ChatGPT isn’t Keats & won’t reinvent the sonnet like Terrance Hayes…and that’s fine

by Rashmee

Posted on January 11, 2023



Speaking of AI’s obvious intelligence (artificial or not), there is growing debate about what this might mean for a lengthening list of occupations (including moi, your humble blogger, journalist and writer).

Apple recently acknowledged the import of AI’s obvious prowess – at sonnets, Shakespearean language, rap etc – when it added audiobook narration to its offerings. Its Books app can now throw up a catalogue of works that are described as being “narrated by digital voice based on a human narrator”.

So, if you’re a professional voice actor, you’re set to join graphic designers and limerick writers on the outer fringes of occupational certainty because algorithms can easily and cheaply replace humans without too great a loss of quality. In fact, some say an algorithm provides improved quality because it remains the same – always. Its inability (or so we humans think), to experience artistic highs and lows means its creations have an even tone. As was clear from my limited experiments with ChatGPT’s sonnet and rap, the renderings did not rise to the heights of a Keats, Shelley or Christina Rossetti. ChatGPT will probably never be a Terrance Hayes, reinvigorating the classic form of poetry to write American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin. But it will versify in tolerable fashion. In terms of rap, ChatGPT  may never be an Eminem or a Jay-Z but it will probably always be good enough.

That presents a massive problem. The business of content cares about the balance sheet and dang, AI is just so much cheaper than creative human beings.

So the issue of gainful employment looms large, as robots take charge. But be assured, there is a viable strategy, one you might be surprised to hear about. We’ll discuss that next.

Also read:

‘Write a blog about the status of ChatGPT’

An AI breakthrough that may mean curtains for poets, journalists…and me


Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, US and UK

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