Why Authors Have Nothing to Fear from ‘AI Fiction’

So as an author who writes about Scifi and AI, you might be wondering – what do I think of AI-written stories? You see news articles about them from time to time, and for right now they’re more of a vehicle for humor than anything else. What about the future? You’ll be glad to know that authors have nothing to fear from AI fiction.

To understand why this is true, you must answer the question: Why do people make art? What’s art’s purpose in life? From a pure survival standpoint, art means little or nothing at all. You can’t eat it. You can’t spend it. Art’s intrinsic value is subjective, and based ultimately upon whatever collective value the group is willing to put on it. So what is art’s purpose?

‘Art,’ as the saying goes, ‘communicates what words cannot.’ The human exploration of ‘political, spiritual or philosophical ideas, the creation of beauty, the exploration of the nature of perception,’ are all human goals with very little practical value but have a tremendous impact on our minds and hearts.

It’s more than that: The valuation of a particular work of art or creativity cannot be completely quantified on a rational basis. That ability to speak to those unspoken ideas and concepts, to capture that lightning in a bottle, cannot be commoditized. You can’t do any of those things unless you’re ready to, or need to, do one simple thing: relate.

That’s right. Humans use art to relate to each other, and we aren’t ready to delegate that function to a robot. At least, not yet. We – non-sociopathic human beings, that is – want to relate to each other. We want to be related with. We measure our value against each other, using intrinsic, unspoken value systems that refuse the level of control necessary for an artificial intelligence to understand.

So while artificial intelligence can tell a story, while a robot can play a musical instrument, nobody’s offering a book or album from AI right now. First, AI’s must learn to relate to humanity. Until then, that seems to be our job.

 

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