You Just Found Out Your Book Was NOT Used to Train AI. What Now? by Max Talley

Try their search engine again. And again. Nothing? Okay, take a deep breath and calm down (has that ever worked for anyone?). 

You may have noticed this hits different than your multiple rejections from those high-paying literary magazines. Yes, it’s both crushing and damn insulting to realize your writing, your books—some that can be downloaded for free—have not been used to school our future robot overlords in replacing us as writers. What kind of inhuman bastard bitches are they?

Don’t beat yourself up about it. Only 183,000 books were used. That means a few hundred others published since the Gutenberg Bible in 1455 were left out too. You are not alone! Repeat to yourself: my novels are worthy of being devoured, plagiarized, of being mixed together in some cosmic stew of Joyce Carol Oates, James Joyce and E. L. James. Say it aloud: I can be of brief use to the new nonhuman world order. I’m good enough, I’m smart enough…

We writers know that any such public rejection in the literary world is painful, comparable to combining brain surgery and a colonoscopy without anesthesia. Feelings of rage-jealousy against “friends” on social media who made the cut instead of you is perfectly normal. Then you watch helplessly as scads of folks are living their best lives signing online petitions, attending virtual protest marches and showing solidarity with the anger emoji. All part of a worthy cause. While you review each book you wrote that took years of your life away but didn’t pass muster with chatbots, androids, cyborgs, the Terminator, or even Japanese sex robots…

Keep at it. A few more novels and you might capture their all-consuming attention. Ignore that whining inner voice: Matt Jagoff and Karyn Merkin write absolute, utter crap and they made the grade. What kind of jerkwater, illiterate bots would prefer them over me?

Buck up. Eventually, everything ever written will be swallowed and regurgitated by these monsters. You will be included. Just wait. If you ever felt overwhelmed that you had a tiny bit of control over your destiny, over your life, well, that’s cured. The only good news is, pretty much everyone is in the same boat: writers, poets, screenwriters, copywriters. 

Instead of fearing the conquering whims of foreign countries, public apathy toward climate change or lurches to the right in our own unstable government, we can now focus on billionaire tech bros who totally have our backs as they pour vast amounts of money into AI research and development—despite the vocal protest of scientists, politicians and pretty much everyone else on the planet—because they can.

Leave a Reply