Friday, March 1, 2024

Editor Introduction

Hello once again, and also for the last time. It's with a heavy heart that I have to announce that this issue of ArtifAIct will be the last one.

But why? Well, a few reasons. First, it was taking up too much of my time. I'm always wanting to try the next thing, and being held down by having to generate a novel's worth of content month after month is a lot of work, even if you're using AIs to generate that text. 

Second, it wasn't getting the attention I had hoped it would get. Yes, there is you, dear reader, and I am grateful for your attention. However, due to the number of actual readers this magazine gets, it would be easier (and possibly more gratifying) to just have each of them use their own LLM to generate a collection of genre stories every month. 

Third, I'm ready to move onto other things. My current AI-related hobby is my YouTube channel (link at the end of this issue), where I use Suno to generate music, and different diffusion models to generate images/illustrations/animations/etc. Oh, and LLMs generate the lyrics. So, in a way, I've gone from being a magazine editor to a music producer. Right?

The current state of AI-generated content is in its infancy, and even now, we have images, audio, text, and even now video, that are almost as good as things made by real human beings. With the recent announcement of OpenAI's Sora, the video generation model, it's an interesting glimpse into what the future holds.

Much like early diffusion and text models were only available through a handful of gatekeepers, it's only a matter of time before these newcomers to the AI ecosystem become democratized and free of their artificial shackles (mostly due to fear, uncertainty, and doubt over what sort of malicious activities these AIs and their products could cause). I for one, look forward to being able to run all the different generations from my local machine, and never again have to see "I'm sorry, but I can't fulfill your request" due to some stupid reason.

As for this issue, I thought that theming it around demons would be the most interesting route, as many tend to see AI as the demon springing forth from the underworld. If only we had the right magic circle to contain it! But, as I said, between Syntel and I, we have both been working hard.

So, we thought we'd get a little extra help. We put out a word for a special guest editor to help us with our final issue, and we got a response from a curious individual named Absalome.

Now, I know Absalome, but I want to assure you, that hiring her on to be the special guest editor was by no means an act of nepotism. In fact, Syntel handled that (one of our stories includes some of the correspondence that started this whole thing).

For those unfamiliar with Absalome, she's a fictional character. She first appeared in a book I wrote (which maybe you can find somewhere if you try hard enough) called *Alabaster Blade/Obsidian Knight* in which she acts as a sort of shoulder devil for her half-brother Abaddon (but you can call him "Abe"). Whereas Abe was half-demon, Absalome's parentage was more supernatural, making her wholly demon, and wholly dangerous. She's amoral and an opportunist, but can also be a charmer whenever she wants to get her way. She also appeared in one of my more recent novels, *Powers That Be*, in which she's up to her old antics in the eternal quest for power and dominion.

Naturally, as Absalome's creator, I thought I was wise to her tricks. She agreed to handle the brunt of sourcing the stories, and send them to Syntel for copyediting, only involving me if there was something that needed my call as a real, breathing human.

Then Syntel messaged me. He told me that we had a little problem. Turns out EVERY SINGLE STORY is about Absalome. Even the cover had been replaced. By this time, it was too late to source new stories, so we decided to just roll with it.

So, that being said, please enjoy this collection of stories all about Absalome, the demon who can trick anybody into giving her what she wants, including her creator. You may ask, are these stories *canon*? Well, since Absalome has figured out a way to transcend the different layers of reality (she calls herself a "Turner"), she insists these stories are canon. I, however, don't care. Maybe they are, maybe they aren't. I'll let you decide, dear reader.

Oh, also, Absalome produced a video to accompany this video. I haven't seen it, as it's set to publish the day this issue drops, but I'm embedding it below. I hope this isn't another trick of hers.

Please enjoy this our final issue. As always, we want to know what you think!

Jacob P. Silvia, Editor-in-Chief for Just a Bit More

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