AI a writer’s helpmeet or curse?


Ali Taha wrote in his bi-weekly wisdom on 2022-04-11 “And while you’re working through these exercises, remember that imitation should be seen as practice. You shouldn’t publish these attempts or try to convince others that they are yours. Imitation is meant to help you find your voice, not steal another’s.”

Reading it immediately after watching the Society of Author‘s Chief Executive Nicola Solomon’s talk about AI and the rewards and threats it promises – made me wonder how much each of us authors knows about the uses and misuses of AI in regard to our writing.

African-American student studying craters of the moon on tablet at observatory. Canva Germany Gmb

Have you used AI to generate a cover for a book? Do you realise how threatening this is for illustrators who see their livelihood disappearing, in the same way that journalists have already experienced? Has your writing been used to “train” AI machines? Would you know if it has? Why would it matter?

Nicola explained that authors have had their work refused by publishers because it is ‘like’ writing produced by an AI machine, that has been fed the work of that author! One SoA member had had a work refused for this reason, but even when she proved that it was indeed her own work, the publishers banned her, because “their AI could not be wrong”.

Is artificial intelligence our future?

Do you use AI to edit your work? This can lead to your style and syntax being reproduced in AI generated writing, which might get you barred in this way.

Seminar on text and data mining and Artificial Intelligence

Do you insist on a clause in your contract with a publisher which does not allow for an AI generated cover, or AI editing? Does your website host ban crawlers from harvesting work from their site? Do you use AI to generate plot, or provide prompts? If so who owns the copyright – you or the AI that generated the ideas?


I’ve concentrated on the pitfalls of AI here, I’ll leave it to those more in tune with the uses of AI to laud its benefits. However, it has made me glad that I’ll look up a spelling I’m unsure about, but don’t use a spellchecker (an old hangover from writing in the Welsh language).
Perhaps attend the WordPress meeting on AI on 12th February if the subject interests you:

4 Comments

  1. Thanks for the heads-up on the online AI meeting this evening. I’ve grabbed a ticket – currently 18 others still available.

  2. Oh dear! No, I hadn’t thought about seeking to block AIs from scraping my website. (Or, under my Admin hat, of blocking them from scraping this site.) I’m not even sure how I’d go about it.

    I was particularly struck by the story of the SoA member whose work was deemed to be AI generated … by publishers using an AI to identify AI generated content! Their argument, that their AI can’t be wrong, isn’t that at the root of the Post Office Horizone scandal that recently engaged the British media?

  3. Gill Tennant

    Yes, exactly so, John.
    True, Debbie, it’s a scary world!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *