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For a vast number of book writers, artificial intelligence is a threat to their livelihood and the very idea of creativity. More than 10,000 of them endorsed an open letter from the Authors Guild this summer, urging AI companies not to use copyrighted work without permission or compensation.
At the same time, AI is a story to tell, and no longer just in science fiction.
As present in the imagination as politics, the pandemic, or climate change, AI has become part of the narrative for a growing number of novelists and short story writers who only need to follow the news to imagine a world upended.
“I’m frightened by artificial intelligence, but also fascinated by it. There’s a hope for divine understanding, for the accumulation of all knowledge, but at the same time there’s an inherent terror in being replaced by non-human intelligence,” said Helen Phillips, whose upcoming novel “Hum” tells of a wife and mother who loses her job to AI.
“We’ve been seeing more and more about AI in book proposals,” said Ryan Doherty, vice president, and editorial director at Celadon Books. “It’s the zeitgeist right now. And whatever is in the cultural zeitgeist seeps into fiction.”
Other AI-themed novels expected in the next two years include Bryan Van Dyke’s “In Our Likeness,” about a bureaucrat and a fact-checking program with the power to change facts; and Sean Michaels’ “Do You Remember Being Born?”, in which a poet agrees to collaborate with an AI poetry company.
Some authors aren’t just writing about AI, but openly working with it.
Sean Michaels centers his new novel “Do You Remember Being Born?” on a poet named Marian, in homage to poet Marianne Moore, and an AI program called Charlotte. He said the novel is about parenthood, labor, community, and also “this technology’s implications for art, language, and our sense of identity.”
Believing the spirit of the novel called for the presence of actual AI text, he devised a program that would generate prose and poetry and used an alternate format in the novel so readers know when he was using AI.
This article was provided by The Associated Press.