Stephen Hawking's Fear Is Coming True

Do you remember when Stephen Hawking, who passed away in 2018, was asked what he thought was the biggest threat facing mankind? His answer, “Artificial Intelligence.”

In the last two weeks, I’ve been in on several email discussions about the effect of Artificial Intelligence on the Creative Arts like writing, graphic design, photography, and audio book narration just to name a few of the areas impacted by AI.

What do you think about the impact of Artificial Intelligence on the world? Is it a boon to mankind or the first step toward Skynet destroying the world?

As an author, I know that AI has already become a problem. When AI came online and people started uploading dozens of books each day—obviously created by AI because it’s impossible for a human to write that many books and be ready to upload them—it took Amazon months before they set a limit on how many books could be uploaded in a day. 

Then it took more months before they enacted a “filter” on the Kindle Digital Publishing upload page. Now you have to check a box if any part of the upload was created using AI. However, there’s no way to verify the answer is truthful.

That may be in the process of being changed because I’ve heard that some publishers are running uploaded content through software that will assess whether it was human-created or machine-created. That has created fear among authors that their human-created content may be labeled AI-produced, and they will end up banned by the publisher.


Nothing is ever easy in the writing and publishing world. It seems there are always new problems facing us. Graphic artists, photographers, and actors are having the same AI issues.

Companies like Apple are urging authors to create audio books for Findaway Voices with the author paying for narration by an actor. When you upload the completed audio book, they'll distribute the audio books through Spotify.

Sounds good until  you read their Terms of Service. They plan to take the file you upload and use it for machine learning, i.e., Artificial Intelligence. Eventually, they won't need humans to read audio books. That unemployment line of creative artists will continue to grow.


Amazon is now testing the waters of AI narration of audio books. I guess there’s no end to the threats facing creative artists. We may become as extinct as the Passenger Pigeon. 

What’s the answer? I don’t know. I’m just a working writer. Maybe we should all engage in a massive letter/email writing campaign telling Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and all the other publishers that we don’t want machines writing our movies, books, and music. 

We don’t want “fake” people cast in movies. Yes, that’s out there too. I’ve seen videos of people interacting with other people, and it looks real. But it was all AI created. Actor Keanu Reeves has taken a stand with his contracts and has a clause that says basically AI-generated “actors” won’t be allowed.

With AI generated people in videos so realistic, how can you trust what you may see on YouTube? You could see a video of someone famous assaulting another person, or a politician taking a bribe, and it might be an AI fake. It's scary.


What are we going to do when we can’t trust what you see?

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