I’ve used ChatGPT and MidJourney almost every day so you didn’t have to. I wanted to find out if they will replace creativity… or amplify it.
For me as the LegendFiction founder… the answer in. So here’s my take on it all.
Our community is made up of artists: writing and illustrative artists. Naturally, AI tools are concerning, if not flat out divisive. So I started testing, using, and examining these tools while they exploded, and now that the dust is settling.
But first, some context.
Context or Concerns with AI?
In the last twelve months, generative AI tools have transformed, terrified, and thrilled the creative landscape. And the business landscape. And medical. And real estate. And everything. Ridiculous things have happened, like students submitting essays generated by ChatGPT, or AI art ‘winning’ painting contests, artists being ‘robbed’ of their creative style, companies laying off workforces to replace them with tools.
Seriously though, these are ridiculous situations. Some of them are serious, and some are ridiculous.
Since the foundation of any system ever, people have found ways to game it. To reduce effort and improve output. These headlines point to more than the ‘danger’ of these tools. They’re shining a light on deeper problems with work culture, or the commodification of creativity.
Chew on that. The commodification of creativity.
Are you really an artist if you’re doing work for hire? Doesn’t that technically run against the deep truth of art as a sacred calling?
Hey, I’m not dissing work for hire. I’m a marketer and graphic designer by day and by night. But let’s be honest about how truly valuable that kind of work really is.
But hey, even artists are petitioning Congress to be included in the development of regulations for AI tools and generative artartists are petitioning Congress to be included in the development of regulations for AI tools and generative art. They not only like it, but see how it creates new opportunities. The response is not book burning, but book learning.
Origins and outcomes
If you’ve followed any of the drama and legalese surrounding it AI, you’ll know it suffers from both ethical and unethical beginnings, depending on the organization. (So does every country, and most brands we use daily.)
We’ve also seen the ludicrous articles and YouTube tutorials promising you that ChatGPT and similar tools can write whole novels without you really trying, and do it in the style of your favorite authors! Seriously… people. It’s all such clickbait. Spend 2 minutes with AI-generated content, and you can tell how wrote and soulless it is – before a human steps in to polish it up.
Complete novels are as much a reality and a joke as the pulp fiction stands stuffed with cheap novels no one wants to read, because they’re not actually valuable – and everyone knows it. That’s why they’re ignored.
We’re also using generative tools to help us create brilliant art, like what you see all over our website.
Naturally, this has some of our own community artists unnerved. We see you, legends.
But at the same time, not really. These artists have continued to create for each other right alongside all the generative tools. And the process of getting real, talented art never fails to delight. Ever.
AI art will never replace real artists. It become another tool in our kits, the same way Photoshop, Microsoft Paint, and computers are. None of these tools stopped artists from creating. In fact, they created more. Here’s what these tools consistently do: they highlight the actual value of real, human-generated art.
The problem with generative AI tools is not that people are using them. It’s that anything that can be outsourced to a factory worker, will. Anything that can be mechanized, will. And any ‘creative’ thing that an artist or writer does that doesn’t truly come from a creative place, will be done faster by an AI.
So we need to take a really serious look at our own creativity, and ask ourselves: how much of what I’m really doing is actually creative? Or am I a biological AI that’s merely remixing things that I like?
Abuse vs Use?
I’m following the meteoric rise of AI tools every single day. I have a sense of what’s being released all the time, and how it helps people.
There has been a pretty terrible, inhumane response to the cry from real artists and creators. But, like with any new tool, it gets wielded well and badly at first, and then policing sets in. That’s what’s happening now.
And then when the hubbub dies down, when the Luddites get tired, the first-adopters move on, the trolls find fresh meat… then will the mainstream of culture and work will understand how these tools help eliminate the millions of grey, wasted hours that we humans spend on mind-numbing, ridiculous labor.
The kind of labor that kills creativity.
That’s why I’m not afraid of these tools. They amplify art. They speed up creativity. They improve how we work.
Anyone convinced they will replace us just hasn’t spent enough time really working with them, daily, and integrating them into their tool kit.
Assisted by both ChatGPT as a brainstorming partner, and MidJourney as a visual aide, I’ve never been so committed to stay focused for two whole months and actually write (almost a complete) novel, around 70K+ words. For me, running three businesses with a ton of medical debt and a busy family and ADHD, that’s amazing.
Tools as Sidekicks
These tools aren’t here to steal your spotlight; they’re here to be your sidekicks, your trusty co-pilots in the writing adventure.
These tools can be mind-blowingly helpful – saving you thousands of dollars on developmental editors and proofreaders – to get your draft into the best shape possible.
Face it: demand is outstripping supply. There are more writers today than there were 10 years ago. And editors can’t keep up. Not all the writers can afford them though – and that’s just economic truth. Many creators are stuck, and these tools can give them an edge to hone their craft and stand out to publishers, editors, and the general public.
That’s why we added AI tools on our website, to help authors brainstorm, chat, and play around with their creativity.
Don’t worry: these tools are terrible for actually writing anything serious. Your readers will know.
And if anyone does try to cheat their way through? They might have short term wins. But remember… everything online is tracked forever. All it takes is one new AI to run a search of generated outputs, and we’ll find the ‘novel’ that some creator protested was handwritten.
You can’t lie any more. You can’t even deepfake it forever.
And let’s be real. We’ve been using AI assisted software and generative tools for almost decades. Every platform’s algorithm is built on machine learning. It was just released to the general public a year ago. We’ve already built lives and careers and creativity around it. We just didn’t know it as clearly.
Generative tools, as nifty as they are, have their limits. They’re not the holy grail of writing. There’s always that pesky issue of potential plagiarism if you rely on them too heavily. And remember, they can get close, but never actually replicate your unique voice and originality.
Plus, no AI can replace that gut feeling you get when you know your story’s just right. They don’t understand the heart and soul of your tale, only you do.
I don’t believe real creators aren’t worried about that. Nothing can replace your voice. Maybe it will get drowned out in the short term, a single real voice overwhelmed by a glut of fake voices. But hold the line. Keep creating. And the fake stuff will get downvoted and algorithmed out, because audiences remember the magic of real human communion and actual creativity.
Why do you think people spend millions on real art, and hate the cheap airport junk?
AI is here to stay, for better or worse.
I believe it’s for the better. And I seriously think that serious creatives will learn how to wield it. People will not be replaced by AI. They will be replaced by other people using AI.
In the same way that farmers panicked about the cart instead of the backpack, or the train instead of the motor car, or the airplane instead of boats, photography instead of painting, and Word documents over journals, each of these things have done something new.
They changed the landscape because they amplified effect. They made things faster, cheaper, and easier.
Which means more people can use it. More of the average person can unlock their own inner creativity, no matter what job or education they have.
To me, that’s the most important and exciting thing.
Everyone has a right to work, but I doubt that anyone has a cast-iron right to the work they’re doing right now. Humans always adapt. That’s in our DNA. It’s how we exist.
So go ahead and disagree, and sound off in the comments. I’m sure I’ve missed things that are important to you.
But this is why LegendFiction is finding the creative, careful way through these tools, and finding out the best and most exciting way to use them.
Because that’s our mission: to do everything possible with ludicrous epicness. And that includes AI.
And dragons. Because.
PS: Yes, I used AI to help me generate an outline for this article, to get my creative thoughts flowing. And then ended up dumping it all to write what I wanted. ChatGPT is brilliant for getting things started.