I’ve been pondering a lot the reactions people have had on social media regarding my AI Lore books, and it’s made me realize that framing is everything. The means and perspective by which something is first presented to people here. And why changing the perspective through which the very same thing is shown changes the resulting reactions people have completely.
A good case study is the AI-generated science fiction magazine called Infinite Odyssey. Here are some of the headlines their work generated:
- Infinite Oddyssey is the first sci-fi magazine created completely with AI
- From Fiction to Reality: AI Telling It’s Story
And Futurism, which hates or has a snarky take on everything gave them this glowing title:
Now, I didn’t see the responses any of those news items resulted in on social media at the time, but I saw very clearly how the initial headlines your work gets end up framing what kinds of reactions people will be driven to have, along which particular fault lines.
It was unfortunate that Newsweek wanted me to take the “look how much I’m making with AI” angle. It’s not what I originally pitched them. One, because I’m really not making that much – but it’s fun for me so who cares. Two, because it sets everyone up in comments to be like “this guy’s not making that much / he’s only in it for the money / etc etc.”
Whereas a headline that is like, “Hey, here’s a cool thing” makes people react like, huh, yeah that is kinda cool. They don’t launch into as much like a thousand(s) person army hellbent on your destruction as much.
Fundamentally, I have to ask though: what’s so different about Infinite Odyssey’s sci fi generated magazine (which got good reviews), and what I’m doing in a different sort of configuration via pulp sci fi mini novels as ebooks? Apart from format (and number of volumes produced), and the fact that they are a group of people and I am just one?
Their project is really cool, and they even have a print edition of their first volume. The cover price for that is high though, and I know from trying to sell print books in the past you have to raise your cover price so high to even make a small profit on each unit. It’s a really hard game to win at.
I could be wrong, but it looks like their digital version is probably delivered as a PDF file. Mine are delivered as either EPUB or MOBI files, so you can use them on Kindle or any other kind of reader.
Apart from those relatively minor differences – and that my books probably contain more human-written percentages of words than theirs do (based on what I heard in this excellent interview with Philippe Klein, the Creative Director of the magazine), it’s hard to see what the difference is, apart from public perceptions that were formed as a result of framing around their initial coverage.
A good lesson for me, either way. The objective at this point seems to be: improve the framing. Improve the framing, improve the response.