Why I'm no longer writing stories with AI
From our head stories writer
Preface: Stories by AI is on hiatus. We may or may not be back soon. If you’d be interesting in writing stories for us, get in touch! firstname.lastname@example.org
I won’t be publishing any more stories with storiesby.ai. What was once a quirky lark of a side-side-project hits darker now. Generative AI advanced more quickly than those in the industry thought possible. Many of us who think about the harm such systems can unleash thought we would have more time to prepare.
In December of 2022, Open AI released ChatGPT, and even they were surprised by its reception. Some inflection point was crossed between “wow, that’s kind of neat for something an AI made” to “this is so good I should be using it daily.” Business models that had sustained massive tech companies for decades were declared not long for the world and they flailed around to mount a response, a signal that they weren’t yet to be counted out.
This powerful technology will shape our lives in unimaginable ways over the next decade, offering the potential to solve problems that deeply impact millions. Protein folding has been solved, paving the way for novel treatments for ailments and a boon to drug discovery. We can use ML systems to flag threats to global food security and proactively route aid for famine prevention. People with disabilities could use generative capabilities to communicate more fluently with people around the world and better perceive the environment around them.
But to what end are we harnessing the technology that some of our brightest minds claim is more revolutionary than fire? Cheating on exams. Spamming science fiction literary magazines with so many AI-generated stories that they have to pause submissions. Replacing low-level content creators trying to build skills and experience with cheaper machine-generated content. We’re focusing the power of this new lens on amplifying the rewards flowing to capital holders because, of course we are.
I want technology to be an aid to human creativity, not a necessary crutch. I want to make life better, not shove people aside because they are no longer needed to feed the capitalist greed beast. And by writing stories with AI, I’m strengthening the narrative that human creativity and ingenuity is nothing more than the value of the tokens they generate.
Maybe this was always the case, and the mass hysteria around generative AI systems has made what used to feel fun feel gross instead. Maybe it’s the reaction of the world–that interaction between immense power and the realities of our economic system. Either way, I won’t participate in this project any longer, though don’t begrudge others if they would like to.
I’ll continue writing original fiction, whether or not AI systems continue to progress to the point where human writers can no longer compete. I love creating new worlds, inhabiting other minds, solving plot problems and surprising myself with the places I go. Because creating art is inherently pleasurable and something that enriches my life whether or not it leads to recognition or worldly success, it is something that we should never devalue.
Take care of each other.
Really well said. My sense is that we’re just scratching the surface of something really incredible, with the potential to do so much good for the world... but I’m not sure how to be human in a world where creative and intellectual work is done more efficiently and effectively by non-humans. All this has been difficult to process, but your post gives me a feeling of hope. Thank you.
I have been waiting for this email for a long time, and I'm very happy to have received it. It's a small, but important victory of humanity over the machine.