This week, it’s take #2 on AI and Chat GPT. Should you be using AI as a creative? How can AI help your creativity? And, most importantly, what are the dangers in using AI as someone with a creative job or hobby?
I’ve been a bit out of the loop lately. Since launching the magazine, I’ve been trying to get some semblance of a social life back, but finding a good balance is hard.
I went to a dance event this weekend, but I worked all the way there and all the way back in the car. All weekend, I was checking my phone for updates from my writers, sending emails, and replying to comments on Twitter, because we’ve been getting traffic from there lately and I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity.
And, of course, Twitter is still rife with the discussion around AI and Chat GPT. I mean, obviously. Who’s not talking about it? But specifically within the writing community, people are talking about boycotts, petitions, and condemning anyone who even uses AI (even if they’re not using it creatively).
I completely understand this point of view, and as a creative I can relate to the fear of being elbowed out of your craft by a robot. I’m sure everyone remembers the first article I wrote on Writing and AI, which was incited by my ex-boyfriend telling me that there’d be no need for authors in ten years time; who would need authors, when Chat GPT could spit out the perfect book? (Yes, this is one of the reasons that we broke up).
I can also relate to this as an entrepreneur.
Imagine dedicating six months of your life to creating a magazine, only to have AI explode in the month before its launch. Now, everyone’s saying that there’s no need for content writers because Chat GPT can do it for you. Okay… well, there goes the premise of my business. And here comes an onslaught of AI-generated competition bigger than I ever could have imagined.
What I’m trying to say is this: It would be very easy for me to renounce AI, too. Trust me when I say that I know how it feels, and nobody is alone in this fear. The unknown is always going to be scary. But, at this point, avoiding AI kind of feels like living in denial.
A bit like when my parents tell me that they use Ecosia instead of Google. Like, it’s a nice effort, and it’s kind, but Google will always be the number one search tool. I could try and explain to you why, but that would make for a really boring article, and I know you all came here to talk about AI. So, as a (self-proclaimed) expert on the matter, you’ll have to just take my word for it.
Why You Should Use AI as a Creative
Okay, one second, let me just remove your hands from my throat and let me explain… (joking).
Before I get started, I want to make it clear that I am not in support of those who are using AI to replace a craft. (For example, I know there are already people who are using AI to create whole novels and making a fortune from e-books in this way, and I don’t think that’s cool).
The reason you should do it is because other people are, and if you don’t, you’ll get left behind. I don’t mean that nobody will buy your book, or your writing; of course they will. Chat GPT won’t replace human authors, of that I am certain.
I just mean that your life would be unnecessarily more difficult.
Have you ever tried the stream of consciousness writing technique? The one where you just write and write without stopping. You don’t look back to see if what you just wrote made sense, or look forward to think about what you’ll write next. You just write about whatever comes into your head, and see what happens?
I’ve used this technique so many times when I’ve had my head full of a book. Sometimes the thoughts come faster than you can catch them, and all you can do is keep writing.
Then, you comb through them afterwards, and figure out some kind of meaning or structure or figure out exactly what you were trying to express.
Well, you know that AI can do that bit for you? Instead of spending the next hour trying to decipher the nonsense you just spewed, copy and paste it into Chat GPT, and you’ll have it organised in seconds.
This is just one example, but there are many ways in which AI can unintrusively help you in your creative process.
When You Should Be Careful with AI
Now, like with all new inventions, there are areas in which you should proceed with caution! And, I can’t very well write an article about this without showing both sides. So, here are some precautions to take.
Before you post large chunks of your work online…
I can’t explain to you how AI works, and I won’t pretend that I know. But, AI isn’t capable of creating something truly new. It relies on information that it has to find patterns, figure out what works, gain information, and regurgitate it in a new form that hasn’t been seen before. (Much like humans, to be fair). So, where does it get this information from? The internet, of course.
Well, kind of. Chat GPT is not connected to the internet. Rather, it is fed colossal amounts of data, and that data came from the internet. Other AI models and new versions of Chat GPT will be created in the same way, so if you post large bodies of your work on the internet, it is possible that AI models could be trained on your work.
This is not an inherently good or bad fact, but it is important for you to know before you make a decision on what to post or not-post online (or feed into an AI machine).
Chat GPT cannot provide reliable sources
So, because Chat GPT is not connected to the internet, it cannot give you reliable sources for its data. The way in which it is trained means that it “knows” information, but can’t necessarily pinpoint where it learned it.
It’s a bit like if someone asked you “how do you know that Shakespeare was one of the best playwrights of all time?”. You wouldn’t say “Oh, I learned that in English Literature class from Mr X at Sheffield High School for Girls on 3rd April 2002”. You just *know*. You know?
Sometimes, Chat GPT will recognise this and explain to you that it can’t give you a source. But, as an imperfect language model, it won’t always. Sometimes it generates an answer based on what you want to hear. In this case, it can give you incorrect information. Just totally made up, random sources; Chat GPT is designed to write words based on the information it has, not to make sure it is factually correct.
For example, once I was trying to remember a character from a film, but I couldn’t remember their name or even which film they were from! So, I described the character to Chat GPT. I said “Can you tell me a film character that is always using voice memos to the annoyance of the other characters?”. It suggested to me “Patricia” from the 2018 film “A Star is Born”. According to IMDB, there is no character in A Star is Born called Patricia. Chat GPT just made her up, and told me about her as though it was fact.
What is the Future of AI?
I’m sorry that I don’t have a better answer for you, but… nobody knows.
AI could do great things for our society, but it also comes with a lot of risk. Nobody knows how it will develop, but that’s no different to any other technological advancement that has come before. What’s for sure is that there needs to be more regulation, but I am confident that this will come with time.
For now, keep creating, stay in the know, and try to keep an open mind.