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AI Technology: Friend or Foe to Writers?

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It's hard to see a technology designed to replace people's need for your work as being anything but an enemy. However, it's undeniable that AI technology is here to stay. Much like the introduction of the internet, it's likely to have a major impact on our society. 

In writing groups I'm in, people are asking each other: what do you think of AI technology? Some people have used it and loved it. Some are outraged by it. Others remain in the middle, uncertain of how this technology will hit them on a day-to-day basis.

Lately, I've tried out using ChatGPT for my day job. Although it's helpful, I've discovered it's repetitive in its helpfulness. However, sometimes it helps me break down dental topics in a way that I can understand, so I can apply that knowledge to the web content I write. But even then, after a while, I don't find as much use for it.

I've only just begun to use it for creative writing. Can this thing tell a story? Well, I'm not sure. I think it can help me with descriptions. For example, I don't always think to use the five senses in writing a scene. So, I tried out AI to use all five senses to describe someone walking into a coffee shop late at night in the middle of a downtown area. Here's what it came up with:

"As you step through the door of the late night coffee shop, the sound of raindrops hitting the pavement outside fades away, replaced by the low hum of chatter and the gentle clinking of coffee cups. The warm, inviting aroma of freshly brewed coffee envelops you as you shake off the cold rain and step inside. The cozy, dimly lit space is filled with people huddled around tables, sipping coffee and engrossed in conversation. The patter of rain against the windows creates a soothing background noise as you make your way to the counter to order your drink. The barista greets you with a friendly smile, and the aroma of freshly baked pastries wafts over from the display case. As you settle into a seat by the window, you take a sip of your coffee and watch the rain continue to fall outside. It's a peaceful moment in the midst of the bustling city, and you can't help but feel grateful for this cozy refuge on a rainy night." 

Is it good? I think it's actually pretty decent. I wouldn't use it verbatim, but I like how it described the sound of the rain and the aroma of pastries. However, I'm unlikely to use this in my scene because my character isn't relaxed at all but rather troubled. But this is a good tool to use when I am writing about a setting and need to focus on making it come to life with the senses. 

So, remember, use AI writing for what it is: a tool. In fact, you may have used AI technology already without realizing it. Do you use Grammarly or ProWritingAid? I've used both of those, and they are considered AI technology. Although helpful, they certainly haven't replaced the need for an editor.

If you are a writer, you don't want to stay in the dark about what this tool does. Why? It can help you explain why you can do it better for a future client, employer, or whoever. 

Nicole Pyles is a writer living in Portland, Oregon. When she's not hunting down the right word, she's talking to God, reviewing books on her writing blog, watching movies, hanging out with family, and daydreaming. Her work has been featured in Ripley's Believe it or Not, WOW! Women on Writing, The Voices Project, Sky Island Journal, and Arlington Literary Journal. Her poetry was also featured in the anthology, Dear Leader Tales. Read her musings at WorldofMyImagination.com.

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