Don’t Fall into the AI Trap – AI Generated Content is a Tool, Not a Crutch

Not everyone who has a story worth sharing with the world has the writing skills to make that dream a reality. That’s why many are turning to AI content generating programs like ChatGPT to get their stories down on paper.

But is AI generated content really the perfect solution it seems to be? Since its inception, there has been much debate over whether AI is stealing content from other creators, if it’s capable of making mistakes, if the content should be eligible for copyright, and if it’s unethical to publish AI content.

Below, we’ll explore these questions and more so that you can decide whether using AI might still be a good tool to supplement your work, or if hiring a ghostwriter is a better option.

How Does AI Generate Content?

While it can seem as if AI programs like ChatGPT process information and return it back to you as if they’re thinking on their own, this isn’t the case. AI language models basically predict dialogue and text based on the examples in the database available to . 

When you ask the program a question, it delves into this database to find books, articles, and other written text that most closely fit your prompt. Using these materials as a guide, the program picks out patterns that the text shares to generate a common response, predicting word by word. 

By this formula, AI language models are really just advanced search engines that create a somewhat customized or unique response to your question or prompt.  

Therefore, AI does not “think,” like a human. It doesn’t actually understand what is being asked of it, or even what information it is returning back to you. The reason it may appear to remember conversations and stay consistent is because the AI references your interactions with it before other materials. 

AI Accuracy and Why You’ll Still Need an Editor

AI language models are only as accurate as the information available to them, which was gathered by humans capable of making mistakes. That means the responses that AI generates aren’t always accurate or pulling from the most relevant/recent information.

While much of the resources available to these models includes peer-reviewed scientific or academic journals, they won’t always agree with one another, which could cause the AI to give you contradictory information. And, if the program doesn’t have access to more recent articles, the information could be outdated.

The original purpose of language models was simply to sound human in conversation. Outside of the parameters of its database, AI has no way to fact-check what it’s saying. It essentially takes what it has available and repackages it for your use.

Behind the scenes, the developers may be able to limit the incorrect or outdated information being fed into the AI, but the database still needs to have a large enough pool of references for AI to draw from.

However, many AI models have recently been given access to much of the web. This means that the information isn’t vetted by the developers beforehand and can possibly lead to more frequent errors.

This is why we always recommend hiring an editor/proofreader to fact-check your content, even if it is AI generated and sounds accurate.

Does AI Steal Content from Authors?

Whether AI steals content from authors is a subject of debate. Recently, artists, photographers, and authors have protested the unregulated use of AI language models. Their claim is that using human-made work to train AI is stealing content and crosses the boundaries of copyright.

It’s also true that the ease of AI generated content has already put some talented creatives out of work that’s already hard to come by.

AI language programs do predict text using information and creative works that humans have gathered and posted online. This means that it doesn’t generate anything unique out of thin air by itself.

You may even find certain sentences or phrases pulled directly from the source material. It won’t usually be enough to tip off a plagiarism detector, but it’s enough that people have been able to develop programs that detect AI involvement.

While the content is usually reworded and combined with different sources, AI has no creative contributions to add, since it doesn’t have the ability to “create,” more than rearrange what already exists.

It has been argued that this is what human brains do when they create—borrowing from books they’ve read and movies they’ve seen. However, the difference lies in how different the product is from the sources, and how much the creator contributed their own perspective and creativity to it.

AI and Copyright

Now, here’s the tricky part. Can you copyright AI generated content? And who holds those rights—the developer or the prompter? Well, the truth is that the lawmakers haven’t gotten that far yet.  

But as AI generated content continues to become more advanced—and more convincing—everyone’s waiting for the other shoe to drop and restrictions to come into play. 

U.S. copyright law states that “original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression” are eligible for copyright. But a further addendum clarifies: “human authorship is a bedrock requirement for copyright.”  

