A Novel: as generated by Artificial Intelligence

Last week, fellow blogger Brian D Butler who blogs at Travel Between the Pages. published an entire short novel on his site. He had come up with a prompt, but the story was generated by AI at the website InstaNovel. He thought it was awful. So do I. You can read it here. But what could AI do for me? I had to find out.

This was my prompt:

Pretty dire, isn’t it? If that’s the best it can do, perhaps bloggers, writers and illustrators have nothing to fear. But then … those very first cars had people solemnly walking in front of them, waving a flag as a warning. Things do move on.

By the way. My feature image? Generated by by AI as an experiment by WordPress. As is the final paragraph of all, printed below. I don’t think AI Mark 2 quite knew what AI Mark I was getting at, do you?

My AI novel is about a world where autonomous artificial intelligence (AI) exists, and people have to find a way to interact and live peacefully alongside it. The story follows a group of intrepid humans who strive to bridge the gap between human and computer-powered life. Despite various struggles, the characters eventually find acceptance and cooperation, building bridges between humans and AI in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world.

This novel explores how machines might change society and how people might react to and embrace technology. The story examines the impact

Author: margaret21

I'm retired and living in North Yorkshire, where I walk as often as I can, write, volunteer, and travel as often as I can.

51 thoughts on “A Novel: as generated by Artificial Intelligence”

  1. Definitely awful. But I’m fascinated as to why the AI came up with the specific notion of a rural England location, and then set off with plot devices and setting that sound more like rural USA.


  2. How utterly disheartening. It’s not as though the world isn’t already swamped with average to dreadful novels written by humans, many that will never be published. I’ve begun and returned some atrocious books over the years why would anyone think we need AI to attempt creative works. Surely the fact it’s generated by AI means it lacks imaginative input. Other than the novelty factor why would we want to read AI manufactured novels unless it gives us insights into AI’s interpretation of our world. Or is it just another mountain to climb and tick off in the world of computers?

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    1. Well, yes, where to start? No sense of the early 1900s setting, or of the actual demands of a career in the church, or of any sentient, conflicted and complicated human beings. I’ve just read an article by Hannah Fry, which tells us that even as they get more sophisticated, we have no real need to fear AI: we just need to learn how to us it as servant, not master.

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      1. Yes, servant not master is spot on. The AI algorithms scraping the web for data from which to formulate opinions or produce original texts are going to reflect the data/information and prevalence of that information we, humans, have already uploaded. I think the AI results for your brief show just that. The lines,’ ‘finally coming up with the solution of becoming a priest part-time’ and ‘for a church willing to hire him’ are quite hilarious for rural England at that time. Also seems as if AI has yet to get to grip with interpreting photographs or other visual imagery that might have helped with the early 1900s setting. Yeah, I don’t think we need to worry, long before AI evolves to be a true existential threat we’ll have fried ourselves along with the AI world of data centres and server farms.

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  3. I’m with Brian – life’s too short 😆 As well as being a very poor writer, AI clearly has no idea either of the processes for entering the priesthood or the demands of farm work (taking weekends off? I’m a city girl but I know that wouldn’t happen!) I’m finding AI has some benefits when it comes to photo editing but it clearly has a long way to go before it takes on the world of literature!

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    1. Well, quite. If being a priest demanded just turning up once a week to do a service whilst doing a day-job in the week, we’d all be queuing up. This happy couple can stay wedged between the covers of a Mills & Boon romance. I don’t think though that even M&B would publish their story.

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  4. I am desperately looking for an AI tool to write comments.
    ChatGPT says: “We’ve upgraded the ChatGPT model with improved factuality and mathematical capabilities.” Factuality it says! Have you ever heard or used that term?

    I asked, “I fellow blogger published an AI generated novel. Trite at best. Is there hope of originality in AI?”

