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Self-Publishing News: New AI Tools For Writers And Their Impact On The Industry

Self-Publishing News: New AI Tools for Writers and Their Impact on the Industry

ALLi News Editor, Dan Holloway

AI tools for writers are the focus of this week's self-publishing news, highlighting their potential to enable, enrich, and empower creatives. These developments bring both opportunities and concerns, as the impact of AI on the writing industry continues to evolve.

I try to keep my AI news to one slot a week, and I will attempt to do so this week as well, but good grief, where to start! Maybe let’s start by trying to discern a theme, which is actually rather simple. This week’s AI news as it relates to writers is all about tools that purport to enable, enrich, or empower in some way. What the stories all lack, as I’ve seen them reported, is any commentary on what we might call collateral. That is, while each of the tools claims, as tools are wont to do, to be doing good, there is little information on how they have been trained to do that good, whether that training might have involved things some perceive as less than good, and how the good and the not-so-good might balance out. This is a reporting, not an opinion, column, so I won’t proffer personal thoughts. I would, however, in the interests of balance, encourage you to consider these questions as you read about the three tools outlined here.

Let me start with what will probably be the least alarming of those tools. Rebind is a new platform that offers expert commentary on classic literature. That sounds more like a masterclass than a high-tech offering. Something you might find on Udemy, or Brilliant, or, er, Masterclass. The AI component comes from the fact that instead of being taught by an expert (John Banville on James Joyce is one example), you converse with a chatbotified version of that expert. Rebind records a significant (I have seen twelve hours and twenty hours cited) amount of Q&A with the real-life expert and then uses AI to allow readers to ask their own questions in their own way beyond what Rebind’s interlocutor has already asked, and receive tailored but authentic responses.

Next up is something slightly more controversial, which caught my eye (or raised my eyebrow—select the ocular metaphor of your choice) because it appears in the context of a literary prize, which implies a certain amount of not even tacit approval from the establishment. ContentShift Accelerator, which is running in conjunction with Frankfurt Book Fair, is a contest that seeks to help new start-ups in the book sector, and comes with a hefty 10,000-euro prize. One of the five finalists just announced is MyBookNetPro. This is a platform that helps writers self-publish in multiple languages by offering AI translation.

But it’s not just start-ups, with their eye for a buzzword, that have been building AI tools for writers that make you wonder how they were trained. ElevenLabs is one of the bigger players in the AI space, specializing in voices. And they have just partnered beyond an original pilot with Pocket FM to produce 100,000 hours of audio content based on text.

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Author: Dan Holloway

Dan Holloway is a novelist, poet and spoken word artist. He is the MC of the performance arts show The New Libertines, which has appeared at festivals and fringes from Manchester to Stoke Newington. In 2010 he was the winner of the 100th episode of the international spoken prose event Literary Death Match, and earlier this year he competed at the National Poetry Slam final at the Royal Albert Hall. His latest collection, The Transparency of Sutures, is available for Kindle at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Transparency-Sutures-Dan-Holloway-ebook/dp/B01A6YAA40


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