So, while the work that these programs reference is copyrighted material, this addendum would say that the content generated by the AI is not. If you prompt a language model to deliver content based off a source you provide that was written by someone else, you can actually be sued on the grounds of copyright infringement if the resulting text is similar. 

However, if you simply use the content AI generates as a launchpad for your own creative work and alter it enough that it becomes more original to you, your claim to copyright is stronger and may even pass future scrutinization.  

Interestingly, even if you provide AI with your own original ideas for characters, a plot, etc., the content AI generates based off it may still not technically qualify for copyright. However, if you edit it further using your own creativity, your claim to copyright will be stronger. 

Publishing and AI Content

As of now, there are no laws prohibiting you from publishing or profiting off AI content, but as the language models only become more advanced, we could be seeing new restrictions come into play very soon.  

This is another reason we recommend always altering and editing your AI generated content to make it more your own and tracking all these changes as proof of your creative contributions. This will help you avoid copyright issues in the future. 

However, while there are already AI generated self-published stories out there, many traditional publishers are refusing to take on AI generated content and using programs to detect when AI may have been used.  

This is not only because the quality of AI stories is in question, but also because readers are wary of reading AI content, there are ethical complications about stolen content and putting authors out of work, and there may be copyright issues with AI in the future.  

Not to mention, publishers want to take on authors who they believe are truly talented and putting in the effort to succeed. 

How to Use AI as a Tool

AI is meant to be used as a tool to supplement your own work, not to do all the work for you.  

It does well with smaller tasks. When you have a lot on your plate and can’t think of how to word something correctly, AI can be a useful tool to help you draft an email, craft a sales pitch, or write a small speech for an event.  

Text you don’t plan on publishing won’t require as much rewriting or rewording, though you’ll still want a proofreader or editor to make sure it is readable and error-free. 

For larger projects, AI can still be useful, but we recommend using it for creating a framework for your writing. Think of it like an outline or a draft—the program can offer some direction and a launchpad for your story, but the real magic happens when you flesh out the plot, characters, and details using your own skill, or by hiring an experienced ghostwriter. 

Some authors have tried prompting AI to write larger projects for them, but these stories tend to fall apart quickly. Not only are AI generated stories flat and unoriginal in terms of description and writing style, but there is also something fundamentally human missing at their core.  

Plot lines tend to be borrowed from several different sources as well, making AI content disjointed over time and resulting in a narrative that’s confusing and full of plot holes. 

We don’t discourage the use of AI when you need a boost, but think of it as your assistant, not as a hired writer producing perfect content. AI language models like ChatGPT also come with a learning curve; you’ll still have to go through some trial and error to get the results you’re looking for. 

Why You Should Consider Hiring a Ghostwriter

Now that you understand how AI chat models work, you’re probably wondering whether it’s worth it just to hire a ghostwriter instead. Well, it depends on what kind of work you’re trying to create. 

Like we mentioned before, AI works well for small projects that just need a quick edit or that you’re not hoping to publish. It’s a convenient way to get another task out of the way for work, like a company email or an introduction to a presentation. 

However, if you have a story burning inside you and you’re looking for the best way to get it out of your mind and into print form, we don’t suggest using AI. In this case, you’ll want accuracy, detailed descriptions that elicit the correct tone, a plot that’s well-organized and easy to follow, and a writing style that keeps readers hooked. This means hiring a ghostwriter. 

Besides ending up with a better story in general, a ghostwriter will know how to appeal to your specific audience.  

It’s also easier to collaborate on changes with a ghostwriter than with AI, as AI generally has to rewrite the entire project to correct mistakes, which means changing everything else in the process, unless you’re the one doing the rewrites. It also may not understand your prompt, which can mean prompting rewrite after rewrite. 

For more information on hiring someone to ghostwrite your book, reach out to us today for a consultation and price estimate. Here at Silly Goat Media, we want to equip you with all the resources you need for success and deliver a book you’ll be proud to have your name on. 

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