Tuesday, June 20, 2023


I feel rather bad for my graphic designer. He used to charge me about Kshs 10k - 12k (USD$ 71.00 - 85.00) for the central image of a book's cover art, and take about a week - two if there were revisions. I now use Artificial Intelligence. It costs me Kshs 0.00 and just a couple of minutes (to key in the "prompts" ie. instructions.)

For now, there's no cause for writers to panic. AI is unlikely to take away THEIR jobs anytime soon. This year, the US film/and TV industry was brought to its knees - yet again - by a strike organized by Writers' Guild of America. Virtually all late-night talk shows temporarily ceased production. The 76th Tony Awards could not be televised. AI can't write original shows, or jokes. It can't actually write literature, either, but it can re-write stuff and imitate styles with remarkable speed and accuracy. It has no soul; no emotions, sense of humour, no storytelling gift.

It can't really replace visual artists entirely, especially for extended projects like comic books or story boards. But for one-off pieces like portraits, posters, book/album covers, 'photos', 'paintings', illustrations etc, it's magical. It can take your breath away!

Frankfurter Buchmesse and Gould Finch carried out research on the nexus between publishing and AI and e-published the results in a paper titled “The Future Impact of Artificial Intelligence on The Publishing Industry” (https://www.stateofdigitalpublishing.com/digital-platform-tools/ai-in-publishing-industry/). The key findings were as follows:

"Artificial Intelligence is not going to replace writers, but it is able to strengthen core-business. While there is technology available to mimic tone and craft plausible 
prose, the narrative arc and a best-seller’s make-up have yet to be reduced to an algorithm. The technology available offers publishers access to an array of new mediums and processes to strengthen areas such marketing and analytics, as well as production and administration.

Investing in Artificial Intelligence doesn’t mean fewer jobs for humans. On the contrary, businesses currently implementing AI, including The Washington Post and Axel Springer as well as smaller publishing houses, have witnessed positive effects on readership statistics and sales, but also better job stability for journalists and writers.

Minimal investments can still bring in monetary benefits."

The conclusion of the research is that:

"AI and its future development offer promising opportunities for the publishing industry. Publishing is a people’s business and our study shows that the technology will not replace human interactions within the industry but offer various improvements in the value chain. Writers will discover new tools with which to expresstheir creativity, marketing creatives will discover new tools to craft personalized campaigns for a wider audience, and customers will be thrilled by new experiences."

I think my AI-aided book covers (an addiction I am now spreading to my writer friends like a common cold) is adequate proof the the above-mentioned paper's conclusion.

Above: Book covers designed with the help of Artificial Intelligence.