Found this video recently by Youtuber Daniel Greene, which I have queued up here to where he makes arguments against my books, and against using AI outputs in finished works:
Greene seems to articulate a lot of the objections that I saw on social media, many of which I have already replied to in detail in other posts, so I won’t rehash old material again here.
It strikes me that Greene, like nearly everyone else who has come out strongly against my books, has of course not read them. Something something judging a book by its cover…
Greene says a couple big things though that I think are worth addressing:
“This is not being an author – this is something else…”
I don’t 100% agree, but I’m willing to jettison for the sake of argument that part that doesn’t agree, and say “okay, no, this is not ‘being an author.'”
In actual fact, I’ve written extensively about authorless writing and how postmodern theorists in the 1960s and 70s predicted all of this in different terms that are still useful today.
Second, what then is the “something else” that this most resembles?
To me, it resembles being a creative director or a product manager. You have an idea for a thing, you have a set of constraints (budget, format, etc), and then you make use of other people’s talents and a variety of tools to execute on that vision.
Good creative directors & product managers are good communicators. And dare I say it, usually even good writers: capable of, for example, clearly conveying information in such a way that engineers can then build actual working tools based on it. We literally work in the formats of stories and epics.
Then what about music producers? Do they actually write or play the music? Some might sometimes, but Rick Rubin offered a great model here for what I think integrating AI into the creative process will ultimately lead us to – once we’re willing to accept that it’s merely the locus of creative activity which has shifted, not that creativity is not being exercised (it is in a major way):
What about film directors? Do they do all their own music? Do they work every camera? Do they do all the editing? All the acting? Pretty much never.
So even if we say, okay, this doesn’t quite resemble all the time the old conventional definition of “being an author,” the “something else” that replaces it is actually quite powerful and profound and worthy of investigation all on its own, as it brings us very close to the intangible core of what creativity even is in the first place.
One last item Greene mentions in his critique of my work, is that using AI to create is tantamount to the “McDonald’s version of creativity.”
Apparently McDonald’s stopped counting publicly how many billions of burgers had been served somewhere circa 1993-4. I saw one estimate of 300 billion for today, but don’t think there’s any reliable current data there.
It’s rare I eat at McDonalds, but there’s nothing wrong with a fast food hamburger once in a while. I’m sure you never ever eat junk food!
Anyway, I’ll let Rick Rubin have the last word here, because it’s just so much better coming from him.
I’m definitely in this phase of listening to my own voice, amid a cacophony of other voices pressuring me to conform to their own vision (in other words, all of social media). If I were to do that, I would undermine my own vision and betray the strange lights I’m following which lead me here… And in so doing, I would sacrifice the few nice beautiful meaningful things I might be able to bring into the world, by following this other path that the mass of writers seems to despise. I respect their position, but in order to live with myself as an artist and yes – even as an “Author” – I must follow my own path instead. Best wishes on yours!