I think this is the difference between replacing cashiers with self-checkout and replacing writers/artists with AI. And I say this as someone who has done both jobs! I was a cashier for years. I hated that job SO MUCH. I would have been thrilled to be replaced by a bot and go on unemployment. I was thrilled when the store I worked for closed and I went on unemployment. Sure, I somehow made even less money that the pathetic sum I was getting before, but it was so much better for my mental health!

You're right - humans want to make things. We have an inherent desire to make art or literature or great TV or funny memes or whatever. We don't have an inherent desire to be screamed at by a Karen about shit we can't control.

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Great Googly Moogly, I can't believe how good this article was. I loved how you kept coming up with more and more creative derogatory names for ChatGPT. If you keep writing stuff that's this great, I may be compelled to throw money at you.

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Fucking PREACH!!! (appreciate the whole damned post) And yeah, I'm still going to finish those -15 novels- I have outlined because I have to. Fuck the machine

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Thank you. You reached me.

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I'm going to burst into La Marseillaise or something.

Thanks, from the depths of my still-extant soul.

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Yep. All of this.

Meanwhile, the latest books I've formatted, and from here on (I can do this as a selfpub author) are all getting this statement on the copyright page "No generative AI has been used in the conceptualization, development, or creation of this work."

And you can just bet that from here on any cover letter I send out with a short story is going to carry that label as well.

That said, Microsoft is incorporating an AI into Word, damn it. Even my standalone, non-subscription version from 2019. But I'm not using it and have no intention of using it.

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In 2014, one of the first indie ebooks I ever read (a techno-thriller sci-fi debut book) completely blew me away on this topic. Like you addressed, the author posed that there would eventually be two societies: the one who went along with AI and the ones who preferred to create and live outside it. (It also predicted the disaster of self-driven cars...but I digress.)

As I consumed one indie book after another, I realized that I tremendously enjoyed the real-life thoughts and expressions of real people versus the "canned" mainstream offerings. For the past 7 years I've been reading 95% indie books only and been an indie book blogger because I prefer the real rawness of indie and its freedom to mix multiple genres together (sometimes as many as 5 or 6) to express unique, character driven stories rather than what mainstream has deemed "appropriate."

When people were lauding The Kiss Quotient (which is a fairly decent mainstream, to be fair), I knew I had been already reading even better versions of it 3-4 years earlier in the indie sphere.

So, to your point, humans are going to human (i.e., create--in whatever form that is). The techno-thriller (Logging Off by Caitlin McKenna (https://amzn.to/3ZdRQGJ), if you're curious), mentions that the people who chose AI was because they decided that they really didn't want to think. They were happy passing all thinking tasks off to the AI. "AI what would be the most nutritionally right thing to eat today?"

And that's what we're talking about. "AI write the 'perfect' cover letter or email or book or whatever that will get me the prize I want without studying how to do it or working on the task."

When you hand over the task, it doesn't improve you or become a skill set you added to you. In the end, that doesn't add any value to you personally.

So, I agree. Now is the time to do art even more humanly.

Write, read, draw, dance, paint with all the possible non-digital imaginations we've got!

Humans are analog. Let's not forget it.


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That was amazing. Thank you. My only problem is that picking out a section to respond to makes it seem like I'm slighting the ones I'm not.

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Hm. I... don't generally feel connections to writers when I read their work. I can't really recall it happening, truth be told, so I can't speak on the matter of human connection through art. And as much as I'd love a comfortable post-work society, I can only give a dry, cynical laugh at the idea of us achieving that in a way that isn't somehow even worse than the current one.

If it's worth anything, I generally avoid "AI" "art," partly just on the grounds that it sucks. Sure, I can get a bunch of anime girl pictures in a few minutes, but have you seen them? Ugh. What I can't do is investigate every game I buy online to see if it used any kind of learning machines, because they sure as hell won't volunteer that information unless they're legally required to, and if they are then they'll probably lie.

I'm not gonna advocate a revolution. Those never end well. An "enlightened" society will not emerge from a bunch of flaming wreckage. I do, however, kind of hope that all billionaires ever will suffer slow, painful, horrible deaths that make them beg for the mercy of the guillotine, only to be denied. S'all I got at this point.

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I’m out of a job, but I upgraded to paid after this post. Thank you.

A good read from another aspect ofvthis struggle is the wonderful profile of the no-fucks-given Emily Bender in the Intelligencer today. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/ai-artificial-intelligence-chatbots-emily-m-bender.html

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I just emerged from typing on my old manual Olympia typewriter and stumbled upon your work (via Cory Doctorow). Thank you for firing up my synapses!

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I tried ChatGPT today for the first time. Asked it to write a limmerick,, it came out really stupid. Got it all wrong, though the meter or whatever was right. Not impressed at all.

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Mar 15·edited Mar 15

Thanks Catherynne, So please help me to find a solution to forward your article to my kid. He is about to become an adult, and i want him to know about the world he is about to inherit from us. The challenge is, how do I go about the F bombs in the text? Switch from the phone to a desktop, copy paste into editor, then asterisk all the f bombs, then print then hand over your art to him asking him to read because as a parent I believe he would benefit from reading the scream of your soul into the world? I wish I could just share it, but the f bombs stop me from doing it...

Scratching my head.

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Oh, damn, I forgot. So belatedly, a pointer to an SFF story that talked about this very same topic: what do the writers and artists do when the robots come for them? Why, they write and create art, of course. So, from 1961, Fritz Leiber’s “The Silver Eggheads”. Really worth reading if only because Leiber was an excellent writer, but also definitely apropos.


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Gods of all arts, YES! I used to be a software engineer, so I know just how much bullshit is being shoveled over us about these stochastic parrots that don’t even deserved to be called AI. I’m not convinced that the bots will replace a lot of coders, because we’ll still need them to check the code the bots create, they bullshit so much. But that’s neither here nor there to me; most of the code generated by humans these days is crap and needed only for crap purposes. But bots or no bots, I’m using my retirement to design a really bizarre robot, not for money, but just because it’s fun and I can. And I need to learn about octopus behaviors because the robot will have behavior in its legs like an octopus; and learning is part of the fun.

So, yeah, humans won’t stop creating or learning or performing because that’s a large part of being human. And thanks for that lovely, long screed proving just that.

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Yes to this! Yes to ALL of this! Yes to wrongness, yes to the striving to connect, to howl into the digital void and try as you might to just say something that touched someone else. Case in point: I have a Substack in which I write stories and rants and little things I send to what is up to now, a bunch of friends. I wrote a story based on a daftarsed meme that I posted the first part of that I made solely to make one of my mates chuckle. That self same mate, his wife lost their baby this week. And I can only guess at how much they’re hurting. I have no real idea about that. But. He messaged me today because it made him happy. And that made me so so happy as it WORKED Cat. It WORKED. The words did the thing I needed them to, under the hardest kind of duress. And I know wholeheartedly, no machine will ever really be able to do that. It doesn’t write to overcome pain. It chunders words out in a pale imitation of life. A stream of sense that’s lived nothing and felt no pain.

I’ll just, exactly as you said, write more. Write better, strive harder, aim for Ulysses and know I’ve done something good.

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