ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence (AI) filled headlines this year. 2024 is the year of the AI revolution! Graphic designers and artists gasped in horror and dismay. Then writers join in the collective groaning as they saw clients depart for cheap content. Authors and artists organizations grappled with issues of copyright violation in addition to the ready availability of cheap artwork and content.

Strangely enough, I read on LinkedIn that the use of AI actually declined in June.

Despite that, publishers like EA Publishing are “are hiring for both 1) People who will use AI tools to create content as well as 2) People who will work with AI produced content to mold it into a final product.” It’s the drizzle before the deluge of computer-generated content saturates every publishing platform.

Many writers and artists are hearing the bell toll a death knell. I don’t, but I also recognize that various iterations of ChatGPT and its competitors are hear to stay and their ubiquitous use will have far-reaching consequences:

  • Payment for content will plunge, especially for entry level and generalist writers. To make money as a writer, you’ll need to be an expert in a specific niche.
  • Entry level content writers will be forced to use AI to generate content in sufficient quantities to earn a living. This will lead to burnout.
  • Except for those companies and publishers prizing original, well-researched, well-written content and willing to pay for it, the general quality of content will sink to a uniformly low standard.
  • The new low standard for quality will train people to expect lesser quality and value content even less.

It’s a pretty dismal prediction for writers. 

Editors may have a somewhat better expectation, as companies will hire them to massage AI-written content into shape and infuse it with enough character and originality to satisfy readers. Editors who don’t normally do this kind of work (which is more properly called book doctoring) may find themselves in higher demand than those who specialize in developmental editing, line editing, or copy editing. Of course, they’ll need to conduct research to ensure that any citations and sources referenced by AI actually exist and are correct.

It was big news not all that long ago that ChatGPT makes stuff up. It lies. It’s up to humans to verify claims made in AI-generated content.

As always, however, there will be readers who prize original content. These are the people who comprehend the value of craftsmanship and hard-earned skill. For these people, there will always be writers like me, writers who do things the old-fashioned way, the hard way. I don’t use AI in writing my stories. What readers get is the product of my imagination, not a machine-generated output of keywords and suggested themes and plot points devoid of all humanity.

When it comes to computers, the old saying “garbage in, garbage out” still holds true. But AI is capable of learning and adapting and improving itself.

​Woe betide the day when it replaces a good storyteller.