Statement About Generative AI

Robot hands and fingers point to laptop keyboard

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time.  I didn’t want to make a snap judgment.  But the more I look at it and research, the more I come to a decision about Generative AI.  When I speak about Generative AI, I’m referring to ChatGPT and to Midjourney and their assorted versions and variants.

Generative AI, in its currently trained form, is something I cannot use in good conscience. 

When I first heard of Midjourney and ChatGPT, I will admit that I was excited.  It sounded like the perfect tool.  I could use Midjourney to generate portraits of my characters or graphics for ads and promotions.  I woudn’t use ChatGPT to write my entire book, but would use it as a jumping off point if I had a problem with a scene (like the one I am writing at the moment) or to develop marketing copy (which is a big weakness I have). But I wanted to learn more about where the data used to train the AI was coming from. When I learned about them scraping the.Getty website and using the Book 3 database to train Generative AI, I decided I could not use it.

Now, I know this will to get harder and harder going forward. As companies believe they can let go of people for ‘cheaper’ alternatives in the search of record profits, they will be integrating it more and more into their services.   So here is what I plan to do, which I will review as services I use are ‘upgraded’ and new ones are brought online. I will try to determine if a service is using Generative AI, and if it is, I will actively avoid using it.  

Will I always succeed?  No.  Generative AI is getting harder to detect day by day.  But if I do inadvertently use it, say as part of an ad campaign or in my cover?  I will replace it.  I included text generated by a large language model?  I’ll rewrite it.

This does not mean that I will never touch Generative AI in the future.  If I had access to a model that I knew had been trained on data that was licensed or strictly public (and no, just because it’s on a website doesn’t mean it’s public domain), I would be much more apt to use it. So once the legalities and ethics have been settled in a way that I can agree with them.

I will also be adding a statement to my books that they are not to be used for Generative AI training. Again, I may revisit that if I am approached with a licensing deal, or I’m able to train my own local version. And yes, this may be a situation where that horse is well out of the barn,