Author Topic: The Fifth Wave of Writing  (Read 3291 times)  

Offline sela

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Re: The Fifth Wave of Writing
« Reply #25 on: August 07, 2017, 09:06:01 AM »
And one day, we will all live in a Star Trek future where robots do all the grunge work, AI runs everything operational in the background, and humans do all the fulfilling things such as art and exploration.

I, for one, can't wait for the consciousness upload to android bodies so humans will be immortal but I'll be long dead by then.

*sniff*

Offline Word Fan

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Re: The Fifth Wave of Writing
« Reply #26 on: August 07, 2017, 09:16:32 AM »
And one day, we will all live in a Star Trek future where robots do all the grunge work, AI runs everything operational in the background, and humans do all the fulfilling things such as art and exploration.

I, for one, can't wait for the consciousness upload to android bodies so humans will be immortal but I'll be long dead by then.

*sniff*

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Offline Kyra Halland

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Re: The Fifth Wave of Writing
« Reply #27 on: August 07, 2017, 09:53:23 AM »
I dunno, computers might be able to patch together novels that more or less make sense and might be enjoyable on the surface level. But unless there's a law that humans are no longer allowed to write fiction, we can still keep writing, and sooner or later, readers who are tired of cookie-cutter, fill-in-the-blanks extruded fiction product will come back to us.


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Offline Dan C. Rinnert

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Re: The Fifth Wave of Writing
« Reply #28 on: August 07, 2017, 09:59:00 AM »
I imagine that in the not-too-distant future, AI will be writing books that outsell mine.  Disregarding sales, the difference between AI and myself is that if you were to rub a giant rare earth magnet around my head for a couple minutes I would still be able to continue writing once you were done.
       
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Offline Douglas Milewski

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Re: The Fifth Wave of Writing
« Reply #29 on: August 07, 2017, 11:05:26 AM »
I'd start by looking at the biggest, most formulaic genres. Those have the best chance at a return on investment. Romance will be targeted first because it represents the most money and is thought to be simpler than most other fiction. My bet is that the first working AI's in this area will be scams perpetrated upon investors, and after enough money thrown after failures, the industry will sour on AI.

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Online paranormal_kitty

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Re: The Fifth Wave of Writing
« Reply #30 on: August 07, 2017, 11:07:36 AM »
Considering all the problems with software that merely translates from one language to another, I have my doubts that AI will be able to write a coherent original story any time soon.

Offline WDR

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Re: The Fifth Wave of Writing
« Reply #31 on: August 07, 2017, 11:25:02 AM »
On Twitter, there is a bot that generates story ideas. It occasionally came up with something that resonated as pretty interesting. But over time, it proved to be ridiculously repetitive. It was merely plugging in random nouns and verbs into a template that was pretty much an "Ad Libs" style approach to writing. For those who don't know, "Ad Libs" was a game in the 1970s where each page had a statement written out and various nouns, verbs, and adjectives were left blank waiting for the players to fill the blanks. My own family got a lot of laughs out of it. But over time, you could almost tell what ad lib template was being used by the words that were left blank. The game grew tiresome and we stopped playing it.

The problem with building a novel formulaically is the above paragraph describes the result. It reads like it was copied from something else, regardless of whether the copying was done by a living human or by a machine. Something formulaic is also predictable and quickly becomes boring. The premise that a story can be written by algorithm is already flawed on that basis.

A story isn't just words on a page. There is a rhythm and pace to how those words are presented. We often make jokes about using a thesaurus while writing, but having just the right word at just the right point in the story can be all important. That word could be the difference between being labeled "Imaginative" or "Cliche". We can feel the emotions that our characters are feeling and tweak the way it is written to bring that out for the readers.

