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Self-Publishing News: Autobiography By AI Launched And Oxford University Study Reveals Writers Conflicted About AI

Self-Publishing News: Autobiography by AI Launched and Oxford University Study Reveals Writers Conflicted About AI

ALLi News Editor, Dan Holloway

One of the interesting things about the recent Society of Authors survey on AI was that it captured the complexity and what I might call practical ambivalence we have toward this growing technology as a group. By complexity, I mean that AI is not just one thing. Generative AI, such as large platforms like ChatGPT and Midjourney, is only one part of a picture that includes grammar checks, metadata optimization, and even tools to help write an autobiography. By practical ambivalence, I mean that while many of us are very worried and actively critical about some parts of the technology (especially generative AI), we nonetheless use many other parts. Even some of us use the parts we also criticize.

A new survey from my home institution of Oxford University last week confirmed these complexities and ambivalences. I am used to seeing insights about AI from Oxford. Most days when I get to work, they’re there on the home page. I will shortly be sharing a building with the Ethics of AI Institute. What makes this so interesting is that it is a study, like that of the Society of Authors, of both thoughts about and the use of AI.

The survey of over 2,000 researchers found deep mistrust of AI and AI platforms. Concerns focused on privacy, content, and intellectual property. Interestingly, a quarter of participants expressed concern that the prevalence of AI would lead to diminished critical thinking. This is a concern we don’t hear much about, but one that should give pause for thought.

On the other hand, more than a quarter thought that AI would revolutionize research for the better, and three-quarters already used AI tools, with translation and chatbots being the most used.

This feels like the perfect story to append with the announcement of a new platform that will have many writers screaming into the void while others whisper into their smartphones as they use it. Autobiography is a catchily but functionally named platform that uses AI to do… can you guess what? If your answer is “brew the perfect personalized cappuccino,” then better luck next time but hold that thought! Apparently, if you chat with the platform about the most significant episodes and anecdotes of your life, Autobiography will turn them into polished prose ready for publication.

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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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