    And got this response: “Yes, there is hope for originality in AI. However, the level of originality in AI-generated content is often limited by the quality and diversity of the data it was trained on, as well as the constraints and biases programmed into the system. Additionally, AI is often better at producing variations on existing themes and patterns, rather than truly novel ideas. The level of creativity and originality in AI-generated content is expected to improve as AI models become more sophisticated and are trained on larger and more diverse data sets.”

    So, this dumb AI tool thinks originality comes from “larger and more diverse data”. No need to worry. Originality is a human thing and will be for quite some time.


  5. Ah well, it may take a while before AI can compete on artistic value. However I do find it very impressive when it comes to solid basics. At my job we got chatGPT to write some poems about products and topics we work with and it came up with some solid writing, great flow, spot on wrt topic and really nice rhymes. And all that in a few seconds. I may write a post about chatGPT (which will definitely be a dominating factor in the coming years, possibly killing Google). Sry for the long comment, I can talk about AI for ages…

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    1. Yes, do write that post. I find it hard to imagine AI writing poetry with any soul attached, though I can see it would be great for – say – advertising jingles. The Luddite in me enjoys the slow pain of creativity!

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  6. I have been following AI for several years and have seen great progress. AI is learning exponentially and will be a major player going forward. We all use AI, but because it is ubiquitous we rarely feel its presence. It is in our health care, banking, manufacturing, food production and now it has entered into art, literature, photography etc.

    Going forward, AI will become more and more integrated into our daily lives, from providing us with personalized recommendations to helping us with mundane tasks. AI is also expected to help us make better decisions by providing us with more accurate and timely information. It will become more intelligent and more sophisticated.

    Here is my commitment to creative endeavour – to learn, to reflect, to bring my best to every day. AI cannot replace who I am and what I create. I must continue to learn, explore, communicate and engage within a creative and passionate community.

    We live in a very interesting times.

    Great conversation, Margaret!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can see that AI is genuinely useful, and that as we ourselves become more creative in programming it, its usefulness can only increase. I agree absolutely with your last full paragraph!

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  7. I’m tempted to say you should send this (without disclosing the AI connection) to some of those companies that promise to make you a successful author, just to see what kind of feedback you’d get. LOL

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  8. Couldn’t resist replying to this…

    AI isn’t supposed to replace the creative process it’s supposed to help enhance it. It already is, in my line of work (Advertising) “Booo Hisses I hear…” I can save vast amounts of time using certain commands that would take me hours to do, and instead, I focus on more challenging and creative work. It’s the same as dali or mid-journey. It will only work on the data that is presented, and the prompts and keywords you give it.

    The devil side is eventually ai creates so much art and creativity that it feeds off its own output, eventually meaning everything is the same. Until it lacks consciousness of course…


    1. I realised even as I wrote the post that I was being glib. This story after all was generated by a free service that probably wasn’t particularly state-of-the-art. I accept what you say about how AI can free us up to do more interesting stuff: but I suppose I share that fear of the unknown, that The Martians Are Coming moment that means we will become servants instead of masters. It’s up to us to stay ahead! And … thanks for commenting.


      1. Not a problem to be glib 😉 I agree, there are some serious grey areas, especially with consciousness and the need for AI to remain as a service. Creating something ethical that isn’t swayed by opinion.

        You should try chatgpt and midjourney, the latter creates images from the prompts you give it, it’s seriously interesting (you’d find some tutorials on YouTube). But only from a conception standpoint, the work you create in ai, is perpetually the ai’s intellectual property and you essentially lease it. So will raise some interesting questions if things do indeed accelerate rapidly.


      2. That’s interesting – and I will follow up your suggestions. I’m surprised that the work generated is AI’s intellectual property, though it does of course make sense. Has that ever been tested in court?


  9. Not to my knowledge, usually in the terms and conditions, especially with midjourney and dali, its mentioned that they own the rights. You can use them if you pay a fee, usually it’s x amount of free images and then a monthly subscription.

    It’s unusual, as the usual creative software you lease/subscribe to allows you to copyright whatever you create. Whereas this is the opposite.

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