Almost everyone today knows about Artificial Intelligence (AI). Machines that could understand, learn, think, and process new information without additional human intervention have been at the forefront of both popular culture and real-life technologies today.
Nonetheless, most would argue that machines are still far from becoming humans indeed. For one, humans have not figured out how to make machines that can feel instincts and emotions, which are essential to succeed in many tasks, one of which is writing.
In this article, I would like to discuss five reasons why a professional writer is still light years ahead of an AI story writer. This article is not only for those who are hoping to hire an academic or professional writer but also for those who want to learn more about AI writing (and AI writing software).
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I. Three Reasons why a Professional Writer is Better than an AI Story Writer
1. An AI Writing Software has yet to Mimic Human Emotions
What are human emotions? How does our physiology create a complex and dynamic emotion? How can humans replicate this through a series of codes?
These are just some of AI writing software’s common questions and stumbling blocks. Although current studies show that AI has the possibility of ‘mimicking’ certain forms of expression, this technology is still currently far from reality. Machines cannot yet precisely perceive, determine, and express human emotions, similar to how an individual could feel when a loved one or a friend feels sad or annoyed.
Sadly, this stumbling block is also the reason why an AI story writer falls far behind a professional writer. AI-generated stories lack the depth, dynamics, and emotions that only someone who has experienced it can understand, portray, and deliver.
In other words, an AI machine cannot fathom the grief of losing a loved one, the bliss of falling in love, or the anger of being betrayed, which are all powerful emotions that hooks your readers to their seats.
cannot fathom the grief of losing a loved one, the bliss of falling in love, or the anger of being betrayed, which are all powerful emotions that hooks your readers to their seats.
2. AI lacks ‘imagination’
One of the most promising aspects of every AI technology is its capacity to think and learn new information using a series of pre-determined information. Given a set of data, an AI can learn how to use the various individual elements within that data set and use it to understand and create multitudes of various combinations. However, AI cannot still ‘imagine’ through ‘extrapolation.’
In one study done by the University of California about enabling the imagination of artificial intelligence, the authors noted that while “humans [find it] easy to envision an object with different attributes, …[advances] in deep neural networks that match or surpass human performance in certain tasks, computers still struggle with the very human skill of “imagination.”
For instance, say you want to create an AI system that generates images of cars. Ideally, you would provide the algorithm with a few images of a car, and it would be able to generate many types of cars — from Porsches to Pontiacs to pick-up trucks — in any color, from multiple angles.
One of AI’s long-sought goals is to create models that can extrapolate. This means that, given a few examples, the model should be able to extract the underlying rules and apply them to a vast range of novel examples it hasn’t seen before. But machines are most commonly trained on sample features, pixels, for instance, without taking into account the object’s attributes.
This problem also exists in terms of automated writing software. Stories written by AI can only create pieces based on pre-encoded pieces (or paragraph fragments) as compared to making one based on extrapolating various story elements into one unique and coherent whole.
In turn, this is crucial for the story’s success since a good story should be able to pique one’s interests and make the reader think about the events. As aptly said by Dickman in their study about what makes a good story, “a story is a fact wrapped in an emotion that can compel us to take action and so transform the world around us.“
A story is a fact wrapped in an emotion that can compel us to take action and so transform the world around us
In line with this, one of the problems of recent stories written by AI is that it merely takes several pieces of previously written stories, much like blocks of different puzzles, and fits them into a larger piece. Human beings then recognize these fact patterns making it clear that an AI story is merely a recycled one.
Take, for example, classical stories like Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, among others. Suppose a request is made to a machine to craft a new narrative based on these. In that case, an automated writing software may take bits and pieces of each and fit them towards a single storyline (assuming that a story writing AI can already do this effectively). The problem is that any human being would readily recognize that the apple is taken from Snow White, the hair is taken from Rapunzel, and the shoe is from Cinderella.
Simply said, stories written by AI would take some time to analyze and integrate as many details from thousands of previously-written stories to make a cohesive whole that is unrecognizable from the human mind. In contrast, a human writer can easily tweak these stories since they can personally recognize these fact patterns with relative ease.
3. AI’s Algorithmic Bias
One of the problems, not only of a story writing AI but of AI in general, is the high possibility of algorithmic bias. Algorithmic bias refers to the set of instructions (code) the machine will follow to execute a result. Thus, if any intrinsic or extrinsic biases might be present in the source code, any automated writing software would only limit its queries and decision-making within the established limits of the software.
To exemplify, imagine an AI content writer that is programmed to create a new romance novel. If the source code is inclined towards extracting pieces of romance novels (i.e., Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, The Age of Innocence, etc.), then the new novel crafted has a high possibility of placing thematic elements like fear, lust, greed, etc. that will help create the ‘roller coaster’ of emotions necessary for a successful story.
In other words, one of the pitfalls of an AI story writer is its incapacity to create incoherence, distortion, and distraught due to its bias toward logic which is all necessary to keep your audience hooked.
II. Thoughts about the Future of an AI Story Writer
As stated earlier, one of the problems of any AI content writer is its lack of emotion. Emotion is necessary to understand the human psyche, which is enticed not only by logic and coherence but also by conflict and disunity.
Any story-writing AI would not understand how it feels to experience all the hardships that humans like us face, unlike professional writers who experienced this firsthand. As human beings, writers have felt how to be imperfect and to be vulnerable, which then widens their emotions and capacity to convey them.
In the end, while I personally believe that any content written by AI holds a promise of automation, our current technologies are far from it. Studies done on AI technology have all cited that we have yet to cross the threshold of humanity and relate technology with what we may call the ‘human condition.’