The hero isn't always the good guy, or girl.

What does Human-Powered Art mean?

In late December I decided to try an experiment. I’d never hosted a BookFunnel promotion before, despite having participated in many. I didn’t have the foggiest idea of how they work on the host end. But I did know I wanted to not only offer authors a vehicle to promote their work and widen their newsletter list, but also do it as ethically as possible.

Why ethical?

Let me count the ways… (a joke, I don’t expect you to read every article cited below), but here’s some highlights:

  1. Human-powered descriptions in copy-writing still work better because AI content lacks emotional depth/appeal
  2. AI art and AI generated content (be it portions of a novel or full works) cannot be copyrighted, and in current practice, lack enough consistency to be engaging to humans. Another aspect is the “uncanny valley” effect, where the reader is aware/conscious that there is something “off” about the content. In days before many of the niceties of now, our species relied on that ability to spot the imposter in order to survive. Perhaps those instincts are not as extinct as we think?
  3. It is putting people out of work. In a Business Insider article, estimates of up to 300 MILLION jobs could be disrutped by AI.
  4. AI training datasets were “stolen” — as in, artists, writers, coder, etc., were NOT compensated. Lawsuits ranging from actors, writers, and publications like the New York times have begun. Until the legal proceedings are settled, any use of the content as is would expose the user to risk.

There will be a future where the legal issues are resolved, AI powered creation will fill in voids where current technology and human mechanical ability would not be as fast (generative fill is a great example of this already), but would that replace authors? Could it? Could it replace creatives like videographers? What would that look like?

Time are changing fast. But jumping on a bandwagon speeding down a slippery slope might not be a great thing. NFTs anyone? How many people LOST money on those stupid things. It’s a trend right now to use the tools in varying degrees of uses, ranging from silly to nefarious. When the whole world can create a fake photo, perhaps even one that LIES to you, the damage is vast. Trust is eroded, cynicism reigns… potential abuses are on the horizon or already here. I’m not going to preach at anyone about their silly fake snow trees photo, simply distance myself as much as possible from someone so guillible they can be fooled. Worse? Their “likes” and reposts are tracked and handed off to people who WILL try to fool them again. I feel bad for those folks. Eventually they’ll be burned hard.

To try to slow the crash, I am attempting to use only imagery from sources I trust, or have documentation that the content is labeled as “not generative AI.” I also asked that each author in January’s promo sign a pledge that they are not using generative AI for their book covers, or the words inside. YAY to each of them!!!


One response to “What does Human-Powered Art mean?”

  1. Robert Hinkle Avatar
    Robert Hinkle

    I totally agree with and commend you for your stance opposing AI. It is my OPINION that AI could be hazardous for the well-being of all Indie Authors as well as any author. It will make it possible for anybody with a computer, a plot idea and a few names of characters to create a book. The bad thing about that is they could not even be old enough to have the experience or knowledge to author a book. And the book market would be flooded with books that are not really booKs but are collections of words that lack the feelings and emotional connections of a REAL LIVE PERSON.

    I hope this is an acceptable comment. I am not an author but am just an avid reader, book worm.