• Humans 1, AI 0

    27 October 2023

    I mentioned a while back that I'd signed my Archibald Lox series up to be adapted into AI audio books over on Apple, and was waiting to make an official announcement until they had all been released in that format. It's fair to say views on the matter were decidedly mixed -- some of you were excited by the news and more than happy to listen to an AI narrator even though there's no doubt the voice programme couldn't bring the same skills to the table as a professional human narrator, while others were horrified that I could even consider such an option and were of the opinion that all "creative" AI is bad AI and that it should never be tolerated in the creative fields, i.e. it's fine if it's a medical programme that will help save lives, but a no-no if it's putting writers, artists or voice performers out of work.


    I'm in the middle. As a writer, I'm obviously concerned about the implications that AI could have on people in my field. At the same time I can see the positives that it brings to the table -- where audio books are concerned, they're very expensive and time-consuming to produce, and sadly sales of my self-published work don't allow me to adapt my Darren Dash or Archibald Lox books to audio. (I've always separated my self-published work from my traditionally published work, and been insistent that the books have to pay for themselves.) AI offers me the chance to get around what so far has been an impassable audio barrier, and make the books available to the small number of fans who have politely but insistently been asking me for many years to release my self-published books on audio. It takes some of the power from the hands of the traditional publishing companies and puts it into the hands of writers who don't enjoy their backing, and as a small self-publisher (albeit one who has also published traditionally) I'm all in favour of that. I'm by no means anti-traditional-publishing, but I think it's good for writing in general if there's an easy route to market for the little guys too, and if they can compete on a more even playing ground with the big players.


    Anyway, regardless of the arguments (which I was readying myself to heavily engage in), it's a moot point where the Archibald Lox books are concerned, becuase the AI programme for some inexplicable reason ran into difficulties with Book 3 of the series, Archibald Lox and the Vote of Alignment. Even though it features no different words or names than any of the other books, the AI adaptive programme decided it couldn't do the book justice, and so it refused to publish it as an audio book, even though it adapted and released the other eight books in the series!!! Obviously I can't pitch an incomplete audio series to you guys, so I've asked Apple to remove the books from its audio programme (although I think they're still currently on there, for anyone who is curious).


    Humans 1 -- AI 0!!!!!


    Even though the programme has failed me once, I AM pushing ahead with having Father of the Future, my latest Darren Dash book for adults, adapted into an Apple AI audio book, assuming the programme can handle it this time. Even if I ultimately decide that AI audio books are NOT the way forward (and I do remain very open on the matter), Father of the Future is a story all about the dangers of AI in the future and what happens if our computers are given too much control over us, and I'm just tickled pink at the delirious possibility of having such a book actually narrated by a real AI of the present!!!


    Yeah, I'm pretty twisted, but hey, you guys knew that about me already, didn't you?!?



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