A funny thing happened on Twitter last week.
Several writers I follow were posting about some new software called Sudowrite, an AI writing program that promises the world, as these products often do, to aspiring authors. What I learned is, Sudowrite invited writers to submit their unpublished (therefore not really well-protected by copyrights) manuscripts, and they’d receive auto-generated blurbs, loglines, and outlines of their work for use when pitching to agents and publishers.
Sounds cool, doesn’t it? My least favorite part of submitting queries was trying to summarize my work. Writing synopses is excruciating, and I know a LOT of writers who’d gladly hand that dreary job over to software.
Here’s the “however” part…
The company used those submissions to train an AI writing engine, which it is now pitching to aspiring authors as a “writing tool” — which is a marketing-friendly way as saying, “This AI software will write the story for you, you lazy, talentless hack.”
And as usual, there were legions of people defending Sudowrite — many of them clearly bot accounts, but we won’t look too closely at that perverse irony — and that’s the kind of thing that REALLY pisses me off. People love their entertainment, they need it, but the thought of the act of artistic creation being somehow hoarded by a small, elite group (i.e., people who spent literally years of their lives honing their craft) angers them to no end, and they take pleasure, actual pleasure, in seeing professional creatives taken down a peg, sometimes to the point of losing their livelihood. So I fired off this tweet:
I post stuff on Twitter regularly, and sometimes my posts get a surprising amount of traction, but this one took off hard. Not only has the tweet itself been liked a few thousand (!!!) times, I’ve gained about 30 new followers in the span of three days. This is definitely unusual for me; I normally gain one follower a week, and half the time it’s a bot account.
A couple of follow-up tweets, also nothing particularly deep or insightful, garnered even more attention. I’m honestly impressed and flattered, but also baffled that a couple of B-grade tweets blasted off in the heat of the moment have earned more attention than some of my much more thoughtful writing-related posts. But then, Twitter does seem to be a big rage engine, so maybe this all makes sense in context.
Anyway, the whole episode struck me as funny. Not ha-ha funny, I mean.
The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Draconian Measures: First draft complete.
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