AI and the reader experience applies especially to memoir writing, will it ever replace human created books?

“AI is computation; best guesses based on statistics. It is work; joules of energy dissipated through the movement of information. Despite the flashy new veneer, AI is not a revolution in communication but in productivity. It’s not the printing press or telegraph, it’s the assembly line, the jet engine, technologies that produce work rather than transfer information. And for knowledge workers, the latest developments in AI represent a new paradigm for work.” 

Konstantine Buhler

If AI is not a “revolution in communication,” then, logically, nor is it a revolution in creativity. At the moment. Welcome to the disclaimer around virtually every conversation now around artificial intelligence, large language models like ChatGPT and Bard, and machine learning.

AI is also not, at this point in its evolution, a replacement for the human experience. Going with the theory that it is merely a productivity tool – how could it be? My clients, giddy over the enthusiastic and sustained response to their books, routinely share with me “fan mail” from their readers. Memoirs (or the memoir element included in another genre of book) in particular, trigger deeper layers of visceral response understanding of the human experience. Hence my passion for memoir.

Some of the responses, to my own memoir and my clients’ books, are remarkable, in their enthusiasm, passion, and because of the insights they share as a result of reading. This is why I’ve recently started referring to these reader outcomes as “shifts” – the tectonic emotional shifts that happen from reading a book. More specifically, the shifts caused from reading a thoughtfully designed, well-written book produced from the soul of a human, intentionally designed to create such an impact. 

Like a meteor leaving a dent in the earth’s surface, the area of impact will never again be the same.

AI and The Reader Experience

Reading these responses, reader emails, and book reviews, I wonder if there will ever be a tipping point in the future where a machine generated work will trigger such emotional meteors. It’s hard to imagine that now, but the history of technology is full of things we failed to imagine until they were upon us. The ability to create the level of emotional and psychological shift that a great, human-made book creates, would be a game changer. 

But what if machines fail to create that shift? Will would-be-authors, undeterred, continue using machines to crank out “books” that attempt to imitate the emotional tapestry created by human authors? Will readers know the difference? Will they instinctively know that something is missing? Or will they become so conditioned by plastic replicas of the full human experience, that they will become, on some level, less human as a result?  

What do you want your voice to land in that mix of past and future technologies, tools, and legacies made? What will you contribute to the conversation? Socrates famously ranted about all that would be lost from the art of the spoken word, when it was replaced by the printed word. Did we indeed lose many things in translation or were those things simply translated into a new medium of communication? Or will we ever know? 

Related Articles:

Why Write a Memoir? 

Are You Ready to Write Your Memoir?

4 Memoir Writing Prompts


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