Jul 19, 2022Liked by Alberto Romero

Good and insightful article. Let me comment on the disclosing of digital writings, because disclosing of printed writing, I guess, is much more difficult to deal with.

Disclosing is certainly a personal decision, that probably not all the writers will do, despite of the regulations. I´m thinking on an automatic and secure encrypted disclosing of authorship embedded in the digital media, that can not be changed later. So if a writing is authored by an AI, the authorship should remain securily in the digital media. A new standard to encode and protect the metadata embeded in the digital creation is required (Perhaps using NFT?). (And also protect the copy & paste as some document and word procesors already does).

Of course a writer can later edit the digital writing but the authorship must remain to the AI and the editor appear as such. On the other side if a writer indeed write a digital writing , the NFT will endorse he/she is really the author. The same could apply to all digital created media. (Its just an idea that came up to my mind). Would that work?. Very probably the technology industry and the regulation institutions will come up with a clever solution. In the mean time... , you are right, this matter is an ethical choice of the writer.

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Thanks for reading Ricardo!

I don't know much about NFTs. About the general idea of encrypting authorship, it could work, but I'm not sure if that would be feasible. In the end, it's not done today with non-AI digital writings, and the technology is there.

I'm not sure about how regulation could be enforced in this sense, but I'm sure there will be ways to bypass it. Those will be the exceptions. However, goodwill and sufficient regulations would ensure that the limits between AI creations and human creations don't become *completely* blurred. That's the key for me. Exceptions will still exist, but the bulk of writers who would otherwise carefreely use LLMs to write will be more restrained.

You commented in a previous article in which I used GPT-3 to write for me and said that you noticed it wasn't my style (thanks for reading so much of my work!). You were totally right, but I could simply fine-tune GPT-3 with my +100 articles and get something better. I could pump out reasonably good content from there very easily. If everyone did that, the signal-noise ratio would decrease to near zero.

Transparency and regulation could stop that.

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I get this and I do think this is imperative for Journalism. But fiction may be a whole other thing.

Ofcourse, its cool to say this publicly, "I'll always disclose if AI is involved in my writing", but seriously, who gives a damn, if it isn't journalistic writing. For novels and fiction, i couldn't care less what is involved in creating the story. If its a magic pen that wrote -how much? 20% 59% All of it?- the thing, who cares. If it was written by your dog, the only ones interested are cheap clickbait sites who want an article about a writing dog. I care about: Does the story grab me by the balls? Does it speak to me? Is it gripping? Is it interesting? Does it speak to me? Does it swing? Do I like the tone of voice? Does it challenge my views? Is it elegant? Whats the structue, wheres the climax, in short: Does it work? Can I fall into it, can I immerse myself in the writing? Who cares if you used a typewriter or a language model based on sophisticated statistics or a Faber pen. All I care about: Can you put words in a sequence that speaks to me?

And I'm not done yet: Disclosing usage of AI, at least at this point in history, may break the spell and a story that would've spoken to you suddenly doesn't, because you associate it with a robot voice. But its not a robot: Behind the language model stand 1 billion trillion words written by people and you, the curator of AI-chosen words, still put those words into a sequence, you still curate and arrange the output so that it works.

We are far away from a GPT3 that can just spit out The Great Gatsby and until we are not there, it may be counterproductive for the purpose of a story to disclose AI-involvement. But hey it sounds good on Twitter, amirite?

(As I said, I do think journalism is another, uhm, story. I want to know who made the mistake, a human or a machine, and who may be to blame for inaccuracies. Journalism needs transparency, storytelling does not.)

(And yet another story are experimental, explicit machine artworks. But they work *because* of the knowledge of AI-involvement, not *despite* of it.)

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Thanks for your comment, René, you brought up many interesting questions.

First, I agree that journalism and fiction are completely different types of writing and should be treated differently regarding AI tools.

About your stance on fiction writing, first, let me say that I agree in part but not completely.

I agree that the goal of fiction can be reduced to "Does it work? Can I fall into it, can I immerse myself in the writing?" I also agree that disclosing the use of AI could break the spell. I also agree that most people wouldn't care much, as long as the story is engaging. And I also agree that fiction that's explicitly written by an AI as an experiment is another question.

That said, I disagree in that it's irrelevant whether an AI has written a story or not. I think that we'll get to a point where AI is just another tool in the writer's toolkit. Like how we now use computers, standard templates for storytelling, or grammar checkers. Whether AI is a qualitatively different kind of tool or not is another debate and I won't go there.

What I want to underscore is that the importance of disclosing the use of AI tools is paramount now because AI isn't part of the collective common sense. It's not the same if writers use AI tools once the general public knows about the possibility as if they don't know. Once we bridge that gap then yes, disclosure is mostly irrelevant. Now? I don't think so.

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Content Marketing is difficult but effective. It is worth looking into this topic. I recently read this interesting post on the subject: https://gamerseo.com/blog/learn-the-best-strategies-for-content-marketing-for-startups/

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I might have to buy credits to commission DALL-E 2 at this point to be my lead designer. Sad to admit.

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LLM probably -- almost certainly -- would do a better job for most of what I personally need Substack for, which is making it easy to follow developments in various fields, because the LLM has such a richer input. And of course the subscription rates would be more like $10/year than $50. I wonder when this will happen -- when humans will be driven out of "field-following" journalism. End of the decade?

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Can you say more about what you will covering/discussing in your Substack? And can you reply to hapgood@pobox.com?

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