AI: Novel, Personalized, On Demand Media and its Potential Impact [+]

Reynard

Legend
Okay, this thread is going to come with a bunch of caveats.

First, it is a [+] thread. What that means in this context is: No arguments about the ethics of AI training here. If your definition of AI includes the words "plagiarism machine" this is not the thread for you. Because this thread is speculative, an element of that speculation is that the hypothetical AI in question were trained on sources that were either in the public domain or opt in.

Next, this thread is not about the production of shovelware. Although it is certainly a concern going forward, I do not intend to discuss companies and creators creating crappy AI produced media and charging you for it. Again, that is a concern and a thing that is already happening and we can discuss the trouble that causes elsewhere, but not here.

What I want to talk about here is (again, speculative) a world in which anyone can summon by way of generative AI entertainment media that is a) novel, as in it did not exist before, b) personalized, as in is created based on the preferences of the "summoner", and c) on demand, in that it comes into being immediately or close enough to it.

I was thinking about this as I was playing with claude.ai earlier today. One "genre" of entertainment I like is what I might call fictional-non-fiction, usually stuff like "realistic" responses to fantastical things happening like super heroes appearing or aliens contacting Earth or whatever. And by responses I mean everything from news articles to scientific papers to reddit posts to NY Times op-eds. Claude.ai is actually pretty good at developing this stuff, and has a long enough "memory" to follow a through line. For example, a news story showing a comet heading toward earth followed by a couple opposing view op-eds followed by a reddit post by someone who thinks it is fake and so on.

Anyway, my point is that it is clear that novel, personalized, on demand media is a thing that AI can do. It can already do it with shorter written material and still images. It is only a matter of time before it can do it with longer written works, music and moving images.

Just to reiterate: I am not talking about the current state of where this material was sourced or its quality or anything else. I am talking about it speculatively, with the assumption that a) the right people are being compensated somehow, and b) it's decent, if not good.

Okay, so here is the meat of what I really want to discuss, the thing I find fascinating:

What happens to entertainment, and pop culture, and individuals when there is access to essentially unlimited novel, personalized, on demand media? For example, if I am a person that loves chaste vampire-werewolf teen romance, but I have specific preferences around the cast, the sexual orientations, the geographical or temporal setting, and so on, if I can put in those parameters and summon a book made precisely for me, what does that mean for the creators and publishers of YA urban fantasy romance? What does it means for the fans? What does it mean for me?

NOTE: I don't want to debate quality here. Of course the hypothetical book in the example would be derivative drek, but that actually doesn't matter than much. Most genre fiction, especially what you are going to find on Kindle Unlimited or whatever, is derivative drek.

One thing I wonder about is fandom and shared experience. If everyone is creating novel, personalized, on demand entertainment, what happens to the shared experience aspect and the discussions of plot points and speculation? Could a producer thread the needle? That is, have book 15 in Vampwolf Love Story with some immutable aspects but still let individuals personalize the actual book that comes out? And not just in self insert protagonists, but more broadly. Some reader enjoy short, snappy chapters while others love to wallow in prose. Those are personalization choices AI can or will be able to do.

Anyway, I think it is a really interesting potential development in the way popular entertainment is produced and consumed, and the questions around how that impacts culture are even more interesting to me.

What do you think? Assuming this is a thing that can and will occur, what impacts do you think it will have on culture, fandom and individuals? And would you employ such a service?

Thanks for keeping it civil.
 
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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
This is a rather interesting question, and I think a definite possible future. I've already tried using a chatbot to flesh out a scene, with me coming up with characters and then seeding the scene. It didn't work so well so far, but different chatbots would have different strengths and I'm sure that's something that could happen.

While I'm sure it can do customized content, I was looking at something closer to a freeform update of choose your own adventure. Not quite a one-on-one RPG, since I was acting more as a director than as a participant.

But picture being able to keep a three (or five) act structure in mind, pre-plan twists so it can foreshadow, and write to specifications. That would be pretty amazing.

When reading novel-length fiction, I look at wordcraft, plots, characters, empathy/likability to the PoV character(s), surprise (and by proxy continued interest), and satisfying endings.

My criteria for short form is much lighter, including leaving hanging threads that feel like they are part of a larger work. (Thank you Jay Lake for really making me realize that), and because of that it might be a better start for AI writing.

