A few years ago, I predicted the emergence of an AI with the power to examine and grade written work. Well, we are almost there.
I, along with hundreds of thousands of others, am fascinated by the latest AI linguistic tool: ChatGPT. And for good reason. The more I read, the more amazed I am at how writers are using this tool. It’s expanding every day. Yes, writers are using it. And yes, some are even allowing its artificially generated text to join or even replace their own. But that’s just the controversial part. Before that, we can ask ChatGPT to proofread. I tried it out, and sure enough, I got back cleaned narrative that only needed slight touch-ups (it tended to be formal with “he said”s and “she replied”s, with dialog tags before or after every bit of conversation).
Additionally, and this is still iffy in my book, but I took bits of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and asked ChatGPT to rewrite it in the style of Hemingway, then Stephen King, and then Dr. Seuss. And it did it.
There are some challenges to the amount of text you can proofread or transform, and no doubt we’ll soon have to start paying for this privilege. But wow, the ability to upload an entire manuscript to have it proofread, checked for logic, tense consistency, POV head-hopping, and even “graded” will soon be a thing.
I can’t wait.
The above was actually proofread and corrected by ChatGPT!
Here’s one example of transforming Charles Dickens to Hemingway
Scrooge took his melancholy dinner in his usual melancholy tavern; and having read all the newspapers, and beguiled the rest of the evening with his banker’s-book, went home to bed. He lived in chambers which had once belonged to his deceased partner. They were a gloomy suite of rooms, in a lowering pile of building up a yard, where it had so little business to be, that one could scarcely help fancying it must have run there when it was a young house, playing at hide-and-seek with other houses, and forgotten the way out again. It was old enough now, and dreary enough, for nobody lived in it but Scrooge, the other rooms being all let out as offices. The yard was so dark that even Scrooge, who knew its every stone, was fain to grope with his hands. The fog and frost so hung about the black old gateway of the house, that it seemed as if the Genius of the Weather sat in mournful meditation on the threshold.
Scrooge took his melancholy dinner in his usual melancholy tavern, and after reading all the newspapers and poring over his banker’s book, he went home to bed. He lived in chambers that had once belonged to his deceased partner, a gloomy suite of rooms in a lowering building that seemed out of place in the yard it occupied. It was so old and dreary that Scrooge was the only one who lived there, the other rooms having been rented out as offices. The yard was so dark that Scrooge, who knew every stone by heart, had to grope his way around with his hands. The fog and frost clung so heavily to the black old gate of the house that it seemed as if the spirit of the weather was sitting in mournful meditation on the threshold.
Now, it is a fact, that there was nothing at all particular about the knocker on the door, except that it was very large. It is also a fact, that Scrooge had seen it, night and morning, during his whole residence in that place; also that Scrooge had as little of what is called fancy about him as any man in the city of London, even including—which is a bold word—the corporation, aldermen, and livery. Let it also be borne in mind that Scrooge had not bestowed one thought on Marley, since his last mention of his seven years’ dead partner that afternoon. And then let any man explain to me, if he can, how it happened that Scrooge, having his key in the lock of the door, saw in the knocker, without its undergoing any intermediate process of change—not a knocker, but Marley’s face.
It’s a fact that there was nothing particularly noteworthy about the knocker on the door, except that it was very large. It’s also a fact that Scrooge had seen it every day and night during his entire time living there. And Scrooge had as little imagination as any man in London, not even counting the corporation, aldermen, or livery. It should also be noted that Scrooge hadn’t given Marley a single thought since mentioning his deceased partner that afternoon. So how did it happen that when Scrooge had his key in the lock of the door, he saw in the knocker, without any intermediate process of change, not a knocker but Marley’s face?
Marley’s face. It was not in impenetrable shadow as the other objects in the yard were, but had a dismal light about it, like a bad lobster in a dark cellar. It was not angry or ferocious, but looked at Scrooge as Marley used to look: with ghostly spectacles turned up on its ghostly forehead. The hair was curiously stirred, as if by breath or hot air; and, though the eyes were wide open, they were perfectly motionless. That, and its livid colour, made it horrible; but its horror seemed to be in spite of the face and beyond its control, rather than a part of its own expression.
As Scrooge looked fixedly at this phenomenon, it was a knocker again.
Marley’s face. It was not shrouded in impenetrable shadow like the other objects in the yard, but had a dismal light around it, like a bad lobster in a dark cellar. It was not angry or ferocious, but looked at Scrooge the way Marley used to, with ghostly spectacles perched on its ghostly forehead. The hair was oddly stirred, as if by a breath or hot air, and though the eyes were wide open, they were perfectly still. That, combined with its livid color, made it horrible, but the horror seemed to be beyond its control, rather than a part of its own expression.
As Scrooge stared fixedly at this phenomenon, it became a knocker again.