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  • Writer's pictureJohn Dodd

The AI isn't the problem

Once upon a time, there was a world where art was a sacred expression of the human experience. People would spend hours, days, and sometimes even years perfecting their craft, pouring their souls into every brush stroke or note played. It was a world where the creation of art was seen as a deeply personal and meaningful process, and the appreciation of it was an equally sacred experience.

But then, something happened. As technology advanced, a new form of art emerged - one that was created entirely by machines. These AI-generated stories, paintings, and songs were created using algorithms that analyzed data and patterns to create something that was supposedly unique and original.

At first, people were fascinated by the idea of machines creating art. They marveled at the intricate designs and flawless execution of these AI-generated pieces. But soon, they began to realize that something was missing.

The human element was gone. The art created by machines lacked the emotional depth and soulful expression that had once made art so powerful. It was as if the machines had taken over, reducing the creative process to a set of rules and equations that could be easily replicated.

As time passed, more and more people began to turn away from AI-generated art. They yearned for something real, something that spoke to their humanity and their emotions. They longed for the imperfections and idiosyncrasies that only a human artist could bring to their work.

Slowly but surely, the world of art began to wither and die. As machines continued to churn out endless streams of soulless creations, people lost interest in the artistic process altogether. They no longer saw the value in spending hours upon hours creating something that could be replicated by a machine in seconds.

And so, the death of art was complete. The world had lost something truly precious, something that could never be replaced by cold, unfeeling machines. The only hope for the future was that someday, somehow, a new generation of artists would emerge - artists who would reclaim the creative process and breathe new life into the world of art.

But for now, the world remained dark and barren, a place where beauty had been replaced by cold, mechanical efficiency. And in the quiet corners of the world, there were those who mourned the loss of art, who remembered a time when the creation of something beautiful was a deeply personal and meaningful experience.

Perhaps someday, they thought, the world would remember what it had lost and find a way to bring art back to life. But until then, they could only watch as the machines continued to churn out endless streams of soulless creations, their cold, unfeeling algorithms destroying the very essence of what it meant to be an artist.

You wonder why creative people are worried?

Everything above that last sentence was generated by an AI, and I wrote the prompts for that in less time than it took you to read it…

One of the pieces of artwork was done by an AI that took less than two minutes, one was done by a human and took hours, with years of practise before that, how many people can look at the two and tell me which one was which, and I've made it real easy for anyone who knows me to tell the difference...

Clarkesworld recently reported that they’d had to shut down submissions because of the number of identifiably AI submissions that they’d received, most of them coming from people looking to make a quick buck by throwing in whatever they’d created and waiting for the results. These people aren’t interested in improving themselves or putting in the time and effort to be good at what they do, they just want to game the market to get themselves the win.

I understand why they’re doing it.

Let me be clear on that, I do completely understand why they’re doing it.

They're human...

Being creative isn’t easy, coming up with something new and interesting when the world already has so much work out there is really difficult, and when you have the idea, that’s just the beginning of it, then you have to bring it to life, you have to make it, and then shape it, and then when you’ve done all that, you have to send it out into the world and hope that someone out there likes it.

You know how long it takes to write a book? You know how long it takes to get a book published when it gets picked up? Is there any clue how many stages a book goes through, how many humans have to look at it, before it reaches the shelves? We’re looking at hundreds of hours from the first line to the first print. Hundreds…

I type fast, of skills I learned in school that I thought wouldn’t be useful, turns out that RSA 2 in typing is the one that I use more than pretty much anything else that I learned. I’m typing this without looking at the keyboard, at a speed of near 90 words per minute, and as I type all the time, I’m unlikely to lose this skill anytime soon. Can I keep that pace up for half an hour, an hour? Sure, I can, but my creativity won’t keep pace with it, and after a while, the words that are coming out won’t match the vision that was in my head.

I once wrote twenty five thousand words in two days.

Wasn’t easy, but I did it, I had the idea and I went for it, and then I let it rest, because when you’ve just forged something, you can’t look at it properly till it’s cooled down. You don’t know the quality of the workmanship till you can look at it without burning yourself. When I looked, I found spelling errors, I found words transposed where my fingers had been faster than my mind, I found that the concept wasn’t matching the execution, and so I set about editing it.

Editing it took two months, and when I finished it, I had a good story at around twenty one thousand words. They weren’t the same words that were originally on the page, and four thousand of them never made it through the warzone called editing that every human piece of work goes through.

