4/9/2024 - Technology and Innovation

Artificial intelligence in the publishing world

By María Navarro

Artificial intelligence in the publishing world

Cover supposedly made with artificial intelligence by the publishing house Planeta, by author Katherine J. Chen

Artificial intelligence in the publishing world

If the last few years have left us with anything, it is the overwhelming presence of AI in every aspect in which we develop as a society. There is no field that is exempt, medicine, sports, education, even art and creativity, everything and more has in one way or another the imprint of an AI that is advancing by leaps and bounds.

Evidently the subject of the 21st century could not be exempt from controversy, the last one touches me in particular as it is related to a universe that is not alien to me: the publishing world. For as long as I can remember I have been a voracious reader, I have read everything that was put in front of my eyes, I have seen the same book in different editions, with different publishers and even a plurality of translations.

What I had not seen in more than 26 years as a reader is a literary cover generated by Artificial Intelligence, and this happened less than a month ago, in Spain with the label Destino, which belongs to the monopoly of Planeta, the reactions were not long in coming and the debates are multiple and infinite. What will happen to the illustrators? Using AI to make a cover of one of the most anticipated books of the season is not precarizing the work of hundreds of people? Will AI be in charge of the covers of the books from now on? And above all, is this ethical?

Instead of providing a solution and an answer to so many questions, the solution fuels the debate: Will AI kill jobs? Isn't publishing one of the worst paid niches of the industrial era? And what's more, does it make the few jobs available more precarious?

It all started when illustrator David López, who has worked for Marvel as a cartoonist for the Capitana Marvel series, posted on the social network X (formerly Twitter) a message that supposedly shows that the cover had been designed by an AI, with its respective image where he points out the mistakes that were made, because of course, the creation of images through artificial intelligence is still an area that is being worked on, and that undoubtedly throws up certain errors that are perfectly perceptible to an attentive eye (or expert, as is the case of López).

For its part, the publisher Planeta, responsible for the publication, assures that the cover design was made by a designer from the team using design programs that include artificial intelligence tools. They claim that there is always a human team behind the covers, but have not provided additional information on the possible involvement of AI in the design.

X was not long in coming, and neither was the barrage of messages and repercussions. Beyond the buggy cover, what's going on invites me to think: Is there an operating system that can recreate or imagine the inner worlds contained in the books? I think not, and although I am passionate about AI, and I am sure it is the most innovative and revolutionary discovery of the last century, however, I am also a reader who believes in the craftsmanship of the book, in the execution of the book from its first ideas until it goes to print.

I don't know what the future holds, but with the information I have now, I am sure that books will continue to remain unscathed, eternal, as the last bastion, whether there is Artificial Intelligence or not.

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María Navarro

María Navarro

Venezuelan, living in Argentina. I am eternally curious and passionate about education, voracious reader since I can remember, I am dedicated to the dissemination of literature on IG through @LosLibrosDeAleli.

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