Ten Stories That Shaped 2023

It’s time yet again to take a look back at the memorable library stories from the past year.

Two themes dominated headlines in 2023: attacks on libraries; and the rising implications of generative artificial intelligence.

10. Misplaced Classified Documents

Fallout over politicians from both parties mishandling documents continued to make news early in the year.

9. Attacks on Librarians – Kirk Cameron

In a peculiar bid to paint himself the victim of library policies, Kirk Cameron staged conflicts over his right-wing children’s books and related library events.

8. Generative AI – Audio Books and Music

Continue reading…

Stephen King: My Books Were Used to Train AI

My Books Were Used to Train AI

I have said in one of my few forays into nonfiction (On Writing) that you can’t learn to write unless you’re a reader, and unless you read a lot. AI programmers have apparently taken this advice to heart. Because the capacity of computer memory is so large—everything I ever wrote could fit on one thumb drive, a fact that never ceases to blow my mind—these programmers can dump thousands of books into state-of-the-art digital blenders. Including, it seems, mine. The real question is whether you get a sum that’s greater than the parts, when you pour back out.

The Fear Of AI Just Killed A Very Useful Tool

But, in the meantime, the fear over AI is leading to some crazy and sometimes unfortunate outcomes. Benji Smith, who created what appears to be an absolutely amazing tool for writers, Shaxpir, also created what looked like an absolutely fascinating tool called Prosecraft, that had scanned and analyzed a whole bunch of books and would let you call up really useful data on books.

The Fear Of AI Just Killed A Very Useful Tool

Why This AI Moment May Be the Real Deal

Why This AI Moment May Be the Real Deal
1. It’s generalized, not specialized.
2. It can understand natural language.
3. It understands context.
4. It is responsive.
5. Its apparent grasp of the world is flexible, implicit, and general.
6. The way it gains its grasp of the world is flexible, implicit, and general.
7. Its errors are not nonsense; they are alien.

It is too early to say that the new AI class is an inherently antihuman technological paradigm, as social media has proven itself to be. But it is not too early to suspect that AIs will dwarf social media in their power to disrupt modern life. If that is so, we had better learn some new and unfamiliar ways of interrogating this technology, and fast. Whatever these entities are — they’re here.