Since the launch of ChatGPT on Nov. 30, 2022, writers and artists especially have been indifferent about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its new software.
There exists a fear among such creative communities that the use of AI is replacing—or attempting to replace—original thought, creative works, and the value therein.
But "artificial" means that something is made, produced, or created by human beings. Artificial means something is faulty, in other words, because humans are limited by what we know. What we produce is a reflection of that reality. Artificial also means something is fake, unnatural, and affected, to name a few.
For something to be "artificial," it is fake, faulty, and unnatural.
Think of artificial flowers, artificial flavoring, and coloring; we've always known these things to be of lesser value and/or "not as good as" the "real" thing.
If someone tries to replicate their grandmother's banana bread recipe but alters it just enough to make it their own or different than the original, that's not to say it's necessarily bad, it's just simply not the same, nor should it be claimed as such.
Putting strawberry flavoring in a cake does not mean the cake has strawberries in it.
This is the argument held by Creatives, such as writers, photographers, painters, etc.
What if an author spends two years writing a book what AI can produce in one day?
What if someone wins an art photo contest because they used Midjourney to produce an altered version of an already-existing piece of original work, but in less than half the time it took the original artist?
AI is more than capable of committing the above. In fact, it already has. The question is what quality and accuracy does AI possess? And is it just? Is it fair? It all depends on who is behind the keyboard and what their intent is.
AI being able to generate its own programmed and trained responses puts information at risk, one of the most, if not the most, valuable sources on this planet.
For the writing space specifically, here are real concerns from real people over on a Facebook page called "Self Publishing Support Group."
"The books will be terrible trash. ChatGPT isn't advanced enough to write good creative original books," - Hurriya
"I'm honestly not that worried about it. I'm going to keep writing regardless. The computer generated work is not great...I can see it being a useful tool for like writers block or creating outlines though. But I could never get it to write more than a couple thousand words at once. I don't know how people are getting [novels] from it...Things that don't bend, break. We could learn how to make it work for us, together as one," - HM Brandon
"People have used ghost writers and other versions of assistance (e.g. professional editing) for ages. This seems like just an electronic/automated version of that. It can also help you overcome writers block by generating some ideas you can tweak or build on...The trick is to figure out how to use it better, to be better, than those auto-generated generic content creators," - Angela
Angela made a good point, that there is a trick to using this technology, not that it shouldn't be used at all, because though we might not like it, it is here to stay.
ChatGPT is a thought-process generator, a conversational tool, and a useful one when used correctly. Like anything, it has its ups and downs. It can be used for good and used for bad. There's not much to be done about this other than getting to know the program, what it's capable of, and learning how it can be used to solve problems.
From personal experience, here are three ways AI can be used for good in the creative space.
1. Marketing and writing ads
While writing may be the strength of a writer, selling their work may not be. And that is okay! Marketing is selling, not writing, per se. It's a different art with some behavioral science mixed in.
Let's do a walk-through with ChatGPT and have it help us with a marketing prompt:
Q: Give reasons for why someone should read the book I wrote so I can sell it to them.
ChatGPT Answer: "As an AI language model, I'm not aware of any book you have written. However, in general, here are some reasons why someone might want to read a book:
Entertainment: Your book may be a compelling, engaging story that captivates the reader and provides a welcome escape from everyday life.
Education: Your book may offer valuable insights, information, or lessons that can help the reader learn and grow.
Inspiration: Your book may inspire the reader to take action, pursue their dreams, or make positive changes in their life.
Connection: Your book may help the reader feel less alone in their experiences, offering a sense of community or understanding.
Exploration: Your book may take the reader on a journey to a new world, time, or place, providing a sense of adventure and discovery.
By highlighting the unique value your book offers readers, you can make a compelling case for why someone should pick it up and give it a read."
So while I wasn't being specific with ChatGPT about any particular book, it was still able to generate 5 points of advice to consider, and I'd be silly not to take advantage of that. For this example, what I could do now is, instead of have it write marketing text for me, I can use the five points as a guide to write my own book advertising description and still take credit for it.
2. Book or story outlines, and business plans
The more you use ChatGPT, the more you will start to recognize the way it talks, word preferences, and certain phrases. In other words, it doesn't sound human, like this blog. I'm writing in a way that is conversational, how I normally would talk to a reader if they're next to me. Every writer has their own style, but it's what makes a writer unique and not sound robotic. That's why a lot of writers have beef with AI when it comes to having it write a whole novel for an author.
While I can't say I personally disagree with that sentiment, having ChatGPT write book outlines, however, only helps a writer stay focused on their craft and improve their skills.
Q: Provide me with a book outline on how to run a successful lemonade stand.
In just 30 seconds, check out this detailed and thorough response with no further direction given other than the question above...
Why lemonade stands are a great way to teach kids about entrepreneurship and business skills
The importance of planning and preparation
II. Getting Started
Choosing a location
Obtaining necessary permits and permissions
Building or purchasing a stand
III. Creating a Business Plan
Identifying target customers
Determining pricing and costs
Setting revenue goals
IV. Marketing and Promotion
Designing eye-catching signage
Spreading the word through social media and other channels
Offering special promotions or deals
V. Sales and Customer Service
Creating a welcoming atmosphere
Encouraging upsells and cross-sells
Handling customer complaints and feedback
VI. Managing Finances
Tracking revenue and expenses
Reinvesting profits into the business
Planning for future growth and expansion
Review of key takeaways
Encouragement to keep pursuing entrepreneurship and business skills
This book could be a valuable resource for anyone looking to start a lemonade stand, whether as a fun summer project or as a more serious entrepreneurial endeavor. By providing practical tips and advice on everything from choosing a location to managing finances, the book could help readers make their lemonade stand a success."
3. Imagery, inspiration, and visualization
Let's talk about Midjourney, another AI software specifically for generating images. This type of AI deserves its own conversation, but for the sake of time, it's worth at least mentioning here.
Similar to ChatGPT, the user provides Midjourney with a prompt but this time so that it can generate an image that represents the details it was given. The more specific the prompt, the better. An example would be, "A woman with long blonde hair is sitting in her office typing a blog on a computer while enjoying a cup of coffee in her favorite blue mug." Within a few moments, a picture will start to emerge describing this very scene. It's quite fascinating, truly.
But where did the image come from and how did it do that?
Is Midjourney trained to concoct an image from a series of existing images and artwork, or is the art it generates somehow original?
Though Midjourney's website is very brief and basic, we find a definition for "art" on its About page: "the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power."
Sounds about right. (I wonder why Midjourney decided to include this definition on their website alongside defining what artificial intelligence is if not for the sake of some sort of argument...) It's also hard to assume anything about the copyright laws and policies surrounding the art that Midjourney generates, mostly because we've never had to face this reality before in law to this extent. I would result to reading their Terms of Service.
All of that aside, however, Creatives can still and should benefit from using Midjourney for the sake of inspiration and visualization. Many of us are visual learners. Pictures and artwork only enhance our understanding of the information around us. Just like they say, "a picture is worth a thousand words."
Let's say a writer is trying to picture the main character in their book, or a scene at a coffee shop. This will help them better their writing description by providing Midjourney with a prompt. It can be a good way to go about turning an idea into a reality, even if it already exists, because the intent is inspiration.
Whether ChatGPT or Midjourney is used by you at all, AI is something that should be used for us, not in replacement of us, even if the latter is happening. While arguments for and against AI exist, especially the two forms discussed here, the truth is, AI is here to stay and it will only advance, just like smartphones and other common technologies used daily.
Creatives need not to fear, as this is just another great opportunity to better skills in the creative space and share talent with the world.