There's been a lot of coverage lately about the rise of Artificial Intelligence. How a photographer entered a computer generated image in a competition and won. How journalists are finding news articles so successfully constructed that they struggle to recognise when they are false or not written by humans.
The publishing industry is deliberating on its response too. Recent articles in the trade magazine 'The Bookseller' have reported on academic and educational publishers being ready to 'embrace' AI opportunities. And book-to-film and packaged books are also seen as suitable uses for the technology. But at what cost to the creatives in the industry, one commentator asked. Publishers can't support creatives on one hand and undermine them on the other.
I confess that I'm burying my head in the sand with this issue currently. Things seem to be happening too fast for me to keep up!
But our guest author Kate Sawyer who visited us in Woodbridge for an event with Browsers Bookshop and Woodbridge Library to launch her new novel 'This Family' has clearly been thinking about the issue.
When asked about copyright, in the light of the recent Ed Sheeran case, and where writers gain their inspiration for their stories, she said: "Just as he said there are only so many notes, there are only so many stories. We're all talking about the same things.
"AI doesn't worry me because computers can't generate that element of surprise, the human element that makes the story exciting and good. And that's why sometimes you can read something that's classed as romance but it can be about so much more...a brief and brilliant portrayal of grief, for example. We're all telling the same stories, I think, just in different guises."
Thank you to everyone who came along to hear Kate last week. She delighted us all with her energy and determination in what was a wide-ranging discussion about writing, publishing and life! I'm hoping to announce another author visit very soon.
But out next meeting is to discuss Katherine Heiny's novel 'Standard Deviation', on Monday 22 May. Scroll down for details of this month's book group meeting, and please reply to this email if you are hoping to come along so that I have an idea of numbers for chairs and catering!
Thank you for reading.