Wordcraft is interesting. Mimicing styles is somethign we've seen. But we've also seen a lot of insipid attempts to write poetry and the like. I think this could be done in a mimicry style - the LLMs are just statistics, what word comes next. I could picture people getting paid just to generate flowery (or whatever) prose in a consistent style in order to strengthen this. In the AI Art arena there are LoRAs and LyCORIS which are small models that have a strong influence on the output of the generative models - this one reproduces this actor or character, this one does high tech armor, etc. An equivilent in the written could give style. Picture authors - or whatever the appropriate term is - whom are paid to produce in a particular style but not worry about plot or characterization. Just to be able to train against to have the writing come out with a particular desired style.

I had a lot of problems with characters when I was trying things, but from a technology perspective I know that's able to be overcome in the way they do context right now.

Coherent, and more importantly tight plots that go through a whole work I think are farther from what we have right now. Again though, that might be a place where AI is used as a tool as opposed to an author-replacement. Authors today have to master a number of different skills, and there are some that work as teams (such as the ones who wrote the Expanse books) or even as shared pseudonyms. Imagine where there are people who are very good at specific parts of those skills, and that can be supplimented by AI writing.

Now, AI screenwriting can combine with AI illustration and or AI voicing, and will get to AI video. So once this takes off, expanding across multiple medias is something I see as likely.

BTW, likely one of the the first large scale commercial use of customized writing will be in the erotica genre, as people have their personal mix of desire they would want to see realized, plus the more personal nature cries out to one-on-one entertainment instead of for-the-masses entertainment. But historically they pushed a lot of tech, especially about the web, so this shouldn't be too surprising.

To summarize, I think that both fully AI-generated personalized quality media will come, but that AI tools to help various parts of the process working in tandem with human creators, will be a strong step that is closer than many expect.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
What happens to entertainment, and pop culture, and individuals when there is access to essentially unlimited novel, personalized, on demand media? For example, if I am a person that loves chaste vampire-werewolf teen romance, but I have specific preferences around the cast, the sexual orientations, the geographical or temporal setting, and so on, if I can put in those parameters and summon a book made precisely for me, what does that mean for the creators and publishers of YA urban fantasy romance? What does it means for the fans? What does it mean for me?
It means you never read anything new or get exposed to new concepts or ideas. I'll love it to you to decide whether that's a good thing or not, but a to of the media I've been exposed to has been formative, and wasn't defined by me. I think you just create your own personalised echo chamber.

I think it would get boring.

One thing I wonder about is fandom and shared experience. If everyone is creating novel, personalized, on demand entertainment, what happens to the shared experience aspect and the discussions of plot points and speculation?
That goes. No media become popular. We're not sharing thoughts about the latest episode of Doctor Who or anything. We become increasingly shut-off and isolated.

Could a producer thread the needle? That is, have book 15 in Vampwolf Love Story with some immutable aspects but still let individuals personalize the actual book that comes out? And not just in self insert protagonists, but more broadly. Some reader enjoy short, snappy chapters while others love to wallow in prose. Those are personalization choices AI can or will be able to do.
I think personalising the book defeats the point of it. You read to enjoy somebody else's art, perspectives, ideas, not your own.

It would be detrimental to human society. We'd never have anything new again.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
It means you never read anything new or get exposed to new concepts or ideas. I'll love it to you to decide whether that's a good thing or not, but a to of the media I've been exposed to has been formative, and wasn't defined by me. I think you just create your own personalised echo chamber.
Does this mean you think that AI-generated content will surplant all human-generated content? Otherwise I would expect it to be a mix.

And even there, there's a huge amount that I haven't been exposed to, say Hungarian fairy tales, that if sliced, diced, and regurgitated to me would still be something new.

I understand as a creator there's a real issue with these interfering with your livelihood - that's a real concern. But that no one will ever read anything new or get exposed to any new ideas seems a problematic jump.

I think it would get boring.
This is a very real possibility. Following structures, we can easily get a sameness over time. Not following structures, I can see many, many poorly written works.

All of that said, between Kindle Unlimited already gives me a lot of that.

Maybe that's a place where human skills haven't been attempted to be replicated - skilled editors who still curate what good.

That goes. No media become popular. We're not sharing thoughts about the latest episode of Doctor Who or anything. We become increasingly shut-off and isolated.
This again assumes that the only media being produced is personalized. People love to talk about the latest episode of something, to form fandoms. Heck, look at the size of AO3 and the shared fanfic fandoms, including AUs that many writers adopt together. I don't think that personalized entertainment is the death knell of mass-consumed entertainment. Humans like to belong.

I think personalising the book defeats the point of it. You read to enjoy somebody else's art, perspectives, ideas, not your own.
Matter of amount of personalization. If I'm looking for [genre X] including representatives of my racial heritage or particular disability and including tropes [A, B & C], we're personalizing it without dictating it. If I want the head doctor in my hospital drama to share characteristics of my child, that's still leaving a lot of perspectives and such from others. Human experience right now is so diverse that AI models can create things similar to things already created and it's still new-to-me. But with representation or making sure it's tailored to my interests.

