First there was fire. That was a gigantic leap in man’s development. Writing. Telephone. Electricity. Automobiles. The internet. And now artificial intelligence. Once developed, these milestones move us further into a future that challenges, helps, and terrifies us at the same time. And with good reason. Humankind is not moral enough to use new tools only for good when misuse promises more power, wealth, and control. We will need guardrails before AI takes off, and I fear we are already behind the eight ball.

The Written Word

AI will affect every area of our lives. I’m reminded of the movie Space Odyssey and HAL, the AI who ran amok

What is to prevent today’s HAL from copying my work and integrating it into one of its articles or books? Already, the program I use to edit my work offers “alternate phrasing” for complex sentences. It highlights a sentence that runs too long or has too many clauses and offers a darn good rewrite. That saves me time. So, if I use it once or twice, here or there, can I say my work is 100% human? What about entire paragraphs or entire books? You see where this is going.

My Competition

Author podcasters, and articles in magazines about writing, try to assure me that no machine, no matter how clever, can reflect the human heart. That may be true. But do all readers care about words from the heart? Sci-fi and mysteries, for example, are plot driven. Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple remains the same in all her adventures. She does not change from the beginning to the end of the book. And fans don’t care. They just want to know who done it. Could AI write books that would satisfy fans of these genres?

Yet some protagonists in sci-fi or mysteries, are so endearing, only a human could create them. They have quirks, faults, wild senses of humor. I defy AI to create these characters.

In the end, the readers will decide. Some may want just a story, an interesting yarn, and they don’t care who or what created it. Others may want a bit more ambience, character development, humor, or even sentences so well written they bring tears to your eyes.

I already compete with the latter, with writers who create worlds I never want to leave. So I’ll take on HALs output, but…


…but I expect Copywrite laws to protect my work from AI. Somewhere on the product, I want verification that a human wrote this article, poem, play, novel, etc. And if AI can lift part or all of my work, computers can darn well notify me when that happens. I should receive immediate compensation directly into the account that receives my royalties.

I understand the writers’ and actors’ strike. When AI can lift your image from one movie and plunk it (without your knowledge or payment) into another movie, you darn well should strike.

We are already at the point of no return. In all human history, we never stopped when an advance was this far along.

What do you think? I will post all comments from humans.