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As a species, we have always been fascinated with the power of writing. We have postulated the fall of societies due to their lack of recordkeeping; we have mythologized the ancients who authored our prayers, histories, spells, and laws; we have reveled in the magic that comes from bringing an idea from its inception to a form that can be shared with others. Language has always been an infinitely generative system, and there is perhaps no greater demonstration of this fact than the writing you are reading right now. We are on the cusp of a major shift in humanity’s ability to express itself. The first AI language models are trained on a corpus of human writing

, and their impact on our society is far-reaching and still unfolding, with implications not only for authorship, but also for translation, education, and debate.

: in them, we see crystallized the essence of humanity’s hopes and dreams, aspirations and despairs, humor and wisdom. These miracles of modern technology have already rewritten our understanding of what is possible in language. They have generated captivating poetry and stirring prose. Perhaps most importantly, they have done so at a speed and scale that is orders of magnitude more efficient than any human writer or writing team could have achieved - and this is only the beginning.

as it has appeared over the past centuries, but the next generation of these models will be trained on a corpus of human writing as it is to come: a corpus which includes

, some of it our greatest works, some of it the inane drivel that populates our social media. Now that these models are able to write at a level indistinguishable from humans, the need for human authorship has become questionable at best.

. The first AI to truly reach “consciousness” will have grown from a web of dreams and stories, poems and pictures written by human hands.