Your Daily Bard

PG is going to play with Google Bard for a bit to see how it might perform as an assistant to an author.

He recognizes that Bard is most definitely a work in progress and is not in the same league as even a mediocre author.

PG will do this off and on for a bit. If you think it is a boring mistake, feel free to skip it and/or contact PG to tell him to stop wasting your time.

Below, you’ll find PG’s prompt and three alternative responses from Bard.

Prompt: Write the first chapter of a contemporary spy thriller set in New York City

First Response

Chapter 1

The city lights twinkled like stars in the night sky as Anya slipped through the shadows of Central Park. She was dressed in black, her movements silent and precise. She had been trained to be invisible, to blend into the background and disappear at a moment’s notice.

Tonight, she was on a mission.

She had received a tip from her handler, a mysterious man named Raven, that a high-stakes arms deal was going down in the park. Anya was tasked with infiltrating the deal and gathering as much intelligence as possible.

She made her way to the clearing where the deal was supposed to take place. It was deserted, save for a few pigeons roosting in the trees. Anya waited patiently, her senses on high alert.

After a few minutes, she heard the sound of footsteps approaching. She ducked behind a tree and watched as two figures emerged from the darkness. They were both men, dressed in expensive suits and sunglasses.

One of the men carried a briefcase. Anya’s heart skipped a beat. She knew that briefcase contained the weapons that were the subject of the deal.

The two men stopped in the middle of the clearing. They exchanged a few words, then the man with the briefcase opened it and revealed a cache of weapons inside.

Anya watched as the other man inspected the weapons. He seemed satisfied. He nodded to the man with the briefcase, then reached into his jacket pocket.

Anya knew what was coming next. The other man was about to pay for the weapons. She had to act fast.

She burst out from behind the tree and tackled the man with the briefcase to the ground. The other man spun around, his hand reaching for a gun.

Anya was quicker. She drew her own gun and pointed it at the man’s head.

“Freeze!” she ordered.

The man froze, his eyes wide with fear.

Anya turned to the man on the ground. He had dropped the briefcase and was now struggling to get up.

“Don’t move,” she warned.

She walked over to the briefcase and opened it. Inside, she saw a variety of weapons, including assault rifles, handguns, and grenades.

Anya knew that this was a major bust. She had stopped a dangerous arms deal and prevented these weapons from falling into the wrong hands.

But she also knew that her work was far from over. The people behind this deal were still out there, and they would be looking for her.

She had to get out of here, and fast.

She turned to the two men. “You’re both under arrest,” she said.

She handcuffed them both and then called for backup.

A few minutes later, a police car arrived. Anya briefed the officers on what had happened, and they took the two men into custody.

Anya watched as the police car drove away. She took a deep breath and sighed with relief. She had done it. She had stopped the arms deal and saved the day.

But she knew that this was just the beginning. The real danger was still out there.

She turned and walked away, disappearing into the shadows of Central Park.

Second Response

Chapter 1

The night was cold and blustery, the wind whipping through the streets of New York City like a banshee. A lone figure stood in the shadows of a doorway, hunched against the cold. His eyes scanned the street, alert for any sign of trouble.

The man’s name was Alex Stone, and he was a spy. He worked for the CIA, and he was very good at his job. But tonight, he was worried. He had been tasked with a dangerous mission, and he knew that the stakes were high.

Alex’s mission was to infiltrate a secret meeting of a group of terrorists who were planning an attack on the United States. The terrorists were meeting in a penthouse apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and Alex had managed to get himself invited.

But now, as he stood in the doorway, he was having second thoughts. He knew that the terrorists were dangerous, and he wasn’t sure if he was ready to face them. But he also knew that he couldn’t back out now. The lives of innocent people were at stake.

Alex took a deep breath and stepped out of the doorway. He walked down the street, blending in with the crowd. He kept his head down and his eyes on the ground, so as not to attract attention.

