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  • Writer's pictureBonnie Traymore

What are your thoughts on AI and novels?

I've been virtually attending the International Thriller Writers (ITW) conference in New York City, from my living room: see photo of my view and the reason I don't leave much. Plus we have a wedding to pay for in September, so no travel for me this summer!


Although there were no sessions specifically on AI at the conference, more than a few speakers touched on the topic. A few months prior, ITW along with a host of other organizations did a survey about AI and book publishing. The majority of authors and publishers reported never having used it, and the vast majority of readers stated they would want to know if a publisher or author used AI in their work. I'm wondering if that will change.


One well known publicist suggested using Chat GPT to write book blurbs. Apparently, if you dump your book in and ask the right questions, it will spit out a pretty good first draft. But then it has your work in its repository, so I won't be doing that any time soon. Personally, I don't mind writing book blurbs. I've got a marketing background, and it's not that hard. I'd rather have Chat GPT clean my bathroom for me, so let me know when that becomes an option.


And just today, Google counseled its employees to refrain from putting confidential information in AI programs because that information can and probably will be spit back out, and they also noted that some of the info can be wrong--and this is from the folks who are developing it.

For more on that: https://www.reuters.com/technology/google-one-ais-biggest-backers-warns-own-staff-about-chatbots-2023-06-15/


I played around with it a few weeks ago just for kicks, on an upcoming novel I'm launching some time in the next few months, when I was having trouble landing on a title. I'm happy to say it gave me really terrible title ideas. Sorry... bot it's the truth.


And today, I asked it to give me a sample of thriller books written about real estate agents, because I'm thinking about doing something with a realtor and don't want to reinvent the wheel or inadvertently mimic a plot that already exists. It gave me a bunch of entries, very quickly, that looked quite accurate. But when I looked up the first title which they said was a psychological thriller--and included a full and quite convincing description of the book--the information turned out to be totally wrong. I looked it up on Amazon and the book wasn't a thriller, although it had the same title and author as the Chat GPT entry; it was a heartwarming women's fiction novel and nothing to do with the Chat GPT description. However, I'm still using the free Chat GPT version, and I know the paid one is supposedly much better.


So, I wonder, how do people feel about the use of AI in novels? Would you want to know if you were buying a book made from bot bits? Would it make you less likely to purchase it if you did know? Should legislation be passed that regulates the use of AI for authors and publishers, or requires some sort of declaration on the cover? The discussion continues...


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