Found this recent piece from Alberto Romero’s The Algorithmic Bridge, proposing that writers are less upset about the rise of generative AI tools than visual artists are. I’m not sure that corresponds with my own experience on the matter…

Romero writes:

Yet, despite the apparent fact that AI could be an equally problematic hazard for writers, I don’t see us doing the same. When I look at my guild I perceive a sharp contrast with artists: Writers are either learning to take advantage of generative AI, dismissing it as useless, or ignoring it altogether.

I don’t see hostility or anger. I don’t see fear.

I guess we’ve been looking in different places! Given conversations I saw several months ago on this topic in subreddits like r/selfpublish and r/writing, it seems to me like writers are plenty angry about these things. Maybe it’s not yet reached quite the fever pitch that it did so quickly with digital visual art though. But it’s certainly there, simmering.

He quotes Paul Graham, who says (in part):

“Certainly bad writers will use it, but good writers won’t.”

Mmkay. No comment.

Putting that aside, Romero does get into some interesting theorizing about style & the post overall is a worthwhile read, like all his writing.

I consider myself both a visual artist and a writer, and I’m puzzled as to why creative people seem to be overall fearful of these technologies. Or perhaps, it is merely that fear tends to be more vocal and louder in expressing itself, then people who are just quietly happily churning out projects using these tools.

Personally, I feel like I am an “AI native” – even though I have a great deal of reservations about the impacts of the technology on society. It just feels like something I’ve been waiting for my whole life, and it’s finally occurring & I get to be a part of it.

What’s there to fear? New opportunities? New methods? A changing landscape? To me, for artists, those are all always good things. Change is what keeps us vital as creators. Creation, in my humble opinion, is literally the expression of change.

Here’s one thing I find myself profoundly disagreeing with in Romero’s piece:

Language lives in the realm of definiteness. The link between the writer’s intention and the reader’s perception is direct and well-defined—univocal.

I guess I inhabit a different world artistically. Even putting aside contrivances like hyperreality or the Uncanny Valley – where I find myself homesteading these days – what about simply poetry? I would counter that ambiguity, and confusion, and many “true” impressions of a thing are sort of the essence of language, and what makes it even interesting and worthwhile in the first place.

We all want to strive to communicate well the things we mean, but apart from the striving, for me that is where the definiteness stops. It’s not that there’s no objective reality, or that truth doesn’t exist (there is, and it does); it’s just that humans exist. We all have different unique viewpoints and piles of experiences that make us feel and perceive things differently. And that’s good. But it’s not univocal by any means. It’s a multiverse.