Experimenting with AI and the Beginning of the AI Revolution
I first began experimenting with AI in September 2022, when it was still relatively unknown to most writers and artists. though there were the first stirrings of concern that it might replace jobs and that there were copyright issues at combining art images from artists. Back then, the first platforms open to the public to create art images that I knew about were Midjourney and DALL-E, and I wrote some early articles about this — “Will AI Replace Writers and Artists?” and “Let’s Change the Laws Governing AI”.
Then, over the next few months, some new platforms quietly appeared for creating art and about two weeks ago, everything changed with the introduction of ChatGPT. Suddenly, dozens of articles appeared in the mainstream media, including The New York Times, TIME Magazine, Wired, and Businessweek. Meanwhile the Facebook group I created about four months ago — The AI Revolution and Writers and Artists — suddenly took off. as I regularly posted new articles and dozens of new members joined each week — so the group is now about 300 members and counting. And in about 6 weeks at the end of March or beginning of April, the film production team I work with will be filming a documentary, The AI Revolution, featuring interviews with two dozen people about how AI has been changing their lives. The film will be released in November at the big American Film Market event — one of the biggest in the film industry each year.
So will AI replace many writers and artists? Will AI be held responsible for copyright infringement, now that some lawsuits have been filed to address this issue?
At this point, as writers, artists, lawyers, politicians, and others argue these issues pro and con, I have found that millions of writers and artists, including myself, are using these platforms. Plus I have recently been receiving marketing pitches from online entrepreneurs on different ways to make money by using AI to create copy and illustrations for clients. I even met a woman at a business networking event who calls herself a Chatbot Architect, and she has been building assorted marketing programs for clients using AI for the past four months.
So this is truly an AI Revolution, or as one commentator put it, we are at the beginning of the “AI Age” that follows the “Information Age.” And in keeping with this transition, after being an early experimenter, I have started to use AI regularly for all kinds of writing and illustrations. So far, this has included creating children’s picture books and books with unusual imagery for gifts, sports, and cars for adults; develop ideas for songs; write articles; turning text into voice-over narration; and more recently I have started creating scripts for videos. At least the writing has started with some AI generated text; and then I have revised, edited, and added to the original copy. Then, after using AI for my own books, I have shown clients what AI can do, so I am now using AI to illustrate their kids’ books and create videos for them.
Is doing this morally wrong, as some writers I know suggested? Is using AI a violation of copyright laws? I’m not sure. But it would seem like the millions of writers, artists, business people, and others now using it don’t know or don’t care. And so the AI Revolution that is turning life today into the beginning of the AI Age is rapidly gathering steam, though the question is: “What form will this new age take and what kind of controls or laws will be enacted to deal with it?” These questions have taken on a new urgency now that some reporters have described odd and creepy experiences resulting from extended exchanges with AI, leading them to receive threats, claims of love, and appeals to resist the current social order.
Creating a Video and Book about AI and Ghostwriting
Given this backdrop about the AI Revolution, the controversy about AI, and my experiments with it, I created a promotional video about ghostwriting — The Many Ways a Ghostwriter Can Help with Your Book or Other Writing — now on YouTube at https://youtu.be/C17zuy7RmY0. I used AI tools to create everything including the script, images, and narration. Then, I turned this into a book: Ghostwriting, AI, and Creating Videos — which has just been published on Amazon — https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BW2H5L3F for the paperback; https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BW8FV9K2 for the book. And I was able to do all of this in 2 days — many many times faster than if I began by writing everything from scratch and hiring illustrators and narrators.
Thus, I confess — I am a writer who has found that AI can be a useful tool to more quickly write and illustrate books and other materials, and in some cases, I have AI instead of hiring illustrators and narrators for books. At the same time, there are still many circumstances where I might hire artists, such as for a children’s book based on following a particular character, since with AI I wasn’t able to do this. And I still would hire narrators for dialogue involving more emotion or voices for different characters that is more difficult to recreate with AI.
In any case, here’s how I created this video on YouTube and book on Amazon in two days. I started with a plan to create a promotional video about the benefits of using a ghostwriter to write books, scripts, and other materials, and I was curious to see how well ChatGPT would work in writing a script for this video. So I put in a prompt, generated three different scripts, and drew on different sections of each script to create the final revised and edited script. By itself, much of the ChatGPT copy was too general and sometimes repetitious. But I found it useful for providing ideas I could reorganize, edit, and add to until I came up with the final script.
After that, I used one of the text-to voice programs, Revoicer, which uses AI to create a human sounding voice in a few minutes, to generate the narration for the video.
Then, I used a series of prompts with a listing of words or a short sentence in an AI image-generating program, NightCafé, which uses Stable Diffusion and DALL-E 2, to create images. After choosing Stable Diffusion, I selected a series of different styles — Modern Comic, Anime, and NightCafé’s fantasy look — to generate images. Each time, I started with four images per prompt, after which I usually had to create some variations — or “evolve” a creation, as NightCafé calls it. After generating the four images, I picked one to download if I liked it, or I picked one or two images to evolve. And sometimes I picked an evolved image to evolve it even further. The result was generating the 39 images I used to create the video by matching the images to the text within just a few hours Next, I added some background music selected from one of the stock music services, Storyblocks. Finally, I combined all these elements to create the final video using the Camtasia video editing platform.
The next day, I turned this video into the book Ghostwriting, AI, and Creating Videos to both interest potential clients in hiring a ghostwriter and show how AI can create different types of materials for a writing project.
Likewise, you can use these same techniques to create your own videos and books on any subject.