Artificial Intelligence is about a program that can observe the environmental variables and adjust its parameters accordingly. An AI can weld two pieces of metal together accurately, even if the two pieces landed in front of it slightly askew. If a flower petal landed on the table at the same time as the two pieces of metal, the AI can recognize the petal as extraneous debris and ignore it. But it cannot ponder the beauty of the variety of color shades in the flower petal, nor can it wonder how it felt to the plant when it shed the petal. It cannot consider the metaphysical concepts that a fallen flower petal might represent or begin to consider a poem that would describe how that made it feel. Or, more importantly, how that would make someone else feel. I can look at a face and recognize that person as attractive to me. An AI machine uses facial recognition and determines that the eyes, nose, and mouth match the parameters of a certain individual recorded in its database.

To look beyond the objective requires sentience. The ability to think subjectively. Right now, we cannot program machines to think on that level.

If a machine cannot step outside of itself and wonder what it feels like to be something else, how can it make up a story? Because, as writers, that's what we do all the time.

I'm not saying it won't ever happen. But I'm pretty confident it won't happen in my lifetime.
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Offline Morgan Worth

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Re: The Fifth Wave of Writing
« Reply #32 on: August 07, 2017, 11:40:18 AM »
On Twitter, there is a bot that generates story ideas. It occasionally came up with something that resonated as pretty interesting. But over time, it proved to be ridiculously repetitive. It was merely plugging in random nouns and verbs into a template that was pretty much an "Ad Libs" style approach to writing. For those who don't know, "Ad Libs" was a game in the 1970s where each page had a statement written out and various nouns, verbs, and adjectives were left blank waiting for the players to fill the blanks. My own family got a lot of laughs out of it. But over time, you could almost tell what ad lib template was being used by the words that were left blank. The game grew tiresome and we stopped playing it.

The problem with building a novel formulaically is the above paragraph describes the result. It reads like it was copied from something else, regardless of whether the copying was done by a living human or by a machine. Something formulaic is also predictable and quickly becomes boring. The premise that a story can be written by algorithm is already flawed on that basis.

A story isn't just words on a page. There is a rhythm and pace to how those words are presented. We often make jokes about using a thesaurus while writing, but having just the right word at just the right point in the story can be all important. That word could be the difference between being labeled "Imaginative" or "Cliche". We can feel the emotions that our characters are feeling and tweak the way it is written to bring that out for the readers.

Artificial Intelligence is about a program that can observe the environmental variables and adjust its parameters accordingly. An AI can weld two pieces of metal together accurately, even if the two pieces landed in front of it slightly askew. If a flower petal landed on the table at the same time as the two pieces of metal, the AI can recognize the petal as extraneous debris and ignore it. But it cannot ponder the beauty of the variety of color shades in the flower petal, nor can it wonder how it felt to the plant when it shed the petal. It cannot consider the metaphysical concepts that a fallen flower petal might represent or begin to consider a poem that would describe how that made it feel. Or, more importantly, how that would make someone else feel. I can look at a face and recognize that person as attractive to me. An AI machine uses facial recognition and determines that the eyes, nose, and mouth match the parameters of a certain individual recorded in its database.

To look beyond the objective requires sentience. The ability to think subjectively. Right now, we cannot program machines to think on that level.

If a machine cannot step outside of itself and wonder what it feels like to be something else, how can it make up a story? Because, as writers, that's what we do all the time.

I'm not saying it won't ever happen. But I'm pretty confident it won't happen in my lifetime.

I'm not sure if you're talking about the same thing or not, but Mad Libs is still a thing. My kids and their friends love it, especially on road trips through the mountains with no cell or radio reception. It's a great way for kids to learn parts of speech, too. :)
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Offline Nic

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Re: The Fifth Wave of Writing
« Reply #33 on: August 07, 2017, 11:43:08 AM »
If a machine cannot step outside of itself and wonder what it feels like to be something else, how can it make up a story? Because, as writers, that's what we do all the time.

Do all writers do that? I don't think so. I read a lot of romance and erotica, and much of it is so utterly formulaic and such a repetitive dross, that often just the names differ and a few places. There is no creative effort in this, no spark and nothing divine. These writers simply write to a formula by the dozen. They churn out several books per month, and repeat themselves again and again. This kind of book can easily be written by AI. I'm convinced the consumers of this kind of story won't even notice.

