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Fanfiction and AI

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by arkkitehti, Dec 2, 2022.

  1. arkkitehti

    arkkitehti High Inquisitor

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    So OpenAI just released a new AI tool, ChatGPT, which seems pretty good at natural language. Here's what it says about usefulness of AI tools for writing fanfiction:

    And here's an example of an "epic magic duel between Harry Potter and Voldemort":

    Seems to me that AI tools will be the future of fanfiction, for better or worse... Add in image generation tools and you can create illustrated stories with relative ease.

    And here's the link to the tool: https://chat.openai.com

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. yargle

    yargle Professor

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    In the immortal words of Jimmy Buffett:

     
  3. Mr. Mixed Bag

    Mr. Mixed Bag Seventh Year

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    Somehow it turned Harry into a Shonen protagonist. Power of friendship, go!

    More generally, it advertises itself as an avenue for new ideas to help writers get off the ground, but the excerpt is more or less a regurgitation of literary cliches. They're "locked into combat" for what "feels like hours" while Voldemort's eyes "blaze with hatred". It's like a checklist of all those turns of phrase that sort of seem creative, but have been used so many times they're nearly as familiar as just saying "They fought a long time". I'd bet money, too, that as soon as you start making it write something longer a lot of those phrases will start popping up again and again.

    I also expect it to struggle with keeping a consistent tone or characters. It may be able to string sentences together, but can it make a cohesive work and actually give characters a real arc? Even if you're just using it to spawn some ideas for you, will it give you enough that's worth a damn that it wouldn't be quicker to just do it all yourself from scratch?

    I will give it that the sentence are coherent and flow better than 90% of fanfiction out there, low as that bar may be. But I suspect short excerpts like the one attached in quote are where it will produce the best results, and even those don't seem to be all that great.



    Also, what is the point? If you want to write a story, write a story. If you don't want to write a story, why are you trying to make fanfiction in the first place.
     
  4. arkkitehti

    arkkitehti High Inquisitor

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    Personally I see it as a tool to help in content creation, not a "content engine" that creates a ready product with one click (though that might not be too far in the future; imagine a CYOA story where it's all generated from prompts). Say you're a new writer and struggle with dialogue; with these tools you can generate a dozen excerpts in minutes, and then cherrypick what you think feels best, change a few words where the tone feels off and make it your own.

    And sure, it's not perfect yet, but given the speed AI tools have progressed these last few years I'm not ready to disregard them.
     
  5. Drachna

    Drachna Professor

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    For an AI generated effort Inthought that that was quite impressive. I've certainly read worse from real people anyway. Btw, an cyoa story that literally writes itself in response to your choices would be insane.
     
  6. arkkitehti

    arkkitehti High Inquisitor

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    About style:

     
  7. KGB

    KGB Headmaster

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    Your prompts don't seem to work for me?

    Or did you install it locally instead of using the web version?
     
  8. arkkitehti

    arkkitehti High Inquisitor

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    I'm using the web version.

    Strange, I didn't have any problems. Though I do have a previous user account for their DALL-E image AI, so don't know if that changes anything.
     
  9. TheWiseTomato

    TheWiseTomato Prestigious Tomato ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    It's impressive what it can do, but there's no heart to it.
     
  10. Arthellion

    Arthellion Lord of the Banned ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    So...one thought on this. Most fanfiction writers don't actually want to write a story. They want to tell a story, but they don't want to do the hard work of actually writing. Writing is hard. The need to keep flow, tone, grammar, etc. all in mind AND they need to tell a consistent story.

    What this kind of AI does is provide a barebones framework for a scene you want to happen and then you can plug that in to the story you're trying to tell with edits.

    I think a better way to think of it is it turns fanfiction into storyboarding with pregenerated story boards where all the "author" has to do is arrange the story board in the manner they want to tell their story.
     
  11. arkkitehti

    arkkitehti High Inquisitor

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    Here's something with a bit more emotion:

    Really the biggest drawback at the moment seems to be that it's too verbose, and likes to repeat things.
     
  12. arkkitehti

    arkkitehti High Inquisitor

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    Also it's clear that the AI model includes stuff from Harry Potter; see how it immediately has Hermione refer to "the two of you" even though there's no mention of Harry in the prompt. Don't know if OpenAI has scraped internet and caught all fanfiction or not, but it's certainly possible.

