What is AI democratizing?

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I’m a bit irked here, so this thread isn’t gonna be as diplomatic as it could be, but I have to say that one of my issues with AI generated fic is exactly this: we compare its genericness to the work of actual fans who aren’t native speakers & don’t have a good grasp on English.

There is a huge difference between a human putting their time into creating something—even more so when they create something in a language they aren’t fluent in—in the attempt to communicate with other fans, vs. the genericness that comes from letting a generator do all the work.

It’s the human connection that’s missing. And obviously this is a bigger conversation, definitely bigger than what a Twitter thread can cover, also because this opens up the question of, say, people writing for fandoms they know nothing about, or people translating their works with Google Translate, and again, it’s not like everything fannish is inherently wholesome and uncriticizable. I actually think there are a lot of layers in the “connecting/conversing with other fans through fanfic” topic.

But to stick to the point, I don’t believe that there is much democracy in AI generated fics because, like... writing is already democratic. If you can write words, you can write fic. Now, writing good fic is a different topic altogether, BUT if we explicitly say that there isn’t much of a difference between generic AI fic and fic written by people who are just starting out, then what is the point? What is AI democratizing?

The premise is already faulty, in my opinion. And it is honestly a bit of a slap in the face to see the time and heart that non-native speakers, younger fans and new writers put into their fics be compared to AI fics.

And this is not an issue of quality. I 100% agree that you can’t tell the difference between a generic human written fic vs a generic AI written fic, but it’s the concept there that gives me a bit of a stomachache. Because that’s shit I’ve heard forever. This is what happens when people say that writing is so easy everyone can do it, even an AI generator. But if it is so easy, why rely on AI generators? Why not simply write?

There is humanity in people sitting down and struggling and sharing their badly written fic with the world. Less so when it comes to punching in a prompt in an AI text box.

I honestly care so little about the quality of AI written fic because my opinion wouldn’t change even if AI generators were able to write the best literature to ever exist. We have valid reasons to worry about how AI will shape fandom and how that will impact fanwriters and fancreators.

What makes art “democratic” is how easy it is to access and practice it. Some arts might be more accessible because the tools are less expensive and teachers more easily available. But that has nothing to do with the amount of work you, personally, have to put in to get better at it.

And again, finding time for practicing is already a barrier for many people. That’s an important conversation to have because it connects to actual, real life, social disparities. But that still doesn’t excuse the entitlement I see, often, when the topic of art generators comes out.