting so fast and government, copyright specifically, has to catch up.

    Before true, novel novels are being written by AI, other writing occupations will fall. One of the silly reactions I’m witnessing is the way schools, at every grade level, focusing on universities, are reacting. They think they can control this genie. “Detect” AI authored works? Bah. For like six months maybe. Block students from using AI to write papers? Right. Here’s the real question: Why are you teaching a skill that will no longer be required as a human? Orchestration. That’s what must be learned. Become AI Managers, not competitors.

    For a while, writers get a pass. Good writers that is. Now, if I was only a good writer…

    Liked by 1 person

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