Have you tried chatting with the fanbot?

Have you tried chatting with the fanbot? You can talk to it by clicking on the little blue word bubble that should be in the lower right corner of your screen (ok not on this page, but if you go back). I have to admit, I’ve had way more fun than should be allowed trying to train this thing. I’ve been using Wordsonic, which seems to be a little startup that uses Chat GPT to allow you to create custom chatbots. Sure, I’m not their usual customer. I think the application here is mostly customer service on product or service related websites vs. an obscure, self-published author’s website. But I figured, why not have some fun with it? I trained it on the text of the novel itself, along with my website and then some info I manually spoon-fed it. It’s not perfect by any means, but I think it’s fun if you’re patient with it. I’ll keep working on it to see if I can squeeze more intelligence conversations about the book for yours (and my) amusement.

I know, Generative AI is coming for the writing community like the giant ball of doom in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” A lot of people are worried. I get it. Personally, I tend to think that the best writing in the future will come from a mix of AI and human collaboration – that we’ll see it as another (albeit an especially powerful) tool to help create great content.

On that topic, while I didn’t use Generative AI to write any parts of “The Backfill” (it wasn’t up to the current standards or even widely known during most of the time I was writing), I might just give it a try in my next book. I think it could be especially useful in dealing with writer’s block. Some of the tools out there already (Sudowrite is a good one) allow you to input the text you have and it’ll suggest ideas for what to write about next. I think it’s a cool idea, although there is something magical about waking up with a new idea in your head after days and days of struggle. I think Stephen King called it “the boys in the basement.”

I don’t know. It’s a brave new world out there. Generative AI is here to stay, I’m convinced of that. For better or for worse, the art of writing is going to be transformed. You (and I) may not like it, but we’ll have to deal with it. It just is. It’s too damned useful and good at what it does, and appears to be getting better by the day. Will it replace us? It’ll certainly come for the simpler forms of writing first. Maybe novels will be on the chopping block after that. I think anyone who says they know exactly how this will all play out is full of crap. But I’ll admit that it’s tempting to speculate.

In the meantime though, have a chat or two with my fanbot, and let me know what you think. As I said it’s still pretty shaky and says some annoying things, but I’m working on tweaking it and I do think it’s noticeably better than when I started.

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