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Re: The Fifth Wave of Writing
« Reply #34 on: August 07, 2017, 11:47:20 AM »
I don't write to genre, I don't copy other writers and I come up with some unusual ideas for stories.  I don't think AI will be replacing me anytime soon.

And as already mentioned...I do it all for FREE! :)

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Offline seanpatrick

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Re: The Fifth Wave of Writing
« Reply #35 on: August 07, 2017, 12:59:42 PM »
"I rather doubt that Amazon would care how the books got written"

Not true. A machine can already write a story. The problem that can't be solved by a machine is the enigma of human life and that's what a good writer is writing about. The mysteries and the questions that we all have are the salts and spices of a good novel or yarn.

Humans experience life, machines copy it - or might be able to copy it at some point. The book with all the tropes and good structure written by a computer will never have the magic of the human question hidden between each line, or in the lilt of a character's voice. Writing isn't about getting structure right, or characterization etc. That's the tool we use to make magic -  something we can't put our finger on in conversation, or a simple explanation.
The machines will try and convince us, though, that they know better than us and some of us will stupidly agree. Others will continue to write human novels about human experiences.

Offline Al Stevens

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Re: The Fifth Wave of Writing
« Reply #36 on: August 07, 2017, 03:11:56 PM »
Humans experience life, machines copy it
And the Turing test asks whether an observer/consumer can tell the difference.
The machines will try and convince us, though, that they know better than us and some of us will stupidly agree.
And the success of AI will be measured by how many of us do so.

Online TellNotShow

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Re: The Fifth Wave of Writing
« Reply #37 on: August 07, 2017, 06:55:27 PM »
Do all writers do that? I don't think so. I read a lot of romance and erotica, and much of it is so utterly formulaic and such a repetitive dross, that often just the names differ and a few places. There is no creative effort in this, no spark and nothing divine. These writers simply write to a formula by the dozen. They churn out several books per month, and repeat themselves again and again. This kind of book can easily be written by AI. I'm convinced the consumers of this kind of story won't even notice.

And Amazon are already quietly (as secretly as they can) filling their store with their own brands of clothing, batteries, and many other everyday items, bumping them up the search results, choking out the previous suppliers wherever they can.

At some point they WILL replace maybe 90% or more of books with crud of their own making. As we've already seen with their own publishing brands, they won't rest until the Big Six, Five, whatever, are replaced by the Big One and Only. To imagine they'll keep paying us for whatever they can manufacture almost free (such as the repetitive dross Nic mentioned) would be a mistake.

Regardless of whether we believe AI novels will become a thing or not, there is no doubt that Amazon is the biggest player, shows no sign of losing market share, and has repeatedly shown a determination to increase its profit share over time. Which means that now, and the very near future, are the best time to try to make enough money from writing, so that it won't matter as much in five or ten years. Write those books, people, and get them selling. The sky may not be falling, but it's definitely becoming more polluted each day.
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Offline WHDean

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Re: The Fifth Wave of Writing
« Reply #38 on: August 07, 2017, 06:59:57 PM »
The future of AI in writing is in augmenting human writers, just as it is in chess. I don't know how it will work exactly, but that's where it will fit in.

 

Offline Skip Knox

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Re: The Fifth Wave of Writing
« Reply #39 on: August 07, 2017, 07:43:52 PM »
Machines will write books. But humans will *also* write books, just as they will continue to paint, sculpt, dance, and play music. We can't help ourselves. I can't, anyway.

Offline Al Stevens

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Re: The Fifth Wave of Writing
« Reply #40 on: August 07, 2017, 07:48:57 PM »
Machines will write books. But humans will *also* write books, just as they will continue to paint, sculpt, dance, and play music. We can't help ourselves. I can't, anyway.
But will they make a living at it? I've watched as DJs and karaoke operators have eroded work for live musicians. Yeah, we still play music. But who can live on peanuts?

Offline Douglas Milewski

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Re: The Fifth Wave of Writing
« Reply #41 on: August 08, 2017, 03:03:11 AM »
Amazon is also into crowdsourcing, such as their Mechanical Turk. Will Amazon make more money developing their an AI to write novels, or will they make more money by allowing others to write novels and publishing everything?

