by Elizabeth Wilkerson
Who Wrote This?
With equal parts dread and curiosity, I’ve been reading about people who create poems, screenplays, and even novels using artificial intelligence programs like Jasper and ChatGPT.
In the lineup of author tools, a dictionary, thesaurus, spellchecker, and the ability to track changes in a document sit on the four-cylinder end of the continuum. On the way, way far opposite end are prose-generating robots powered by artificial intelligence. Futuristic Ferraris. The tech geek in me couldn’t resist going for a test drive.
All I had to do was give the AI program a prompt (instructions about what I wanted it to write) and then hand over the keys.
I asked — commanded? — the AI to rewrite the opening of an old short story of mine. Seconds later, out popped a perfectly formatted introductory scene, complete with an intriguing plot twist. And damned if I didn’t like the AI-generated version better than mine.
But, it got me thinking: whose voice was being channeled by the AI computer program?
Researchers are discovering that works generated by AI algorithms reflect the cultural biases of the AI’s creators. And genetically encoded in that culture are intractable evils like racism, sexism, and a Pandora’s box of other prejudices.
The cultural norms and assumptions of the AI’s creators provide the fodder the algorithms are fed. If the programmers have a skewed worldview, not surprisingly, the output of their creations includes that bias.
As computer scientists say, GIGO. Garbage In, Garbage Out.
Recently, some novelists have taken to hiring sensitivity readers to flag stereotypes and offensive representations in the authors’ works before the books get published. Proofreading for prejudice.
But where are the sensitivity readers — content filters — for AI robots?
We’re careening headlong toward a world where fiction, visual art, and even music are created by machines. Computers that draw their robotic inspiration from flawed data that incorporates systemic prejudices, unchallenged.
The AI needs a computerized sensitivity reader. And human readers need to bring a discerning and critical eye, watchful for machine-learned hatred, bigotry, and misinformation.
The works by Crime Writers of Color present authentic voices, wonderfully and humanly diverse. Welcome the new year by checking out our new and upcoming releases!
The Blue Bar by Damyanti Biswas
Release Date: January 1, 2023, Thomas & Mercer
On the dark streets of Mumbai, the paths of a missing dancer, a serial killer, and an inspector with a haunted past converge in an evocative thriller about lost love and murderous obsession.
Hide by Tracy Clark
Release Date: January 2, 2023, Thomas & Mercer
When a young red-haired woman is found brutally murdered in downtown Chicago, one detail stands out: the red lipstick encircling her wrists and ankles. Detective Harriet Foster is on the case. As a Black woman in a male-dominated department, Foster anticipates a rocky road ahead acclimating to a new team. In her desperate race to catch the murderer before they strike again, Foster will have to confront the darkest of secrets—including her own.
The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes
Release Date: January 3, 2023, Dutton
A debut thriller about the subtlety of memory and manipulation, in which a young woman must find her way back to a mysterious cabin in the woods, armed with only hazy, haunting memories and a half-written book by the father in Guatemala she never knew, to finally uncover the truth that could save her.
Against the Currant: A Spice Isle Bakery Mystery, Book 1 by Olivia Matthews
Release Date: January 27, 2023, St. Martins Press
When a rival baker is killed after dishing threats against a family-owned West Indian bakery, the bakery’s hot-tempered manager is the prime suspect. Will her plan to clear her name pass the taste test or will it prove to be a recipe for disaster?
Ruined by Ava S. King
Release Date: January 27, 2023, 304 Publishing Company
Andi looks forward to a fun-filled night at her best friend’s wedding. But when the newly minted analyst assigned to the Terrorist Threat Assessment Team arrives, her plans quickly unravel. The bride’s uncle, a longtime prominent Senator, is kidnapped. Andi jumps into action to rescue him, but as she follows the clues, she discovers the victim has secrets—dark secrets that change everything. Will she solve this baffling case before it’s too late?
Double the Lies: An Annalee Spain Mystery #2 by Patricia Raybon
Release Date: February 7, 2023, Tynedale
In the cold and dangerous spring of 1924, amateur detective Annalee Spain races the clock to solve the murder of a young, white, barnstorming pilot before the clever Black theologian, a target of the ruthless Colorado Klan, is framed for the crime while lured by the risky flirtations of the victim’s dashing twin brother.
The Foreign Exchange by Veronica G. Henry
Release Date: February 28, 2023, 47th North
A Vodou priestess turned amateur sleuth investigating a ritual murder is embroiled in an insidious case of corruption that reaches beyond the shadows of New Orleans.
Time’s Undoing by Cheryl A Head
Release Date: February 28, 2023, Dutton
A searing and tender novel about a young Black journalist’s search for answers in the unsolved murder of her great-grandfather in segregated Birmingham, Alabama, decades ago—inspired by the author’s own family history.
Murder In Gemini by Michelle Corbier
Release Date: March 7, 2023
When the twin sister of a Greensboro Women of Color Writing Group member suddenly dies, Myaisha suspects murder. A unique necklace and a newspaper photo point to several suspects. With the assistance of her writing group, she investigates the homicide while navigating a romantic affair.
The Raven Thief by Gigi Pandian
Release Date: March 21, 2023, Minotaur
One murder. Four impossibilities. A fake séance hides a very real crime. Tempest Raj returns in locked-room mystery The Raven Thief, where sliding bookcases, trick tables, and hidden reading nooks hide a sinister puzzle. Secret Staircase Construction just finished their first project with Tempest officially a part of the team?a classic mystery novel-themed home interior. The housewarming party is all lighthearted fun until a real dead body crashes the mock séance.
Catching the Carling Lake Killer by K.D. Richards
Release Date: March 28, 2023, Harlequin Intrigue
Journalist Simone Jarrett and Carling Lake sheriff Lance Webb have kept their casual affair clandestine to avoid gossip. But as his feelings for Simone deepen, Lance is troubled by the knowledge that she’s hiding something. Then, after twenty years, the Card Killer strikes again. And Simone’s secret puts her in the killer’s sights. Now the two must team up to find the murderer…and save Simone’s life.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode went up this week.
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