If there’s one topic people like to bring up even more than ask why a nice girl like me would write science fiction, it’s artificial intelligence.
AI has turned the writing world upside down this year. We’ve already seen major shifts in utilization and the subsequent shaken confidence of the publishing industry. I’ve been taking in the news and what it means to me as a writer, a reader, and someone who’s excited about technological innovation.
Here’s my ten predictions about how AI will impact the book world:
-1- We will continue to see traditional submission systems fall apart under massive amounts of newly generated content. The sci-fi publication Clarkesworld had to stop accepting story submissions because it was overwhelmed by AI-generated stories. After the launch of ChatGPT, there was a spike in interest, but this tsunami of people trying to break in with an AI-generated story will continue.
-2- People trying to use AI to get rich quick as authors will fail. We’re not yet at the point where a computer can write a story as good as a practiced, thoughtful person. Readers crave humanity, poetry, and surprise. Individuals who are looking at AI-generated stories as money makers are going to be in for a shock. Editors, literary agents, and really everyone who has been around the publishing industry for any length of time has a highly critical eye. Rejection is a staple of writing, much more so than riches.
-3- We will see an increase in disclaimers stating if a novel is original. Authors creating their own work without the help of a computer will be looking for a way to differentiate themselves.
-4- Some people will make money from AI-generated content. Likely people who would have been successful storytellers already. There will be some people who sell a story or book that has AI-generated writing inside, however, I would guess that those individuals would have eventually written something impactful anyway. Right now, AI is only as good as the prompts you feed it. Those individuals will have a knack for storytelling and be the ones sharing their gift with AI rather than the other way around.
-5- It will be hard for authors to convince the public that AI is detrimental to our intellectual property. The people who have the most to risk are content creators. ChatGPT was trained off content—books, Wikipedia, articles, etc. It can write in the style of a specific author because it is using their work. It’s much easier to see this with AI-generated art. Visual artists have showed how AI-generators are ripping off their content. It’s going to take a lot longer to show how this happens with language.
-6- We’ll see more original fiction about AI. In about a year, we’re going to see a lot of fiction with themes around AI and how society is impacted by AI.
-7- As AI capability grows, it will find a solid niche in line editing. We already use AI to clean up our grammar and suggest words to us. Next, software will increase its ability to catch more nuanced mistakes and attempt to increase author voice and style.
-8- Literary agents and publishing will use AI to sort through submissions. I can see the potential for AI software to replace long nights spent sorting through submissions with the hope of just one manuscript with potential.
-9- Similarly, we’ll see more authors, especially indie authors, using AI to write blog or social media posts. Writers need to invest large amounts of time into their projects. And yet the workload is high—marketing, speaking engagements, website management, blurb writing, finances, research—and I think we’ll see authors willing to trade in fully personalized social media posts for extra writing time.
-10- Books will become longer. In the liminal years when the majority of authors switched from the typewriter to the computer screen, books became longer, or at least wordier, based on anecdotes. With the help of a word processer, it was easier to create and keep needless words. Easier to keep everything organized and grow out a book. Now we’ll see a similar bloat.
Let’s agree to meet back here in 2028, see what held up and what didn’t. You bring the wine, I’ll bring handwritten copies of my latest book with a notarized letter stating that I did not use AI to write them.