A Hot Take On AI & Fiction

by Shelt Garner

One thing about the rise of AI and its impact on the arts is there is going to come a point where we’re going to know who who creates for the sake of creation and who doesn’t. It definitely SEEMS as though no part of the creative arts will be spared from the transformative power of AI.

As such, I think as early as 18 months from now, the first popular AI movies, songs, TV shows and…gulp…novels…will begin to appear. It could be even sooner, the way things are going. So, just as I’m in the middle of the querying process, it could be that the whole endeavor will be mooted by AI. And that doesn’t even begin to address the issue of how the fucking Fourth Turning might be happening at just about the same time.

Sometimes, you just can’t win.

I say all of this because I think a lot of creative people are deluding themselves when they think they can’t avoid the implications of AI by removing all their writing from Google Docs, or whatever. AI is careening towards us at an astonishing speed and we all have to manage our expectations. Either you feel compelled to create — despite the dangers of AI — or you don’t.

If you stop creating because of some abstract fear of AI, I believe you maybe weren’t all that creative in the first place.

Could Elon Musk Pull ‘X’ Off?

by Shelt Garner

Now that Elon Musk has changed Twitter’s name, I can begin to imagine a scenario whereby he might manage to turn “X” into the “everything app.” He has vision, if nothing else.

But there is a huge obstacle to this particular situation — AI.

All this talk of turning X into the “everything app” seems very 2012, very passe. The AI era is careening towards us at an alarming rate and I would suggest that by late 2024 the effects of AI will start to be seen in the economy. All this talk of social media will be rather moot.

There was a moment in time when if Musk was doing what he’s doing now with Twitter / X that it really could put a “dent in the universe” but, lulz, I have my doubts now. In fact, if Musk really wants to do something interesting with X, I would propose he made an AI prompt native to the service. Now THAT would be a way to propel X to next-level status.

It definitely will be interesting to see how things play out. It’s at least possible that there really is a -very narrow – window of opportunity for Musk to transform Twitter / X into an “everything app.”

I still have my doubts, however.

A.I. Is Probably Going To ‘Moneyball’ Traditional Hollywood Within 18 Months

by Shelt Garner

Given the advancements in MidJourney, I just don’t see how human Hollywood escapes being “Moneyballed” by A.I. and the suits within about 18 months. That’s why I think — barring something I can’t predict — the Hollywood strikes currently happening are going to linger far, far longer than any of us are prepared to game out.

All the suits have to do is just sit things out for about 18 months and they endup on top with all of human Hollywood — other than them — being moot. Hollywood will be transformed into suits and programmers.

And that will be just the beginning. Soon enough, you’ll flop down in front of your TV and it will scan your face to produce a TV show or a movie specifically designed for your mood at that particular moment. There will be no mass media at all. No shared reality. No water cooler discussion of the latest binge worthy TV show.

We’ll all have “personal media” tailored to our specific desires at a specific moment. And, if it’s a “Her” like future, it may all be something of a black box. We humans will have no clue as to how it all works.

I’m all for the union’s of Hollywood fighting The Man, but I fear that, in the end, the transformation will be too sudden, too swift for them to do anything about it in real terms.

The humans who actually produce movies in Hollywood at the moment are fucked. And I say this as someone who is trying to write a novel. It could be that soon enough, even novels are all written by A.I.

I dunno. It’s all going to be interesting to see how things unfold.

The Misogyny Directed Against Phoebe Waller-Bridge For Her Role In ‘Dial of Destiny’ is Shocking

by Shelt Garner

I found Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s role in Dial of Destiny to be one that established her as a Hollywood star. And, yet, from the way some commenters talk, you would think that not only did she suck, but that she took over the movie in a “woke” attempt to hand the Indy franchise over to her.

Now, here’s the context — there was a massive amount of bonkers chatter on YouTube that the time travel element of the movie was originially meant to be a way to turn Waller-Bridge into Indiana Jones by erasing Harrison Ford’s version from time altogether. They really got themselves worked out into an anti-woke Hollywood lather about this possibility.

And…then…it didn’t happen.

They claimed “victory” over the evil forces of Woke Hollywood, but I have my doubts. While I understand the fears — that definitely does sound like something Kathleen Kennedy would do to Indiana Jones — I just am not prepared to believe that was ever seriously considered, much less shot.

But, who knows.

The key thing to remember is I think, ultimately, the issue of who to turn the Indy franchise over to will be mooted because of technology. Soon enough, our digital assistant will scan our face, determine our mood and give us a very specific Indy movie that is completely different anything anyone else is watching at that particular moment.

It seems a foregone conclusion at this point.

I do wish, however, that Waller-Bridge could get her own franchise playing Dr. Susan Calvin of the I, Robot short stories. That would be great!

The End Of (Human Generated) Art?

by Shelt Garner

As we all wake up from the Superhero movie era daze we’ve been in for 20 years, I think maybe we aren’t asking the right question. The question isn’t, “What type of movie genre will replace Superhero movies?” but, rather, “Is this the twilight of not just mass media, but human generated art?”

It’s very possible that a lot sooner than you might think, AI sensors on your TV and phone hooked up to “Her”-like technology will generate movies, TV shows, songs and — gulp — novels, that are designed specifically for what you want at that specific moment because of your mood.

Some 99% of what is generated by the hand of man when it comes to art is shit and, as such, 99% of all art could very well be, well, AI generated shit. AND, there won’t be any mass media anymore, no shared reality.

As such, the Singularity won’t come with us uploading our minds into computers, but with the very idea of human-generated art for profit being seen as a quaint notion of a bygone era. And that dystopian nightmare is probably going to happen a lot — A LOT — sooner than you think.

If it happens at all, that is.

And add the general tendency to name, shame and drug anyone who is “different” and, lulz, our posthuman future may already be here.

The WGA Is In Trouble

by Shelt Garner

As I often say — I’m always, always wrong. But it definitely seems as though it’s at least possible that we’re in something of a waiting game when it comes to the current WGA strike.

And the two sides, tragically, are waiting for different things.

The WGA is waiting for the Suits to come back to the negotiating table, while the Suits are waiting for LLMs to advance to the point that Hollywood writers are…moot. So, rather than “September” being the deadline as one very young and naive striking WGA writer proposed, I think we have a far more open-ended situation on our hands.

It could be 18 months before there’s any resolution to the Writers’ Strike and the resolution will be that technology has reached a point where the Suits feel like they can just ignore the WGA altogether. And, rather than thinking about a WGA strike, they’re thinking about how many programmers they’re going to have to pay in place of them.

Like I said — I’m always, always wrong. So, I suppose it’s possible that something will happen and the Suits will come to some sort of agreement with writers. But..I couldn’t count on it.

Suits, Software and Schmucks: The Path to Hollywood’s ‘Her’ Future

by Shelt Garner

Hollywood is fucking doomed. While we may have to go through a civil war (Reds) or revolution (Blues) between now and then, it definitely seems as though within 10 years even Hollywood suits will be replaced by a Her-like AI.

Let me say that again in a different way — it could be that through a combination of Her and Simone all recorded entertainment will be generated by AI. People will develop parasocial relationships not with Tay-Tay or a this or that Hollywood heartthrob — but with a simulation generated on-the-fly by their very own Her-type digital assistant.

The path to this (dystopian?) future won’t be a straight line, but that’s definitely where macrotrends seems to be taking us in the medium-to-long term. Hollywood is so, so very fucked.

Two things to keep in mind.

One, the transitional phase of all of this will be a new Feudal system for Hollywood where there will be three types of people — suits, software and schmucks. Writers, directors and actors will be seen as quaint and moot soon enough — unless they join together and demand specific, hard-fast carveouts for those jobs.