It would be detrimental to human society. We'd never have anything new again.
The various AI genies are already out of the bag. They cannot be put back in Pandora's box at this point, even by legislation. So I hope you are wrong here.

(P.S. It feels really discourteous to disagree with you on your site. Please know I write this all with respect.)
 

Reynard

Legend
It means you never read anything new or get exposed to new concepts or ideas. I'll love it to you to decide whether that's a good thing or not, but a to of the media I've been exposed to has been formative, and wasn't defined by me. I think you just create your own personalised echo chamber.

I think it would get boring.


That goes. No media become popular. We're not sharing thoughts about the latest episode of Doctor Who or anything. We become increasingly shut-off and isolated.


I think personalising the book defeats the point of it. You read to enjoy somebody else's art, perspectives, ideas, not your own.

It would be detrimental to human society. We'd never have anything new again.
I agree that the discovery of something new would be a lot harder. Of course,people already do this. They sit in their feeds and refuse to experience anything outside of their narrow preferences. There is a reason there are literally thousands of effectively the same YA Urban Fantasy Romances or Sci Fi Alpha Mercenary Power Trips. People don't want new art, they want potato chips for their brains.

Which is what makes me think that novel, personalized, on demand media will be a real thing.
 

Kaodi

Hero
If the cost of producing personalized fiction is very low and the cost of producing fiction the old fashioned way is high then what might happen is that all of the things that have already been made continue to be consumed and people still find commonality in which "classics" they enjoy when they grow tired of custom content. Though the "boring" custom content that never changes things up may itself keep improving until it is not so boring anymore. Maybe when there is no shared culture people come back around to shared facts about the word.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Does this mean you think that AI-generated content will surplant all human-generated content?
I think it's a possibility that new human content would be severely reduced--motivation being a big one, but also being able to devote the time and resources, which means it has to be commercially viable too.
I understand as a creator there's a real issue with these interfering with your livelihood - that's a real concern. But that no one will ever read anything new or get exposed to any new ideas seems a problematic jump.
Who's going to make the new stuff though? If the creators' livelihoods are gone? Or is it all going to just be free work for the sake of the art? I mean, of course that has always existed and always will, but without creators being able to make a living at it, many creators are going to make a living at something else.
This again assumes that the only media being produced is personalized. People love to talk about the latest episode of something, to form fandoms. Heck, look at the size of AO3 and the shared fanfic fandoms, including AUs that many writers adopt together. I don't think that personalized entertainment is the death knell of mass-consumed entertainment. Humans like to belong.
That I agree is something which could help prevent that. People like to share experiences.
The various AI genies are already out of the bag. They cannot be put back in Pandora's box at this point, even by legislation. So I hope you are wrong here.
Legislation can help, especially around transparency of data sets and commercial usage.
P.S. It feels really discourteous to disagree with you on your site.
It would be a dull forum for me if all my iteractions with other people were tailored to match my own opinions. ;)

(See what I did there! I'm funny!)
 

I'm not sure it will be more then a niche thing.

A person can get AI to make personal content. And the person will like what they asked for. But over all it won't be that great.

AI just can't be creative. It can't think up new things(as you know, it can't think). But with some work you can get some Public Domain" sort of OK content. But Really the AI content will always be stuck at the Soap Opera, Romance Novel, Kids Cartoon, Tabloid, Reality Programing, Tick Tok level of content. And sure, that level of content is great for many people. There are plenty of people that consume that content and like it just fine.

But most people will want much more from content then the simple above fluff. And AI is not there....and will likely never be. And that content will have to come from humans.

Even if AI could somehow get the 'brain' of an human....well, not all humans are the same. There is a ton of content out there. Some average, a lot bad, and then some good. For every War and Peace, there are 100 forgotten novels in the dumpster of the thrift store. For every Star Wars, there are 100 forgotten movies in landfills. For every Breaking Bad, there are 100 shows of just static.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I don't think such a thing will be possible.

If it does at best its probably the most generic, trope ridden, piece of work ever.

Whatthuis means is Disney script writers may be in trouble.

AI can't really think so there's that. A true AI that could think would change things but we would have bigger issues.
 

Reynard

Legend
I wouldn't overestimate the value of truly creative ideas for the sort of casual entertainment I'm talking about. Derivative works are very popular, and not for no reason. There are thousands of police procedural television episodes, for example, and very few of them surprising or innovative.
 

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