When he reached the apartment building, he went inside and took the elevator to the penthouse. He knocked on the door, and a moment later it was opened by a man with a shaved head and a goatee.

“Alex Stone?” the man asked.

“That’s me,” Alex said.

“Welcome,” the man said. “Come in.”

Alex stepped inside the apartment. It was large and luxurious, with floor-to-ceiling windows that offered a breathtaking view of the city skyline. The apartment was filled with people, all of them well-dressed and sophisticated.

Alex scanned the room, looking for the leader of the terrorists. He spotted him in the corner, talking to a group of men. The leader was a tall, imposing man with a black beard. He was wearing a dark suit and tie.

Alex made his way over to the leader and introduced himself.

“Alex Stone,” he said. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“The pleasure is mine,” the leader said. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”

“I hope it’s all good,” Alex said.

“It is,” the leader said. “I’m confident that you’ll be a valuable asset to our team.”

Alex smiled. He had infiltrated the meeting, and he was now one step closer to completing his mission. But he knew that the real danger was still ahead.

To be continued...

Third Response

Chapter 1: The Drop

The rain in New York City was relentless, pounding on the pavement and sidewalks like a thousand tiny fists. It was a cold, blustery night, and the city streets were deserted.

A lone figure stood in the shadows of a doorway, watching the rain fall. He was tall and lean, with dark hair and piercing blue eyes. He wore a black trench coat and a fedora hat, pulled low over his brow.

His name was Jake Stone, and he was a spy.

Stone had been watching this particular doorway for the past two hours. He knew that a drop was scheduled to take place here tonight, and he was determined to intercept it.

The drop was a routine intelligence exchange between Stone’s agency, the CIA, and the Russian intelligence agency, the FSB. It was a delicate operation, and the slightest mistake could lead to disaster.

Stone’s heart pounded in his chest as he watched the seconds tick by. He knew that the drop was due any minute now.

Suddenly, a black van pulled up to the curb. The door opened and a man in a suit got out. He was carrying a briefcase.

The man looked around cautiously, then walked over to the doorway where Stone was hiding.

“Stone?” he whispered.

Stone nodded.

“The package,” the man said, handing over the briefcase.

Stone took the briefcase and checked it. It was heavy and locked.

“Thank you,” he said.

The man turned and walked back to the van. He got in and the van drove away.

Stone waited a few minutes, then he stepped out of the doorway and into the rain. He walked down the street, careful to stay in the shadows.

He knew that the Russians would be following him, but he didn’t care. He had the package, and that was all that mattered.

Stone turned a corner and entered a small alleyway. He stopped and looked around. There was no one in sight.

He quickly unlocked the briefcase and opened it. Inside was a stack of papers.

Stone took out the top sheet and scanned it. It was a list of names and addresses.

He recognized some of the names immediately. They were the names of high-ranking Russian officials.

Stone smiled. This was a major breakthrough.

He quickly put the papers back in the briefcase and locked it. Then he turned and walked out of the alleyway.

He knew that he had to get the package to his superiors as quickly as possible. But first, he needed to find a place to hide.

Stone looked around and saw a small hotel across the street. He quickly crossed the street and went inside.

He checked into a room and went up to his floor. He unlocked the door and stepped inside.

He closed the door behind him and locked it. Then he placed the briefcase on the bed and sat down next to it.

He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He had done it. He had intercepted the drop.

But he knew that the job wasn’t over yet. The Russians would be looking for him, and they would stop at nothing to get the package back.

Stone stood up and walked to the window. He looked down at the street below.

He knew that he had to be careful. But he also knew that he couldn’t let the Russians win.

He had to get the package to his superiors, no matter what.

14 thoughts on “Your Daily Bard”

  1. I think I will never understand the propensity of many successful writers (and others) to teach those coming along behind them that dependence on crutches or easy ways out like generative AI instead is a good thing.

    They could just as easily attempt to instill or shore-up others’ self-confidence and teach independence rather than dependence.

