Will Artificial Intelligence Replace Authors?

What is AI—Artificial Intelligence?

We’ve been reading about AI in the news lately, but what is it? In simple terms, Artificial Intelligence is a branch of computer science that simulates human intelligence by performing functions such as reasoning, problem-solving, learning, and decision-making. The “intelligence” is based on algorithms with certain sets of rules. All this must be fed into the system by humans, of course, but once there, these machines get better and better at their tasks without further external interference. The question is, how far can they go?

We Use AI Now Without Realizing It

The autocorrect and suggested responses that feature on our smartphones and computers are products of AI. So are the targeted ads that pop up when we visit shopping portals. It knows what we want. A couple of years ago while researching a book, I searched for the retail prices of large diamonds (really large). I’m still getting hopeful ads.

Right now, high school and college students are using AI to complete assignments. Bloggers use AI to create content. Journalists use AI to write routine news articles, reducing (they say) bias and allowing them to focus on in-depth articles. AI has the ability to spot trends, analyze data, and eliminate factual errors. So here’s my question:

Will AI Ever Replace Authors? Will AI Write Novels?

Have you heard about ChatGPT? Created by Open AI, an AI and research company,ChatGPT is a “natural language processing tool driven by AI technology that can assist in tasks such as composing emails, essays, and computer coding.” Currently it’s open to the public, free of charge, because ChatGPT is in the research and feedback-collection phase. Why does that make me nervous?

Yesterday my son John asked ChatGPT to write a short mystery set in Scotland in the style of Connie Berry. Here’s the story:


The small Scottish town of St. Andrews was in shock as news of the murder of local businessman, Alexander MacKenzie, spread like wildfire. MacKenzie had been found dead in his office, bludgeoned to death with a golf club, one of his own from his golf course.

Detective Inspector Lorna Smith was called in to investigate the case. As she began to gather evidence and interview suspects, it became clear that MacKenzie was not well-liked in the community. He had a reputation for being ruthless in business and had made many enemies.

One suspect was MacKenzie’s business partner, Douglas Robertson. The two men had been in a bitter dispute over the ownership of their golf course, and Robertson had a history of violent outbursts. But when Smith questioned him, Robertson had an alibi – he had been playing golf at a different course at the time of the murder.

Another suspect was MacKenzie’s mistress, Isabelle Campbell. She had been having an affair with MacKenzie for several months, but their relationship had become strained in recent weeks. But when Smith checked her alibi, Isabelle was at her Yoga class at the time of the murder.

As Smith delved deeper into the case, she began to suspect that the real killer was someone who had a hidden motive for wanting MacKenzie dead. She started to investigate MacKenzie’s past and found out that he had been involved in a land-grabbing scheme, forcibly buying properties from the residents of the town.

Finally, Smith received a tip-off that led her to the killer – MacKenzie’s neighbor, John Ferguson. He had been one of the residents whose property was taken by MacKenzie and had held a grudge against him for years. In a fit of rage, he had killed MacKenzie.

In the end, justice was served and the killer was brought to trial. But the residents of St. Andrews would never forget the shocking murder of their powerful businessman, and the truth behind his actions that led to his demise.

Will AI ever win an Agatha or an Edgar?

Clearly, not yet.

What do you think? Will AI one day take over our world, create its own belief system, and make us all slaves? Or does machine self-awareness exist only in dystopian fiction?


  1. Connie, so funny that we blogged on the same subject today (Chicks on the Case). The AI bot that scribed the cozy and noir plots I requested starring a chicken detective did not rise to *quite* this level. But clearly, there is no way to imitate the one-and-only Connie Berry!

  2. Connie, you stole my next blog! I was going to blog about this too. I’m not thrilled about chatGPT, but there is no putting that cat back in the bag. Mostly, what I think will happen within the year is that certain publishers will use editors to edit a novel written by chat GPT to prompts and ‘in the style of’. Rather than wait six months to a year for a human to write a Regency romance in the style of Jane Austen, they will get a rough draft in five minutes, hand it over to an editor, and have it ready to publish in weeks.

    Authors are being quite public about using it to help them write outlines. I asked it to help me title my next novel, with pretty funny results. The silliest? Anarchy in the Big Apple. Still giggling about that one.

    But, you know… hold on to your hats. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

  3. We, being my fellow librarians and myself, were just discussing ChatGPT in our staff meeting this morning. As librarians, we’re more concerned about the potential for ChatGPT or other AI writers to spread mis/disinformation.

  4. I have to say this scares the pants off me! Very interesting, Connie. What a way to indoctrinate people, spread misinformation, and reduce literature to synopsis-type stories…AI has its uses but I’m not a fan of it for this!

  5. As an English professor, I’m concerned that students will use it and not do the critical thinking. But if we simply ban it, that just means some will use it to cheat. My department has been having active discussions and trying to come up with creative approaches to engaging with it.

    1. Well, good luck, Catherine. I’d love to know what you come up with. I do remember those long-ago days when just about everyone wrote reports by paraphrasing the encyclopedia. As if the teachers didn’t know. I share your concern about critical thinking. If we don’t teach that, we’re in real trouble as a society.

  6. I’m a techie from way back, but even I get creeped out by this. I always said that the best technology helped people do their work faster, but I never considered art to be work. And have you heard about Apple Books push to use ai voices as narrators for audio books? The results are eerie. The big drawback right now is they can only do one voice, so it’s not like a real audiobook performance. But give it time…

  7. I was working on a lecture yesterday and trying to remember a plot point from Jane Eyre, and thought I’d google it, and all I got were recommendations from study aide places telling me there was no need to stress. They would write the report for me. I can’t figure out how students are ever going to learn anything. Or teachers.

    1. Well, good luck, Catherine. I’d love to know what you come up with. I do remember those long-ago days when just about everyone wrote reports by paraphrasing the encyclopedia. As if the teachers didn’t know. I share your concern about critical thinking. If we don’t teach that, we’re in real trouble as a society.

    2. I’m struggling with AI right now as I attempt to respond to you, Susan. The issue isn’t only learning but also teaching. Some people (like you) have that gift. A computer can relay information. A person can inspire a student to want to learn.

  8. They are not even close. It was like an outline, no depth, no character development. It was like reading an outline. No creativity because a machine can’t create, only follow directions. And by the way, autocorrect drives a lot of people I know crazy because it is often wrong

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *