In an exclusive interview, Tia Byer speaks to author Mark Tullius about how artificial intelligence will change the world of writing.
It is predicted that artificial intelligence (AI) will replace 300 million jobs in the future.
Earlier this year, investment bank Goldman Sachs issued a report claiming that AI could take up to a quarter of all work tasks in both Europe and the US.
Authors and professional creatives will be counted among those threatened by the pervasive technology.
The Challenges of AI
Generative AI tools such as Chat GPT and perplexity.ai create content that is indistinguishable from human work. The use of AI in publishing inevitably raises questions about authenticity, originality, and ungovernable reproduction.
This means authors risk losing their unique sense of voice and will have to grapple with an impending devaluation of creativity.
Even more serious for authors of non-fiction is the threat of misinformation. AI tools can fabricate and reconfigure content to produce ‘hallucinations’ which pollute scholarly and factual records.
This is a phenomenon that is set to continue due to the current inability to regulate the escalating prevalence of AI.
When Technology Outpaces Policy
Currently, it is not possible to detect and control all instances of computer-generated content, a failing recently addressed by Congress when OpenAI CEO testified to the dangers of the technology’s unchecked potential.
During this, Senator Richard Blumenthal alluded to, “what happens when technology out-paces policy,” and proceeded to identify the immense capacity for both good and for harm AI possess.
An Author’s Perspective
This potential ‘capacity for good’, is an opinion shared by independent author Mark Tullius. Tullius is an American writer specialising in horror and science fiction.
When it comes to the impact AI will have on the future of authorship, Tullius believes that many authors, including himself, fear how technology will transform the world of writing. Should publishing houses and authors leverage the advances of AI, it will become increasingly difficult for non-AI users to publish a book at a reasonable price.
Speaking on the subject, Tullius explained how, many people are “afraid of AI”; and insecure about its ability to “steal our jobs, [and] render skillsets completely useless.”
Nevertheless, it can be argued that the embrace of AI is necessary. “Just like other technological advances, we are only going to continue down the AI path,” he continued,
Intelligent Means to a Creative End?
“I don’t believe AI poses any threat to the publishing industry and neither should [others],”. Tullius clarified. “AI is only for the advancement of humans and should be embraced in every field.” Humans are not going to be replaced by technology, they are going to be assisted by it.
Within the publishing industry, AI can be incredibly helpful for authors with tasks such as marketing, writing ad copy, and book descriptions as well as creating AI-generated images for illustrations or cover art.
For Tullius, the real utility AI presents to independent authors is its ability to aid in labour and time-intensive business-related tasks. That being said, Tullius edges on the side of caution when it comes to the quality of AI-assisted suggestions, instead encouraging selective appropriation of autogenerated responses.
The use of AI for book generation is strictly “off limits” to the author. “From the initial ideas to the final editing I’m not currently using AI for any of it,” he clarified. Whilst such tools would speed up the process, Tullius remains committed to the authenticity of his work and his authorial voice.
The Future Today
Using intelligent machines to automate communication is fast becoming a concern of not just tomorrow but today. Although “it might be difficult for some to accept that the time has come, that the playing field just got way bigger [it] doesn’t make it any less of a reality.”
In the words of Tullius, we are either going to have to “use us or lose to us. The choice is yours”.