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Blog by Ron – Is AI a Useful Tool

Is AI a Useful Tool for writers? That is a question that deserves an answer and leads to more questions.

Let’s answer that question first: Yes, AI is a useful tool for writers.

AI, which means artificial intelligence, is already making its presence felt in the literary world. Go on the internet and you will find advertisements aimed at writers and proudly offering services that use AI. This can range from simple story telling to the more complex uses.

AI a Useful Tool for Book Covers.

With AI you can design, create a writing style, write a book description, and get imaginative titles all at your fingertips. It saves time and produces outstanding results.

AI a Useful Tool for Content.

With a few words or sentences you can give AI instructions using a plot you provide to write a story for you. If you want, you can simply state a simple concept and let AI develop the plot itself.

Another thing you can do is instruct AI to study your writing style and learn how to write like you write. You can also tell it to do the same using someone else’s style. That is simply amazing!

AI has been on the outer edge of knowledge for a while. You could argue that Google Search or any other search engine is AI. Sort of like a baby. There are other tools such as Grammarly that could be identified as AI in its infancy.

By the way, the story that AI writes using your style would probably be indistinguishable from your actual writing to the extent that no one, not even you, could tell the difference.

AI a Useful Tool for Your Budget

Using AI you can set up and manage your budget, plan expenses, prepare a speech, and just about anything else. This is fantastic and can save a lot of time, effort, and tears. Just think someday you will wake up in the morning, tell your robot maid or butler to prepare breakfast and provide a detailed report on your finances and whether or not you can afford to buy a new car.

Wow!

Then Why Do You Say to be Cautious?

Because AI is almost impossible to control. You can give it instructions and guidelines, but it doesn’t necessarily believe that it must follow them exactly. You must provide strict instructions and it may not obey.

For example, I recently tried to create a book cover using AI. I started out by giving simple instructions using the book title and author name. But the results that came back showed AI’s imagination at work. It added details I didn’t want, misspelled my name though I had spelled it out, and was completely unsatisfactory.

I started over several times and each time I tried giving more detailed information. But I could not get the book cover I wanted. In the end, I went another route and pretty much did it manually.

Publishers are already asking questions and requiring authors to acknowledge whether they are using AI to assist or generate their work.

Why?

I have told this story before and will do so again. Jane Friedman is a famous and popular author. She knows how to write. Her books sell.

One day she woke up to discover that several books proclaiming her as author and were on Amazon and Goodreads. The problem was while it was her name and her writing style, she had never written them. Moreover, the books were probably filled with junk or AI-generated content.

She eventually got the books unlisted from Amazon and Goodreads, but it took a lot of time and effort. She used everything she could, including social media. Those books were unlisted, but her reputation may have been hurt, perhaps hundreds or thousands of dollars went to someone else. And there must have been a great deal of unwanted stress.

If it could happen to an experienced, successful author then it could happen to you.

Is That All?

No, it is not. AI can plagiarize other authors and get you into a legal mess. But let’s say you employ AI to write your story and you take measures to guard against plagiarism. You take the story and thoroughly edit it until you are confident that it is ok.

But something slips through without your knowledge. There is an old adage, “Ignorance is no excuse.” Just because you edited the book and did your best to find anything that violated copyrights or other rights doesn’t excuse you if something slipped by and you violated somebody’s rights.

You are guilty and could suffer harm to your reputation, bank account, or maybe your freedom.

Use AI with Caution.

I am not against using Ai. In fact, I probably use it unknowingly. But I don’t want to have my reputation ruined, or I be sued, or be jailed. The wise person will use caution.

AI a Useful Tool, but is it You?

You may not care whether the book is truly a work of your imagination. But I do. When I pick up a book that has my name, whether it is my author name or legal name, I want to be able to say, I wrote that. I want to be able to look in the mirror or to look into someone’s eyes and say, “Yes, I am the author.”

But if AI wrote the book using only my original idea, and then I edited the book, is that the same as having written the book. In my opinion, NO.

Besides, I love writing. Why would I want a machine to write the story for me when I love writing?

AI a Useful Tool for Research.

If you have read or listened to me very long you know I believe in the necessity of research. But I don’t love it!

AI can be used to research material for your book as long as you fact check it thoroughly. I see it as a valuable research tool that can reach where I cannot reach, go where I cannot go, and ask questions I may not know to ask. Just think how explosive that is! It can revolutionize your writing, embolden you to do things you have never done, and take your book to unimagined heights.

AI a Useful Tool When You Are in Control.

Control is a must. But how?

That is a question that may take years plus a lot of lawsuits to adequately settle. But here is the approach I plan on taking.

Cover Design – In my experience Ai has yet to learn to listen to my requests and create a cover I like within the parameters that I set. So far, AI consistently fails me in that respect.

Research – I do find AI very helpful in research. But when I get research results, I want it with references that I can look at and verify. That is very important.

Content – I think this is going to require me to use programs that examine my work and report to me violations of copyrighted material that require acknowledgement or removed.

Yes, AI is Useful for Writers!

But be Cautious.

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R. Frederick Riddle is an author, teacher, publisher, and the owner of T&R Independent Books. The website is at Home – T&R Independent Bookstore (trbookservices.com).

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1 thought on “Blog by Ron – Is AI a Useful Tool

  1. Very balanced discussion.

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