    This should make it better at fanfiction (it can draw from existing tropes), but worse for original fiction.
     
  13. Arthellion

    Arthellion Lord of the Banned ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Definitely good for humor regardless

    [​IMG]
     
  14. aAlouda

    aAlouda High Inquisitor

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    I mean, presumebly the point is getting to read a story fulfilling certain requirements, without having to bother to write it.
    Like imagine you're in the mood for a first war story from Voldemort's POV without pairing, but aren't finding anything you like, and could just enter that prompt and get yourself a nice few hours worth of reading materials.

    It's far from sufficient now, but I wouldn't be surprised if in a few decades you could just feed an AI a bunch of books/fics you like in addition to a prompt and have it produce a story tailored to your tastes.
     
  15. Jeram

    Jeram Elder of Zion ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Here are some amusing generations I put in:



    Some interesting repetitive aspects of the generation -- two scenes with sandwiches and two scenes ending with one character shaking their head.
     
  16. arkkitehti

    arkkitehti High Inquisitor

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    Did you do all of those in the same thread, or reset it in between? The model seems to like repeating things it has produced already, if done in the same thread.
     
  17. Jeram

    Jeram Elder of Zion ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Good point, although I will say that the character "voices" are pretty flat and nearly identical -- definitely not perfect yet.
     
  18. arkkitehti

    arkkitehti High Inquisitor

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    Obviously the chatbot implementation of the model isn't best suited for writing dialogue, as it's primarily geared toward providing answers to questions. But it's clearly capable of different voices when prompted, so if the devs wanted to, I don't think it would be too difficult to make it into a pretty convincing dialogue machine. Also the current implementation has safety features that make it bit of a sheep, always trying to be nice and avoiding conflict when possible.

    Here's what it can do with a bit of prompting:

    The fact that it can iterate over what it already made is pretty cool.
     
  19. bsm

    bsm First Year

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    [QUOTE="arkkitehti, post: 1192153, member: 19280]
    Any thoughts?[/QUOTE]

    I think my main thought is that this generated snippet is rather poor, on all levels except the grammatical where it is passable. And my secondary thought is that a tool to automate the generation of bad fan fiction is somewhat superfluous; we already seem to have plenty of the stuff.

    A more sincere thought is that what I find most interesting in fan fiction is its use to challenge and imterrogate the narrative and other assumptions of the author that went into the original text. Harry Potter is very fertile terrain for this, because Rowling has packed in a lot of umquestioned assumptions about class, struggle, maturation, and other social elements of 90s Britain (interesting to me since I grew up there). Another good example of this sort of thing is The Asking Price, which reverses the original text's depiction of how oppressive forces, resistance to them, heroism and sacrifice work. This kind of thing is hard to do outside fan fiction - the original work needs to be there for the point of the critique to land on a real target. And it is this kind of larger structuring that generative tools like these language models are very poor at; they can toss off grammatically correct paragraphs, but have difficulty with consistency within a scene, let alone maintaining a broader them. Since the models behind these tools are opaque, it also lools very hard to improve them in the necessary direction; there is no coherent readable "internal representation" of a story or any sub-units within the generator.

    It could be interesting to use as a sort of advanced spelling and grammar checker though. I would be quite interested to see what happens if you run some mediocre RoyalRoad story through it paragraph by paragraph with a prompt "rewrite this well" or similar. Can it MTL trash into more readable trash?
     
  20. Rubicon

    Rubicon High Inquisitor DLP Supporter

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    I found you can get better results by repeatedly asking “How can this be improved?” along with some suggestions like “maybe less cringy friendship stuff?” or “have Harry be tired and grieving instead of confident”. Turns out it will happily keep refining a scene for you, and will even review its own work and come up with ideas for improvements.

    Some of its suggestions for OP’s scene:

    Here’s a revised scene after doing this a few times:

    Obviously still deeply flawed, not quite coherent, and didn’t incorporate all the feedback. Also, when I tried to get it to write more it forgot Ron was dead and had him join the conversation.

    But interesting to see its ability to review and suggest edits for existing work with human guidance. People focus so much on AI generating things from scratch, but IMO the real potential is as a tool to help human creators be more effective.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2022
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