what would happen if you asked an AI chatbot if it has read your book?
such a question was posed of Google’s Bard, “Are you familiar with the book ‘Clouds
Over Bishop Hill’?”
Here was Bard’s
”Yes, I am familiar
with the book Clouds Over Bishop Hill by Mary R. Davidsaver. It is a
mystery novel set in the small town of Bishop Hill, Illinois, a former Swedish
communal society. The story follows Shelley Anderson, a young woman who is
trying to escape Bishop Hill and go to college. However, she is drawn into a
mystery when she discovers a long-lost painting by the folk artist Olof Krans.
The book is well-written and suspenseful, and it
provides a fascinating glimpse into the history and culture of Bishop Hill.
Davidsaver does a great job of developing her characters and creating a sense
of place. The book is also full of interesting details about Swedish folk art
Clouds Over Bishop Hill is a great read for
fans of mystery novels, historical fiction, and books with strong female
characters. It is also a good choice for readers who are interested in learning
more about Swedish culture and history.
I hope this information is helpful. Please let me know
if you have any other questions.”
It’s polite, flattering, and obviously
an edited mixture of the back cover blurb and a few quotes.
I wouldn’t have expected the AI to
have read my work with enough care to offer up digested thoughts and views of
any depth, but this was competently done and even in present tense. Heaven
knows I’d be hard pressed to write something about myself that came off so nice.
The kicker for me was the tag-end
“Bard may display inaccurate info,
including about people, so double-check its responses.”
Not being able to leave well enough
alone, I had to pose a similar question to Microsoft’s Bing.
Here was that response:
I have heard of Clouds
Over Bishop Hill by Mary R. Davidsaver. It is a novel
about Shelley Anderson, who wants to escape Bishop Hill, a former Midwestern
Swedish communal society, by earning her college diploma. However, a reckless
driver sends her off the road and into the mysterious past of folk artist Olof
Krans. Drafted into finding Krans’s last painting, her only clues are an old
woman’s dreams and an uncle’s guilty conscience. Shelley navigates between
museums and restaurants trying to determine if the old woman’s cloud-inspired
dreams of Krans’s 1915 studio are real. She’s not the only one on the hunt for
the lost Krans. After 93 years,
how dangerous will it be to actually discover it? 12
If you have read the book,
I would love to hear your thoughts on it!
Again, that’s straight off the back cover with a little bit of editing. But what about the last bit? The invitation for further engagement? Who’s it after? The author? The reader? More training info for its database? Your guess is as good as mine, and with all the current turmoil centered around ChatGPT one does have to wonder how things will shake out.