“Created by Humans” vs. “Created by AI”

by James Wallace Harris, 4/22/23

The first video I watched on YouTube this morning was “How to create a children’s storybook using ChatGPT and Midjourney AI for Amazon KDP Start to Finish.” eLibrary1 explains how she creates children’s books using AI tools.

It’s actually quite fascinating. She gets ChatGPT to suggest a series of ideas and then asks ChatGPT to write up 500-word versions of the ideas she likes. Then she tests those stories against an AI checker to show how they can be easily detected as AI-created. Then she runs the stories through another program that rewrites her stories. After that, she checks again and shows how the AI detector shows they are now human-written. Then she runs them through a plagiarizer detector to make sure they won’t be rejected for that reason. After she’s sure she’s got something good to work with she submits the stories scene by scene to Midjourney to have it create the artwork.

As I watched this video I thought about how so many people are concerned with seeing “Made in America” tags on the products they buy. I wondered if people in the future will look for “Made by Humans” or “Created by Humans” tags?

My initial reaction was I wouldn’t want to read a book that eLibrary1 created. I would feel cheated. I expect art and fiction to be produced by artists that suffered for their art. But then I thought, what if the story and pictures were better than what people produce? I’m already seeing artwork produced by AI that blows me away.

Just scroll down for a while in Midjourney’s Community Showcase.

Or look at Latest Works at Art AI Gallery.

The range of what’s possible is tremendous. But then, it’s all been inspired by art created by humans. Is AI art actually creative work? Well, humans don’t create artwork out of nothing either. They have a lifetime of being inspired by other artists.

Let’s ignore this philosophical question for a moment. Let’s go back to the old idea of people “liking what they see” as a test of quality. I love visiting art galleries. I love looking at graphic art in magazines. I love looking at art books. I often buy books for their covers. And I have collected thousands of science fiction magazines, both in physical format and digital scans (but mostly digital). The reason I love them so much is because of their covers.

I’ve got to admit that AI-generated art presses the same exact buttons as art produced by humans. I have not read fiction written by AI writers, but what if I love their stories as much as I like AI art? To be honest, I believe I have a stronger psychological desire for fiction to be human-generated. What happens to that feeling if I read an AI-written novel that I like more than all my favorite human-written novels?

What I’m feeling right now is the desire to tune out the AI world. To retreat into the past, and savor the art and fiction created before the 21st century. That I want to become a modern Luddite that rejects AI machinery. But what will I be missing out on?

What if machines can take our imaginations further? Isn’t that why I’ve been a lifelong science fiction reader? Isn’t that why I took psychedelic drugs in the 1960s? Isn’t that why we admire the greatest of human thinkers?

Maybe I want to run away because I’m old and tired. One of the main enjoyments of getting old and putting up with the pains of aging is seeing how events unfold. So, why turn away now?


8 thoughts on ““Created by Humans” vs. “Created by AI””

  1. “Not in my backyard” is a Concept most disturbing… Because it hits you emotionally and you know it will change things for you from now on. I think Painters from the 19th century felt the same way about photography. Because you are a writer at heart you find it very disturbing that a machine could possibly write something better than what a human could write. It won’t be long before AI writes better fiction and is read by millions…. Think of all the time an author spends writing a novel when it can be done in a matter of minutes or seconds by an ai… And a lot cheaper.

    1. “Not in my backyard” is a good analogy. I’m often limited by what I write because of knowledge, mental energy, time, patience, etc. I often want to do a better job when I’m reviewing a science fiction story or concept. I can easily imagine in the future a computer generating anything I could write and doing it in greater detail.

      When I spend a few hours and push myself to say something useful in 1,000 words about a 12,000-word short story I can easily imagine a computer being able to write a book-length dissertation in seconds.

  2. At my grandson’s insistence, I tried an AI site for writing. I gave the beast the information I wanted in the story, and it returned a complete pile of crap. Totally false, historically incorrect, and full of broken sentences. I know many bloggers use AI for their posts, and they are easy to spot. They don’t feel human.

  3. ChatGPT is just the first popular AI to spark media and user interest. I’m sure more powerful and capable software will capture the attention of corporations and schools in the years ahead. Will AI change everything? Yes.

  4. pick to click: a story by the late,lamented roald dahl entitled The Great Automatic Grammatizator, written sometime back when we was all falling out of our cradles, in a collection of his pieces titled Someone Like you.
    What was once fantasy…as Yogi Berra once told a sportswriter,’there’s nothing more difficult to predict than the future.’ nuff said,eh?


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