The Business Of Writing Is Changing
Some Thoughts On Artificial Intelligence
The dual strikes seem to have no end in sight, though rumors of back channel discussions continue. Until our negotiating committee informs me of any news, rumors are just static. In the meantime, the overwhelming majority of Americans support the striking guilds.
As a writer, I’m a collaborator in a bunch of small businesses. Each comic book is its own enterprise, and everyone is rightly concerned about the impacts of artificial intelligence.
The danger for us all is that in the hands of the studios it will be a plagiarism machine. It might be a while before A.I. is making you laugh or breaking your heart with its writing but our worry is the studios iterate on scripts and then slide it across to a WGA member to “human it up”. It’s a real and existential threat and would certainly cull the humans in the guild until perhaps it financially can’t exist anymore. I love my guild. This strike is not about today it’s about protecting tomorrow. Actors are most at risk from A.I. for obvious reasons and that’s why AFTRA-SAG has raised their banners.
It’s not all doom and gloom however. A.I. will be an important tool in the hands of artists. I’ve already used it to un-fuck photos I botched. Like this one of Josh Cassara from the first Hellfire Gala at San Diego Comic-Con 2023.
I’m going to guess that A.I. will help ease the problems that VFX artists are suffering. They’re having great success unionizing after carrying Hollywood around like a wounded war buddy for years now. I don’t think VFX jobs are going to be lost, I hope VFX jobs become easier.
I think it’s inevitable that A.I. will come for jobs, and not necessarily the ones that we think of as creative jobs. Before that happens we better have a plan for universal basic income, or the country will be New Detroit before we know it.
The US copyright office is currently not granting copyrights to material generated by A.I. and that’s the right decision. (More on that in a moment)
This week Scott Koblish and I are printing the physical collection of The Giant Kokjü which was serialized first on Substack. Take a look at the last line of our updated indicia before the printing details:
If you are making art, I ask you to consider the reserving the same right for yourself. Do not consent to training generative A.I. with your collaborations. If a company that outright owns its own material wishes to train an A.I. on the stories and art it owns, that is their prerogative. If someone wants to buy your story from you and the right to train their A.I. on your creation, then…
…what’s your story worth?
I don’t think writers and artists are asking that question, and we should.
For the next two months the United States Copyright Office is asking for public comment on A.I. for the purpose of how to craft rules governing it moving forward.
I implore all writers and creatives to comment here.
I can assure you, the overly large companies that should be broken up will be commenting and they’ll be commenting with political donations.
More this week. I’m proofing letters from Joe Sabino on the Paladin Of Axes. You should be reading chapter one as soon as I get his notes back.
PS - Timing/Luck is on for on sale here while supplies last.