What concerns me though is that major institutions are thinking of using these AIs to write films and novels.
As a writer, this scares me. Is my passion and reason for living going to become obsolete? Will machines be writing books?
I mean, there are people already using ChatGPT to write novels that are then published on Amazon Written Books on Amazon
Gross. An AI can't produce poetry or irony or subtly or metaphors. It can only mimic the language it’s learned.
Ferdinand de Saussure, the father of Semiotics, theorized that you cannot know the meaning of a word unless you have a Signifier for it. That is, you know and have experienced the word.
For instance, you hear the word “banana.” But you’ve never seen a banana. You know they exist, but you have no reference to what it is. “Banana” is just a word to you. It has no meaning. Then, you see a banana. You have a reference for it. The word “banana” now has meaning.
Saussure called the words and letters the “Sign.” But the Sign is meaningless without a Signifier. The Signifier is your experience in the world. If you have a reference to the word, then it has meaning. If you have the Signifier, then the Sign has meaning.
Of course, Linguistics and Semiology have evolved and changed through the decades. But Saussure’s theory is at the core of Semiology.
I bring this up because an AI will never have a Signifier. It only produces empty Signs from the language it scrapes off the internet. It knows grammar, yes, but it doesn't know
So, will AI replace writers and artists?
I say not a chance. AI-generated writing will give a headache to the untalented who churn out basic work. AI can write better than them. But those who are passionate about writing and art will not be replaced by machines.
Those of us who live to write or produce art will still be successful. It's because we can write better than an AI. We have Signifiers. We know poetry and the intricate art of language. Just as other artists are professionals at their craft.
I'd love to see an AI-written film. It’d probably be a mixture of Micheal Bay nonsense and Jerry Bruckheimer’s unbelievable action. The script will read like James Cameron writing Avatar 3 and the swirling bullshit that is George Lucas.
So don't fear these AIs. They suck. And they'll never be able to achieve the humanness of Art.
I asked Bing to write me a cyberpunk novel where the main character is named Kivrin.
This is what I got; William Gibson it is not:
Here’s a short cyberpunk story with Kivrin as the main character:
Kivrin was a hacker, a good one. She had been hired by a corporation to hack into a rival company’s database and steal their secrets. She had done it before, and she could do it again. But this time, something was different. This time, she was being watched.
She didn’t know who was watching her, but she could feel their eyes on her. She tried to shake the feeling, but it wouldn’t go away. She knew she had to be careful.
She started to investigate, digging deeper and deeper into the company’s database. She found something she wasn’t supposed to find. Something that could get her killed.
She tried to back out, but it was too late. They had found her. She had to run.
She grabbed her laptop and ran out of her apartment. She didn’t know where to go, but she knew she had to get away. She ran down the street, her heart pounding in her chest.
She turned a corner and ran into a man. He was tall and muscular, with a shaved head and a scar on his cheek. He looked dangerous.
“Kivrin?” he said.
She didn’t know how he knew her name, but she knew she had to get away. She tried to run, but he grabbed her arm.
“Come with me,” he said. “I can help you.”
She didn’t know if she could trust him, but she didn’t have a choice. She followed him down an alley and into a building.
Inside, she found a group of hackers. They were all working on laptops, surrounded by wires and screens. They looked up as she entered.
“Who’s this?” one of them asked.
“This is Kivrin,” the man said. “She needs our help.”
They all looked at her, and she knew she had found her new home.
It’s ok, like B movie ok. But it’ll never surpass Thomas Pynchon, Haruki Murakami, or Neal Stephenson. AI just parrots language, it doesn’t play with it.
And because of that, humans will always create art that a machine could never reproduce.