Stephen King has shared his thoughts on AI fiction writing, and they’re probably best summed up with the following phrase: “A certain terrible fascination”.
In an essay published in , the horror author addressed the issue of artificial intelligence – a central theme in the ongoing Hollywood writers’ strike The Atlantic. King was responding to news that pirated copies of his books, along with the work of thousands of other authors, were being used to train AI models. This has become a growing concern in recent weeks, with authors Mona Awad and Paul Tremblay filing a lawsuit against ChatGPT’s parent company, OpenAI, in July for the same reason. King, on the other hand – who is usually very open about things he doesn’t like – reacted far more tired and resigned.
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“Creativity cannot occur without sentience, and there are now arguments that some AIs are actually sentient,” the author wrote. “If that is true now or in the future, then creativity might be possible. I view this possibility with a certain terrible fascination. Would I ban teaching computers my stories (if that’s the right word)? Not even if I could.” . I might as well be King Canute forbidding the tide. Or an idiot trying to stop industrial progress by pounding a steam loom to pieces.
“Does it make me nervous? Do I feel like I’ve invaded my territory? Not yet, probably because I’ve reached a fairly advanced age.”
King made it clear that he doesn’t currently believe that AI will be able to create work on par with humans – “good on the face of it, not so good on closer inspection,” he described it – but he also seemed resigned to the fact that it might reach that stage one day.
In the writing community, King’s approach is likely to be the exception rather than the rule. In addition to the lawsuit mentioned above, authors recently banded together to shut down Prosecraft, a website that used AI to analyze thousands of novels without permission.