I saw an advertisement for an AI writing program that offers to improve books with what they call an article rewriter, a sentence expander, and a paragraph generator that promises to make writer’s block a thing of the past. In keeping with the future of literature, a major grammar program will now check for language that is not inclusive and suggest more appropriate terms. We are all too familiar with autocorrect.
I’m going to admit from the start that I know nothing about the mating of AI and writing. I don’t know and I don’t want to know. I don’t want to know because I will never use it. If that decision means that my writing future is coming to an inglorious end. So be it.
Writing is a human endeavor. It is meant to be slightly flawed, emotional, and fraught with rule-breaking. Writers often want to offend readers, stir negative emotions, and cause outrage over certain situations. If you don’t like what you’re reading, you close the cover and take it to the thrift store. Although, people really haven’t learned how to do that with books or television.
The huge problem with AI is also the reason why it is being promoted—control. Let me share a personal example. I recently applied for an ISBN. In the title of the book was the word “with” that I wanted to be capitalized because it was part of a proper noun. Bowker’s autocorrect decided otherwise and approved the title with their inserted lowercase letter. When contacted they said that no matter how many times I tried to change it, their program would not allow it. They did refer the matter to their technicians who worked their magic to allow for my “grammatical error”.
When banned words and ideas arrive—and they will—the monsters of the publishing world will have an even tighter stranglehold on all the self-publishers and independent presses.
Writer’s block puts the struggle for words and ideas where it truly belongs, in the writer’s heart and soul. Writers are meant to struggle, delete, edit, rewrite, and rewrite, and rewrite until their voice comes through.