The Great Fiction of AI

Can artificial intelligence write novels? Josh Dzieza looks at how independent authors have begun to experiment with AI writing programs like Sudowrite and Jasper to write their stories faster. The piece explores questions around ethics and authorship, and its design is A+.

It requires a strange degree of sympathy with the machine, thinking about the way it works and how it might respond to your query. Branwen wrote that it’s a bit like trying to teach tricks to a superintelligent cat.

And it does generally seem to understand the assignment, though it sometimes takes it in unexpected directions. For instance, Lepp found that the program had a tendency to bestow her characters with swords. Despite there not really being any swords in her version of magical Florida, it would have characters unsheathing blades mid-conversation or fondling hilts as they sat on the porch.

Source: The Verge
Published: Jul 20, 2022
Length: 20 minutes (5,091 words)

Revolt of the Delivery Workers

“For Cesar and many other delivery workers, the thefts broke something loose. Some started protesting and lobbying, partnering with nonprofits and city officials to propose legislation. Cesar and the Deliveryboys took another tack, forming a civil guard reminiscent of the one that patrolled San Juan Puerto Montaña, the small, mostly Indigenous Me’phaa village where they are from.”

Source: Curbed
Published: Sep 13, 2021
Length: 29 minutes (7,479 words)

The Eighth Wonder of the World*

“In exchange for billions in tax subsidies, Foxconn was supposed to build an enormous LCD factory in the tiny village of Mount Pleasant, creating 13,000 jobs.” The Verge investigates the empty promises (and empty buildings) of “Wisconn Valley.”

Source: The Verge
Published: Oct 19, 2020
Length: 39 minutes (9,970 words)

Road Tripping With the Amazon Nomads

Capitalism is one strange beast.

Source: The Verge
Published: Jul 10, 2019
Length: 13 minutes (3,460 words)

Prime and Punishment

Lucrative placements within coveted search ranks on Amazon’s Marketplace are incentivizing sellers to do whatever it takes to undercut each other — not by competing on price or quality, but by creatively sabotaging the listing above theirs. Bad actors plant obviously fraudulent five-star reviews on popular listings to trigger penalties, or set rivals’ products on fire to frame them as explosive, or reclassify mundane products into irrelevant categories like “sex toys.” Once sellers find themselves trapped in Amazon’s Byzantine court of appeals after a surprise suspension, guilt is often the only acceptable plea — and sometimes the only person left to contact is the richest man in the world.

Source: The Verge
Published: Dec 19, 2018
Length: 26 minutes (6,612 words)

Website, Profiled

The Awl finally gets the profile it has long deserved. How the independent, bootstrapped publication has remained one of the most influential sites for editors and writers since 2009. “By staying aloof from the content cycle, they’ve succeeded in creating a series of publications with coherent identities and distinct sensibilities. Those traits can be hard to maintain today, when stories are encountered alone and out of context on social platforms, and when there are huge incentives for covering viral stories that lie outside of a publication’s wheelhouse.”

Source: The Verge
Published: Jul 9, 2015
Length: 18 minutes (4,677 words)