The Fears, Anxieties, and Excitement around AI in the World of Books

12th Feb 2024

As AI technology continues to advance at lightning speed, its impact on the writing and publishing industry is becoming increasingly clear. While some people are optimistic about the possibilities that AI brings, others are more sceptical. Regardless of where people fall on the spectrum, it's undeniable that AI is going to have a significant impact on the world of books.

After speaking with dozens of people at the heart of the global publishing industry about their fears, anxieties, and excitement surrounding AI, it's clear that there are many questions that still need to be answered.

- Will AI replace human jobs? (Actually, the bigger risk is that humans who use AI will take jobs away from other humans who don't.)

- Is generative AI any good? (Not as good as you fear, but much, much better than you think. Avoid panic, but don't be complacent either.)

- What are the ethical concerns around using AI when it comes to copyright? (There are two main issues to think about. The first is legal battles between writers and AI companies, and also media companies and AI companies. These are extremely important issues - follow them closely.)

- So should we use AI or not? (If you can wait for these lawsuits to finish, that's great. But most people can't wait. It's really important for writers and publishers to learn about AI now, even while these issues are being resolved.)

- What are the other ethical concerns of using AI to write? (As AI gets better, more people are using it to write. It can spread lies or influence people unfairly. It can compete with human writers and journalists. All powerful technologies can be used for both good as well as evil.)

- Will AI writing replace human writing? (Not immediately, because even AI-generated content is meant for human readers with human tastes and preferences.)

- Will it make writers and editors redundant? (No, I think this is an extremely powerful time to be a writer and editor. Original ideas will be more valuable than ever.)

I'm absolutely fascinated by these questions and I'm going to write regularly about these topics. Like it or not, the age of AI is here and I feel it is better to look at it with your eyes wide open rather than pretend it isn't happening. 

I agree with Akira Kurosawa:

“If you shut your eyes to a frightening sight, you end up being frightened. If you look at everything straight on, there is nothing to be afraid of.”

― Akira Kurosawa, Something Like An Autobiography