That doesn't even touch the copyright problem. Can you assign copyright to a machine? Note that copyright law can be changed, either for or against the benefit of Amazon.

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Offline Kwrite

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Re: The Fifth Wave of Writing
« Reply #42 on: August 08, 2017, 04:59:57 AM »
Those of you concerned about AI taking over the book industry, how do you expect this to happen? Amazon to no longer allow humans to sell books through their site? Otherwise, the AI written books would be no different than other author books your book is currently competing with. Are you saying they will only sell AI written novels? I guess I'm not seeing a crisis for the Indy author here.

Offline Adria R.

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Re: The Fifth Wave of Writing
« Reply #43 on: August 08, 2017, 05:30:44 AM »
No. AI at that level isn't coming anytime soon. I've been working as a researcher in theoretical computer science for years, and AI is so far from emulating human intelligence (not to mention emotion, which is another thing altogether) it's not even funny.

We understand next to nothing about how the brain works, and even if we did, we don't have the right scientific tools (mathematical and otherwise) to model it correctly, let alone emulate it. Not to mention that the brain doesn't exist in a vacuum -- art is the result of human experience, which again is the result of the way humans interact with their environment. It is a deeply complex, social construct. Automatically creating art when we don't even know how memories are stored in the brain, or whether there even is such a thing as memories, seems extremely far-fetched to me.

It has been pointed out that the IP (information processing) metaphor that we use to think about the brain is profoundly wrong because the brain is not a computer and never was. So the idea that programming will be able to emulate even a fraction of the complexity of the human mind is simply wrong, as far as I'm concerned.

I'm not even going to get into the computability issues. So, yeah. Computer-generated novels are the least of my worries...

Offline Sarah Shaw

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Re: The Fifth Wave of Writing
« Reply #44 on: August 08, 2017, 05:44:14 AM »
In the 1990's I listened while the gung ho tech guy sitting next to me on a plane explain to me that my job (translating) was going to disappear soon and I needed to look for other work. Twenty years on we have the great delight of Google translate which allows me to travel without using any of my gesticulating, acting or drawing skills, simply by taking a picture on my phone (which would have been an equally mind-boggling thought at the time- mobile phones were huge rectangular blocks about as useful for picture taking as a glass paperweight would be). But although a great many things are machine-translated these days, computers are far from taking human-translators' jobs- in fact, there are probably more of us than before as machine translation exposes the still-huge gap between human understanding of nuance, emotion and social context and makes painfully evident, by contrast what we're good for.

In the 1970's I used to listen to AI experts at Rand talking about what could be expected from their field. Science Fiction writers were already predicting a machine-controlled future with robots indistinguishable from humans. The experts' expectations were far more modest: their rallying cry was "In ten years, the brain of crayfish!" Forty years on I haven't followed enough to know whether we're there yet. Perhaps we are. In any case, their modest expectations were clearly not nearly modest enough.

But the thing that always disturbs me about these discussions is the way they completely ignore the larger context in which they're asked. It's as if intelligent fish had been taught physics in a human context and were continually coming up with the wrong answers because they didn't understand they were living in the water.

Here's the thing. We decide, as societies and as individuals, what value we will place on what jobs, what jobs are necessary to have and how they will be compensated. These values change all the time. In the late 1700's the first wave of devaluing farm and then skilled physical labor came and continued pretty much non-stop, using increasing numbers of low-paid laborers like women and children for a century until the late 1800's when various labor, women's and children's rights movements along with moral reformers combined both to limit labor (by sending children to school, married women home, and redirecting single women into roles like teaching that were more in tune with Victorian notions of womanhood) and to raise male wages to a level which could support a family. Then we had nearly a century which turned most of the former working class into a new middle class and eventually created broad-based material wealth for the majority of people in many countries for the first time in history. Now we are deep into a period of declining prosperity for the many and extraordinary wealth for the few, and more importantly in the middle of a moral crisis as we are forced to take stock of the great human question of what we value and how- and how we value ourselves and others.

