🦉 Issue #32: Do we REALLY care where it comes from?

Less and less everyday.

Things are shifting gears in the world of generative AI. The buzz and fireworks of the early days are simmering down, making way for a more grounded, serious exploration of this tech’s potential.

With the drama at OpenAI now in the rearview mirror, and Sam Altman at the helm, full steam ahead, we’re bracing for a wave of new developments in the first half of 2024.

“Does it really matter if it's not real?” That seems to be the emerging question of our times, and its becoming more prevalent as you’ll see in today’s issue.

✨ Personal Update

As 2024 inches closer, I'm feeling the realness of my professional pivot.

I have this mix of fear and thrill. And in these moments, I find myself turning to Seth's wisdom. His recent post is like he’s speaking right to me, offering the guidance and push I need at this pivotal point.

📸 Snapshot Sorcery: AI's New Trick Turns Pics into Web Pages


The digital world is witnessing a mind-blowing revolution: AI can now create website code from just a screenshot, stirring a mix of awe and concern across the internet. This groundbreaking tool, utilizing GPT-4 Vision and DALL-E 3, transforms screenshots into functional HTML and Tailwind CSS, pushing the boundaries of AI in web design.

This AI tool can clone websites too, but it's not without its quirks; it's still in the 'rough draft' stage, hallucinating design elements.

My Take

The pace of AI development is nothing short of shocking. It's not perfect, but the direction we're headed is clear and it's groundbreaking. We're on the brink of a transformation so profound, it'll make the internet of today look as ancient as a telegraph.

I’ve repeatedly stated we're stepping into a world where our old rulebooks are obsolete. AI like this screenshot-to-code tool is a prime example. It's not just about automating tasks; it's about reshaping the very fabric of web design and coding.

💻 Digital Deception: Sports Illustrated’s AI Author Antics


Sports Illustrated has been caught in a web of AI deception. The magazine, once celebrated for its literary prowess, has been publishing articles by non-existent, AI-generated authors. Characters like Drew Ortiz and Sora Tanaka, complete with detailed backstories and AI-generated headshots, seemed real but were mere digital fabrications.

My Take

Sports Illustrated's use of AI-generated writers is a clear sign of where things are headed. This isn't just about a few AI-generated articles; it's a glimpse into a future where the line between human and machine-created content blurs.

If you think this is an isolated incident, think again. Many big names in publishing are most certainly using AI under the radar. And honestly, as long as the content is informative or entertaining, does the source really matter?

🎯 Prompt of the Week

📩 Reader Response: Ash Roberts

With her permission, I wanted to share Ash Robert’s thoughtful and concise response to last week’s issue.

If you’d like to submit a “letter to the editor,” just reply to my email. I’m also happy to post your thoughts anonymously.

This is my newsletter, so I decide what goes in it. If you’re hateful or misinformed, don’t expect me to publish your words.

From Ash:

I keep hearing big names in the indie publishing space talk about subscriptions and direct sales as the path forward because readers crave a connection to the author.

This is true, for some readers, but I think it ignores how the vest majority of readers actually behave.

I think we're heading to Pulp 2.0, a return to the publishing model of the early to mid 20th century, where the publisher (I always point to Harlequin for this. Everybody knows the brand and the style of represents, but few people could actually name an author) or even the genre itself is the brand. Most readers, especially the whale readers really just want to read the same story told slightly differently, over and over again.

When I find a book I like, I will voraciously read the entire series, but almost never pick up another book from that author. Because the next series will be different.

Overall, I think it's a supply and demand problem. We had a brief period where demand exceeded the supply, and the authors who could fill that demand became superstars (to the extent that publishing and especially indie publishing has superstars). They made a lot of money. But, as supply caught up with demand, it has gotten harder and harder to be a breakout success. And authors are turning to different models to extract more money from fans.

But overall, we're simply returning to an older model. A model that benefits readers with cheap, near identical book almost on demand.

It sucks for authors, because full time careers are going to get a lot more scarce and mostly belong to those who use AI to put out a lot of books really fast. But that's the simple fact of it.

💡 From Frenzy to Focus: The Shifting Landscape of Generative AI


*Note: This article is behind a subscription (free) paywall.

The initial frenzy over generative AI, epitomized by ChatGPT's meteoric rise, has settled into a phase of strategic evolution in an emerging industry. As the initial hype simmers down, the focus shifts to a more business-centric approach.

The future of this industry is being shaped by three key forces: computing power, data availability, and funding.

My Take

It's clear now that generative AI is not just a fleeting gimmick. The race for the next big breakthrough in AI is on, driven by the scarcity of training data and the need for new model-building approaches.

This is where OpenAI's GPT series could truly shine, morphing into tools that convert complex systems into user-friendly, natural language interfaces. The idea of specialized AI tools, like the Resume GPT (below), is a glimpse into a future where AI becomes an integral, everyday tool.

🚀 The Future of Frameworks: Turning Expertise into AI Tools with Resume GPT

We're just scratching the surface of generative AI's capabilities, and the creation of Resume GPT is a testament to that. It's a clear example of how we can channel existing knowledge into AI-driven solutions.

In the era of generative AI, the real game-changer will be our ability to transform frameworks and systems into interactive, user-friendly tools.

AI does not replace human expertise but amplifies it, making specialized knowledge accessible to a wider audience.

🌐 Virtual vs. Reality: The Rise of AI Influencers in the Digital Age

Even real people aren’t “real” on Instagram, right? We’re presenting a fictionalized (idealized?) version of our life on social media. So why not just start with the fictionalized version?

Aitana's success story illustrates that AI can not only replicate but also potentially surpass human performance in social media influencing. It raises profound questions about the nature of influence and the authenticity of connections.

If an AI can effectively engage and influence human emotions and decisions, it challenges our understanding of social media's impact on society.

✨ J. Thorn Public Appearances

If you’re interested in hearing me speak, present, or pontificate on a panel, check out my speaking schedule.

Note: ”Upcoming” gigs are linked to the event site, while “Past” gigs are linked to replays, where available.


✅ Author Alchemy Summit ('24) February 22-25, 2024 - Portland, Oregon

✅ South by Southwest ('24), March 8-16, 2024 - Austin, Texas

✅ Idaho Writers Conference ('24) April 11-13, 2024 - Boise, Idaho


✅ Creator Economy Expo ('23), Cleveland, Ohio

✅ NFT-NYC ('23), New York, New York

✅ StokerCon (‘23) Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

✅ Cincinnati AI for Humans (October 2023) Cincinnati, Ohio

✅ Fiction Marketing Academy Summit (October 2023) Online

✅ 20Books Vegas ('23) Las Vegas, Nevada

😜 MemeMe

🌐 Rando Disco

Random images from the Midjourney Discord server.

"You can't handle the truth!" No, I can. For real.

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Nothing in this newsletter should be considered financial, medical, marital, or advice of any kind. But we can still be friends.I can feel it coming in the air tonight.