I’ve always been drawn to the potential of using artificial intelligence to augment and enhance the creative process. When I started working on my podcast series “Lights in the Old Fort: A Symphonic Mystery Adventure” with my brother back in 2014, I never could have predicted the journey it would take me on.
The podcast was a grandiose, multi-layered production featuring music, sound effects, and over three dozen voice actors. It had all of the ingredients for a Hollywood blockbuster - except for one thing: an audience. Despite its high production value, the six-part series was released in 2018 to little fanfare or acclaim.
But I didn’t give up on my baby. This year, I decided to take on the challenge of turning “Lights in the Old Fort” into a novel. I started by converting the first 10 chapters of the podcast script line-by-line myself, but I quickly realized that this process would take an incredibly long time to complete for what more and more seemed like a vanity project.
That’s when I had a hypothesis: could I train GPT-3 to help me write the rest of the novel?
First I created a fine-tuned model using lines in the podcast script as prompts, and the equivalent lines of narration and dialogue from the novel as the completions.
The results were astounding: the machine produced passages that flowed smoothly from one scene to another and even introduced new characters convincingly. In other words, if you didn’t know better, you might think a human wrote them too - albeit with some help from an extremely smart computer program.
But the process of turning the AI’s output into a coherent novel was far from easy. Not only did it take months of fine-tuning and curating to get the output to a point where it could be incorporated into the book, but the costs were also significant. As a fine-tuned model, GPT-3 was vastly more expensive to use than the general models, and I estimate that I spent close to $2000 or more on processing costs alone.
But despite the challenges, I was addicted to the process. In every line, I felt like I was able to keep tweaking until I got the optimal version of the idea or emotion I was trying to convey. It was like shopping in a mall with infinite stores, each one with something that looks great and fits you, but the next store is just as likely to have something that might look even better. You’re just about guaranteed to win something with every pull of the handle, but there’s always a chance you’re one away from the jackpot. How do you know when you’re done?
The end result of this process is “Lights in the Old Fort: A Novel,” a novel that is the first and most extensive project of its kind. It’s a seamless blend of human and machine writing that I think is truly remarkable, and I hope you’ll all agree.
The novel is the my attempt to a capture a narrative as vivid and intricately woven as the podcast’s unique lush musical score. I can’t wait for you all to read the final product and see what you think.
I’m eager and terrified to see what the future holds and how technology like GPT-3 can continue to enhance and augment the creative process. It’s an exciting time to be a data scientist, and I can’t wait to see what the final product will look like once it’s been edited and revised. It’s been a long journey, but it’s been worth it to see the collaboration between human and machine writing come to life. I’m excited to share it with all of you and see what you think.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to have used GPT-3 so extensively and to be among the first to use the cutting-edge technology behind this project. It’s truly an exciting time to be a data scientist and see how AI can continue to enhance and augment the creative process. I can’t wait to see what the future holds and what the next generation of AI has in store for us.
So stay tuned for updates on the release of “Lights in the Old Fort,” It’s going to be a wild ride, and I can’t wait to share it with the world! https://brothercast.net/