Yeah, I know, I'm getting into TL;DR territory here. So I'll cut to the chase. It doesn't matter what jobs AI can or cannot do. Unless we can create, define and compensate jobs for enough people - or otherwise provide them with buying power- there will be no market for anything AI can produce. It's all entirely up to us. Whether we use our power to redesign the world, as we've done in the past, or just continue to try and insist we are living in an atmosphere of air and not water remains to be seen.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2017, 05:48:05 AM by Sarah Shaw »

Offline Nic

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Re: The Fifth Wave of Writing
« Reply #45 on: August 08, 2017, 09:44:03 AM »
Unless we can create, define and compensate jobs for enough people - or otherwise provide them with buying power- there will be no market for anything AI can produce.

That already is happening. It's not a question of whether or when, it's already a question of what to do with the redundant people.

Offline Sarah Shaw

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Re: The Fifth Wave of Writing
« Reply #46 on: August 08, 2017, 10:06:04 AM »
That already is happening. It's not a question of whether or when, it's already a question of what to do with the redundant people.

What I'm suggesting is that the causality goes the other way from what people commonly think: unless we come up with enough new ways to define human value and divide whatever goods we produce in a fairly broad manner technological progress will be delayed and limited relative to its potential. Fortunately, I see from my coworking space things definitely are changing. The only question is whether it will be fast enough to prevent the kind of ugly dystopia so many writers seem to be envisioning.

Offline ParkerAvrile

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Re: The Fifth Wave of Writing
« Reply #47 on: August 08, 2017, 11:15:44 AM »
There's a religious belief that a brain capable of creative thought can only arise by chance as a result of billions of years of evolution. Those who hold this belief appear to be morally certain the human brain is not quite smart enough, good enough-- dare I say creative enough-- to engineer an artificial brain capable of creative thought. It is never explained clearly why something that once happened by chance (the evolution of the creative brain) wouldn't be able to be replicated by intention. As far as I can tell, it's simply a superstitious belief that humans can't do this and/or computers will never be smart/divine/blessed enough.

People who think people can't do something-- walk on the moon, impact the global climate, fly through the sky in a metal machine-- those people are always proved wrong in the end.

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Offline Melody Simmons

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Re: The Fifth Wave of Writing
« Reply #48 on: August 08, 2017, 12:05:39 PM »
I'll ad a few thoughts.  There are those that believe the secret government and other forces behind the screens already have amounts of vastly advanced technology - but they are not releasing it to the masses as it might even make money obsolete (like the technology to reproduce anything - food etc. also petrol-free cars running on only water)  According to them the technology is released in tiny bits over time, like the iPad and so on.  If they feel inclined they may release one of their hidden devices in the next decade, which might make computers obsolete (think 3D hologram displays in the air with no actual monitor and so on). These things are discussed on some of the conspiracy-type websites.  Like someone else higher up in the thread said - a 100 years ago there were no computers, iPads etc. and those things were inconceivable to the masses.  So what can happen in a 100 years is unthinkable.

That said the influence on the quality of human life is definitely questionable.  Most countries have unemployment problems on the planet.  Machines and technology have already replaced so many jobs - but are new jobs created at an equal rate???

That is why some speculate that things just cannot go on like this and there will be a mass wipe-out of some sort to reset the planet to function in a more natural way, with more natural abilities like telepathy developed in our DNA instead of the AI taking over.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2017, 12:10:40 PM by Melody Simmons »

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Re: The Fifth Wave of Writing
« Reply #49 on: August 08, 2017, 12:16:57 PM »
Back in the dark ages, circa 1985-6, I worked on a research project for ATT. They had a thing called a grammar checker that would take any kind of writing and fix it. I think we all know how successful that project has turned out thirty years later.

Read the reviews on Zon and see how many complain about "unoriginal" or "more of the same", etc. As Nic says above, there are a lot of formulaic, repetitive books out there. AI will produce more of them. The mystery with the twist you never saw coming won't be written by an AI, and the romance that brings tears to your eyes won't either.

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