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Can AI Write Stories That Touch Our Hearts?

Can AI Write Stories That Touch Our Hearts?

Can AI truly craft a masterpiece? We take a look at its potential, limitations, and ever-evolving role in writing.

We all have that one story or book that moved us to tears, made us laugh so hard that our stomachs hurt, or stayed with us long after we turned the final page… But what if the author behind that story wasn't human at all?

As artificial intelligence seeps into our everyday lives, it feels like practically anything and everything has become AI-generated: budding internet DJs are using Suno to make catchy songs, students are using MidJourney to make funny memes of fellow classmates, and even job seekers are writing job applications with ChatGPT

However, there are still a few areas where artificial intelligence is limited, including storytelling. While AI has made significant progress in generating creative content, its ability to write interesting and emotionally charged stories is still very limited… or is it?

In this article, we’ll take a look at whether artificial intelligence can truly create a masterpiece. 

Can AI actually grasp the nuances of storytelling, or is it fundamentally limited by its lack of human experience and emotions? More importantly, will the next New York Times Bestseller be written by a human or a machine? 

Cases For AI’s Potential

Plot twist: Could AI be the next Shakespeare, Twain, or Christie? Let’s take a look at cases for AI’s potential first.

While many people are still skeptical, AI’s potential deserves some serious consideration. The most compelling argument is the fact that many artificial intelligence programs, like ChatGPT, are LLMs (Large Language Models), which means that they were trained and developed by inputting massive amounts of data from the internet, articles, repositories, and, of course, books. 

Or to put it simply, these AI tools are like super readers who have ‘read’ millions (if not trillions!) of books, giving them a vast database of knowledge to use when writing a story. Artificial intelligence can combine its capabilities and huge databases to write well-structured and surprisingly coherent narratives.

Another interesting idea is using artificial intelligence to copy the writing style of famous authors. Remember in the intro, we asked if AI could be the next Shakespeare? Although it might not come up with its own original ideas (yet!), artificial intelligence is smart enough to know the exact prose, vocabulary, and syntax that authors use — and mimic it almost flawlessly. Judge for yourself by asking ChatGPT to write a short story in the style of your favorite author and see if you can tell the difference!

Cases Against AI

While AI boasts some pretty impressive capabilities, it has one severe weakness that hinders its ability to craft truly compelling narratives: a lack of lived experiences and genuine emotions.

First and foremost, AI isn’t exactly known for its emotional intelligence or experiences (it’s a robot, after all!). It can’t draw upon experiences of personal heartbreak, anger, sadness, or elation — and therefore can’t translate these feelings into its writings. 

On a similar note, artificial intelligence struggles to grasp the subtleties of human communication and storytelling, such as sarcasm, humor, and plot twists. Without these elements, AI-generated stories often feel flat, predictable, and dare we say… boring? 

As we mentioned above, many of the most popular AI tools are LLM and have vast databases. Although this is definitely an advantage, it can also work against AI. Since artificial intelligence tools are a product of their training data, they can mimic and remix existing works but struggle to make something that’s truly original. In fact, this last point is a heated source of debate for many critics and experts in the field of AI and creativity.

A Third Option?

While there are arguments for and against artificial intelligence, let’s take a moment to introduce a third option: writers using AI as a sort of co-pilot for their stories. 

Perhaps the answer to the great AI Storytelling Debate lies in collaboration, not competition. Artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT, Gemini, and Jasper can take the ‘boring parts’ of writing out of the equation so that their (human) authors can focus on the creative aspect. For example, an author could ask AI to flesh out character development, come up with synonyms and other ways to write a certain passage, or brainstorm alternative dialogue ideas.

While this might also be the subject of debate, we’d like to argue that this collaborative approach doesn't diminish the role of the human author — rather, it elevates it. Artificial intelligence simply becomes another tool, an extension of the writer's creativity, that allows them to breathe life into their characters, explore bolder narratives, and ultimately write better stories.

So, will the next New York Times Bestseller be penned by a human, a machine, or a co-authored by both? Only time will tell. But one thing is certain: the future of storytelling is evolving, and AI will definitely have a big role. 

Sawaram Suthar (Sam) is a Founding Director at Middleware. He has extensive experience in marketing, team building and operations. He is often seen working on various GTM practices and implementing the best ones to generate more demand. He has also founded a digital marketing blog - TheNextScoop.

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