I just don’t see that happening because things are moving too fast.

The other issue to think about is — Broadway may see a real resurgence. It could be that the revolution may not be televised — because it will be performed live on the stage. People who want “real” actors will turn to having parasocial relationships with Broadway and Westend, (and local theatre) stars rather than some computer-generated bullshit.

I can’t predict the future, but it’s definitely something to think about, something to worry about. The future may see a very, very dramatic change in how we interact with entertainment.

Hollywood’s Eternal ‘Now:’ The Streaming Endgame

by Shelt Garner

Here is what I think is the endgame for the streaming industry. At some point in the near future — probably after we’ve either transitioned into a MAGA autocracy or wrapped up a civil war / revolution — Netflix will be morea database than an entertainment provider.

Simone is the future of Hollywood and celebrity culture.

Because of advancements in AI, you will sit down in front of your TV or cellphone and you will be scanned for your particular mood at that specific moment. Then AI will spit out a six episode TV show or a 2 hour movie that fits your specific mood at that specific moment. It will use the bodyscans of your favorite actors to produce these completely AI-generated forms of entertainment.

So, there will come a point when Hollywood just feeds off the popularity of stars from the last 100 years, never generating any new ones because there won’t be any need. Unless, of course, someone really makes name for themselves on Broadway and they get a body scan so they can live passively off the licensing of that scan on streaming and other forms of mediated recorded entertainment.

But, wait, there’s more!

Soon enough, even having any form of human actors will be quaint and moot. All your favorite stars will be AI generated. They will be human like that all those dystopian 1990s movies about people developing parasocial relationships with faux Hollywood stars will seem very prescient.

And, what’s more,give us 20 years and all of your favorite Hollywood stars could be fucking androids. Unless SAG gets its act together, the only actors making any money professionally will be those on Broadway.

Otherwise, lulz.

We’re careening towards a very strange and weird future — especially when it comes to entertainment.

A Breached Second Draft Scene Birth

by Shelt Garner

I’m really struggling with a few scenes in the second draft. Two scenes in particular at the moment have pretty much caused everything to come a screeching halt.

I’m going to have to give them a lot of forethought tonight before I hopefully can turn around tomorrow morning and write them out. Not even using AI has been able to help me with these scenes because what I need from them is too complicated and, in a sense abstract.

So, I’m just going to have to go back to the old way of thinking really hard and struggling with how I can fill the scene with all the information that I need within it. Another problem is subsequent scenes really depend on what I lay out in these two scenes, so it’s difficult for me to just breeze past them and come back to them when I feel better.


Anyway, I continue to be impressed with how effective AI is in aiding me developing this novel. It’s definitely, in general terms, speeding up the process. But’s far from perfect.

I still have to actually write the novel out. But it definitely is filling a gap that I’ve long had because I have no friends no no one likes me. I no longer feel like I’m doing all of this in a complete creative vacuum.

Of Usenet News & LLM Datasets

by Shelt Garner

The last I checked, Google has a nearly-complete archive of Usenet from its founding until at least around 2000 when everything went to shit there because of porn spam. It would be dumb for Google not to include Usenet in any Large Language Model dataset.

You would have to tweak it some, of course, but there are about 20 years of high quality words to use to train your LLM to be found with any Usenet archive. A lot of is outdated and full of vitral, but there is also a lot of human interaction and humanity to be found there, as well.

This is so much the case that if you were to include Usenet archive information in your LLM training dataset, you would probably endup with a very human-like LLM. I don’t know, maybe Google is already using their Usenet archive. Usenet was very popular back in the day.

Given how many Usenet servers there were at one point, I’m sure if you were working on an open source LLM that you could probably find a few million words to train your open source LLM by scooping up all the archived Usenet posts you could find.

Or not, what do I know. But it is an intriguing use for all those words that are now just forgotten Internet history. For everyone except for me, of course. 🙂