Writers wade into role of AI, believe tech can only do so much

In this day and age, it can be hard to tell what is made by a human, and what is produced by an artificial intelligence (AI) tool.

Many are terrified but some welcome AI’s integration into our society. The one thing we always thought AI could never replace was human creativity.

However, in recent developments, we can see artificial intelligence generating content based on a prompt. This is affecting writers and editors significantly because no one knows what the industry will look like just a few years from now.

Author and editor, Sharon Bakar, believes that AI will do very well, even surpassing humans, in practical everyday writing, such as the blurb of a book.

However, AI will never be able to replace the human heart of a piece.

“When I read a story or a poem, I want to be moved in some way. I cannot be moved if the writer was not moved when they wrote the piece,” said Sharon.

Annabelle Chin, a local writer, has a similar view of AI. She, too, believes that AI cannot fully capture the emotions like a human writer can.

“I think it is unnecessary for a machine to create art when half the point of art is the creation,” said Chin.

She added that the primary reason people write is to express themselves, something that cannot be manufactured through technology.

Chin is convinced AI will never replace “that human connection and peace of mind”.

Both writers agree that AI can perform tedious, simple writing tasks well.

Sharon uses it herself to summarise discussions. However, she is against using it for her own creative writing as she is confident in her skills and does not need help writing a good story, poem, or article.

Though Chin recognised the biggest problem with AI is impersonation and copyright issues, Sharon said, “When I’m judging competitions or deciding on pieces to publish, I don’t believe I will ever be deceived when it comes to creative pieces”.

She believes in a clear difference between what an AI can accomplish and what the human mind can.

Chin views AI’s impact on the industry in a negative light, due to its various ethical issues. Sharon is more optimistic, believing that writers will find creative ways to use it, although it could be viewed as a different category altogether.

Writer and journalist G. Sharmila agreed about the positive impact of writing AIs. AI apps such as ChatGPT can help writers with research, especially when they are not familiar with a subject matter. They can provide helpful insights, ideas, and relevant data to kickstart the writing process.

This allows writers to save a lot of time and effort. However, using AI as a writing tool to generate copy is not an acceptable practice due to ethical issues, including plagiarism.

When asked if works produced by AI could be better than those produced by humans, Sharmila states that while these tools can be helpful, they can also be a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, they can help writers save time and effort, allowing them to focus on other aspects of their work. On the other hand, they can lead to a lack of creativity and originality. Writers may rely too heavily on AI-generated suggestions, rather than coming up with their own ideas and perspectives.

Sharmila points out that there is a possibility of manuscripts and articles being passed off as works by authors and journalists, even though they were generated by AI. This raises ethical issues because the attribution and citations may be missing from the AI-generated output.

Sharmila said writers must cross-check the facts and run the output through plagiarism checkers.

While the use of AI in writing has a positive impact as an information resource and knowledge tool, AI is still lacking in terms of creativity.

That’s where the human element cannot be replaced. But, developments are always being made and, as AI continues to evolve and become more sophisticated, it will be interesting to see how it continues to shape the field of writing in the years to come.

To give the younger generation an avenue to express themselves, Twentytwo13 has a dedicated space called Young Voices. If you are a young writer (aged 17 and below) and would like to have your article published on our news website, send your contribution to editor@twentytwo13.my.

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The views expressed here are the personal opinions of the writers and do not necessarily represent that of Twentytwo13.