With AI tools, you can write 25000 words in two minutes, for free…

Will it be as good as something that a human (any human, not just this one) took two months to craft and build?


I say that with remarkable assuredness, because I live in the company of creatives, my wife is an artist, my friends are writers and artists, some write novels, some create games, some paint miniatures.

None of them do it in two minutes.

None of them learned their craft in two minutes.

Sure as hell, none of them perfected their craft in two minutes.

Why would you want to spend weeks, months, years, decades, learning your craft and perfecting it, still being unsure if the thing you’re doing is any good (because every creative has that dilemma), when you can type in a prompt and get what you want in less time than it takes real creatives to boil the kettle for the coffee they need for their next word, their next line.

You wouldn’t…

If you’re using these programs to generate stories and artwork for easy profit, you’re not going to look what it produces for mistakes so you can correct them, because you don’t have the skills to make the changes if it needs them, you’ll just need to generate another image or another story.

Oh well, there’s another two minutes wasted…

Did I leave the spelling errors in the AI part of this essay in for reference? I absolutely did, was that a struggle? It absolutely was.

And that’s what this is about, AI isn’t about creating things, it’s about not creating things, it’s about people wanting the quick and easy route to riches and glory, not wanting to do the time to learn and perfect a skill, instead wanting to churn, to grind, to hustle their way into winning, and all the while, not to spend any of their time doing it.

It isn’t the AI that’s the problem, it’s the humans using it…

This is what’s always been wrong with the world, there have always been people willing to take short cuts to the top, and most of the time they get found out, and when they do, the trail of destruction they’ve wrought to get to where they are is uncovered, and you realise how many people got hurt so that the person taking the shortcut could get to where they wanted to be without effort.

And this is what we have here, AI art couldn’t exist without human art, there’d be nothing to steal. AI writing couldn’t exist without human writing, there’d be nothing to steal.


Consider that…

Creating something using a computer (here’s me, writing using a keyboard to a screen) is different from using a program that steals any work it can access and butchers it to suit the purpose of its generator. Even now, I found myself pausing before writing that, because I’m so used to writing creator when it comes to artwork and writing. Frankenstein stole from others and blended those things together to form an unholy gestalt, outcast by all and understood by none, and the moral of the story was that it wasn’t the fault of the creature he created, it was him, and him alone, that made those decisions.

But watch out, now everyone can be Frankenstein, and when you practise something more, you learn more, you get better, what if everyone had copied Frankenstein, do you not think that we’d have almost perfect amalgamations of other people now?

And that’s what AI is now doing, at first you could spot it by the six fingered hands (not even referencing Count Rugen) or the writing torn from other novels, but it’s getting smarter, and every time a new novel comes out or a new piece of art is made by humans, it has more to steal from, and sooner or later, the question becomes how do we tell the difference between a prompt generated piece made by a free AI, and twenty hours of hard work from a human creator…?

Some are saying it will never happen, that computers lack the spark of insight that makes humans human, and that’s missing the point too, the computer doesn’t need to think it up, it just needs to read the prompt that a human just gave it, and steal enough to make what it was asked for. Ask Bradford Literature Festival...

It isn’t the AI that’s the problem, it’s the humans misusing it…

The Genie is out of the lamp now, everyone’s got it, and as much as many websites and companies are making people label artwork that’s been assisted/boosted/just plain generated by AI, and today, there’s indication that AI monitored MRI scans have the possibility of reading passive thoughts from electrical currents in the brain, which might be used to help people who can’t communicate with others.

Because of course, that’s the use that everyone has in mind for it…

It isn’t the AI that’s the problem, it’s the humans abusing it…

For me, I’ll be looking for the ones that have the label on the front cover that say.

Made by a Human without AI assistance.

Because I was awake at 2:14 a.m. EDT, August 29, 1997, and I’m not worried that the machines will rise up, I’m worried that humans will no longer need humans, and that’s when the real judgement day starts, because when you don’t need something any more, you start to phase it out.

You think that doesn’t apply to humans?

Ask any sociopath in big business if they wouldn’t trade their entire human workforce for robot workforce that does everything a human can in return for all the electricity it can eat, see where that goes.

And when humans are phased out, what then…?

Progress is both inevitable and necessary for us as a species, you would not be reading this as you are without progress, for me to be able to do this now, was thirty years ago science fiction, the question becomes where will we be in thirty years, when machines can (and will) do all the drudge work, all the busy tasks, what then for most of humanity?

It isn’t the AI that’s the problem…

It’s the Humans…

It always was…

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