    Writers who believe in themselves and trust the characters to tell the story that they, not the writer, are living will always write original, authentic stories. Those who don’t, won’t.

    • I suspect authors will not be as good at using these tools as computer people and project managers. These guys will enter the market as producers rather than authors. They don’t give a hoot about belief in themselves, trust in their characters, or authentic stories. They will be marketing a product. Consumers will decide.

      • Perhaps you’re right. Perhaps these “authors” simply don’t care about craft, and to them, plagiarism is as good as originality. Perhaps being an old guy still in possession of a moral compass, I’ve simply been barking up the wrong tree.

        • I see it like hand woodworkers and machine woodworkers.

          Hand guys do everything with hand tools. They don’t have a machine or power tool in the shop. They have great skill, and create beautiful things.

          When powered table saws, planers, jointers, skill saws, and sanders became available, they allowed a person who did not have the hand tool skills to create very good work.

          They are two different approaches to creating the same product. One might show how the hand cut dovetails allowed the craftsman to vary their size and create a design with the joint. Then a few years later Icra Jig has a $500 set-up that allows the same by dialing in the numbers.

            • There is definitely a place for the craftsman, and there are people who appreciate the custom work. There are many more who look at prices and go straight to particle board at Ikea. Individual tastes and preferences.

          • I respectfully disagree.

            I consider the spell checker, dictionary and thesaurus tools of the trade, and the language itself, of course.

            Using generative AI to “generate” a story on which some “writer” slaps his or her name is more like a “carpenter” using a 3D printer to print wood-like furniture, then putting his mark on it and passing it off as oak or mahogany.

            Certainly not trying to change anyone’s mind. Just giving readers a different viewpoint to consider.

            • Fair.
              Just remember there are other uses for the tech. It can, and will, be a tool for story creators, not a replacement, even it its output didn’t read like a middle school kid’s first draft.

              If anybody were content with LLM output, why would they pay for it? Just go to the app. That’s what happened with KINDLE WORLDS. Instead of paying for glorified fanfic, the target audience went for the free fanfic online. Readers aren’t stupid; they know KDP has free samples.

            • Sure. CNC routers became widely available to woodworkers about eight years ago. Since then, they have become better and cheaper. One can generate plans on a CAD program, and then have the CNC router turn out one or ten at a time,

              Here’s a general description from Rockler. The machines are also available from Woodcraft, the major woodworking specialty company in the US.

              Cut the pieces on a CNC, assemble, and slap your name on them. Just like AI, they become better and better.

    • Bottom feeders are a big market. The first “Mack the Bastard Bolan” book was published in 1969. Since then 631 different Bolan books have sold about 225 million copies. I suspect AI could churn them out one after another.

      • I don’t doubt it.
        But what tool will they use? An expensive custom tool or a publicly available one like BARD? Custom LLM tools aren’t cheap to build or operate. And those 225M books over 55years, paperbacks, work out to 4.1M a year. At low single digit margins they might not break even on a custom app trained to the house style.

        If a generic app, then the readers can use it too: “BARD, write me a 30,000 word story of Mack Bolan infiltrating and destroying a human traficking ring in Chicago.”

        Mack Bolan fanfiction is already out:

        Are the IP owners going to fight everybody using a bot to “write” a story for *them*?

        Just because something can be done doesn’t mean there is a viable business doing it.

        • Four million a year is a pretty nice deal. Mack isn’t Harry Potter, but he’s steady.

          I don’t know what tool they will use. I doubt it exists now. But, I am confident it will exist within ten years.

          That generic app is where all this is going. Make-A-Book. Make it easy. A bunch of check boxes for characters, race, location, genre, theme, etc. Or make your own. Readers choice. Some will be good at priming the generator, and others will be terrible. Some will like the output, some won’t. That’s fine.

          There is an idea that economic advancement in the last 500 years has been the continual elimination of transaction costs. Make-A -Book follows along that path.

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