The Verge presents what it’s calling “an interview with an AI early adopter,” who is currently using ChatGPT not just to generate titles, but also the plots for their mysteries. For example, “I need four murder suspects with information about why they’re suspected and how they are cleared. And then tell me who the guilty killer is.”
The author says “It will do just that. It will spit that out.”
Q: You and a few other independent authors were early adopters of these tools. With ChatGPT, it feels like a lot of other people are suddenly grappling with the same questions you were confronting. What’s that been like…?
Every group, every private, behind-the-scenes author group I’m in, there’s some kind of discussion going on. Right now, everybody’s talking about using it on the peripherals. But there seems to be this moral chasm between: “It does blurbs really well, and I hate doing blurbs, and I have to pay somebody to do blurbs, and blurbs isn’t writing, so I’m going to use it for blurbs.” Or “Well, I’m going to have it help me tighten up my plot because I hate plotting, but it plots really well, so I’m going to use it for that.” Or “Did you know that if you tell it to proofread, it’ll make sure that it’s grammatically correct?’
Everybody gets closer and closer to using it to write their stuff, and then they stop, and everybody seems to feel like they have to announce when they’re talking about this: “But I do not ever use its words to write my books.” And I do…. The actual words, just to get them down faster and get it out, I do. So I’ve found myself in the past couple of weeks wondering, do I engage in this debate? Do I say anything? For the most part, I’ve said nothing.
Q: What do you think the line is that people are drawing?
It’s a concern of plagiarism. Everybody knows that they crawled stuff with permission and without permission. And there’s an ethical question…. I have three authors that I’ve read extensively, indie authors that I’m friends with, and I know they never gave permission for their stuff to be looked at, and I was able to reasonably recreate their style…. That I won’t do. That, for me, is an ethical line….
But you could, if you were ethically okay with that, with this technology and what it allows you to do.