Artificial Intelligence and Black Literature

(NOTE: This article is not to bash anyone who uses AI. I am merely speaking my thoughts and opinions surrounding the topic.)

What it do Sistah Girls! It feels like I set my Goodreads goal just yesterday and now here we are almost finished with the year 2024. In the words of Deborah Cox, “How did we get here?”

Deborah Cox Wtf GIF by BET Plus

As the spirit of pondering rests upon me, I think it is high time we address the artificial elephant in the room. Get those little readers tucked in, pour up a glass or two of your favorite fermented grapes, and let’s have a little chit-chat. 

Sistah Girls, today’s question that needs answering: Will artificial intelligence have a bad impact on Black literature?

A Little History

According to an article on, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is “technology that enables computers and machines to simulate human intelligence and problem-solving capabilities.”

Much like the sixth month of this year, AI seems to have happened in the blink of an eye. However, the seedling for this groundbreaking technology was first planted in the 1950s.

Back then, a mathematician named Alan Turing–also known as “the father of modern computer science”–conducted an experiment to test his hypothesis that computers and the human brain essentially function the same way. Fast forward to the present day, and we now see artificial intelligence just about everywhere we turn.

A.I. In Black-Lit

When thinking about Artificial Intelligence and its place within Black Lit, my mind always wonders about the long-term impact of such convenience. Sure, it may be nice to type a few words into a system before watching it churn out something similar to what you were thinking in your head… but at what cost?

No Money Theatre GIF by Muppet Wiki

In an industry where Black authors (traditional and independent) are overlooked, perhaps we should consider how constant reliance on devices such as AI could one day lead to the suffocation of actual Black voices in this space.

 Artificial intelligence in the workspace is marketed as a helpmate–and it can even be helpful–but using AI leaves the gate open for several consequences that could be detrimental to the world of Black Literature. 

In 2021, the head of AI & Data Science, Aruna Pattam, said, The goal for AI is to do things such as recognize patterns, make decisions, and judge like humans.” Now Sistah Girls, I don’t know about you all, but this author/reader feels that the Black Lit community already has one too many eyes peeping through our library windows as it is.

Knowing that one of AI’s purposes is to recognize patterns, leads me to the assumption that continuous use of artificial intelligence serves as an invitation for the misappropriation of Black authors, stories, and the Black experience.

Anyone can use AI to create anything–that means non-kinfolk have more opportunities to deceive the masses by perpetrating Black authors.

Wait What Reaction GIF by Originals

I know, I know. I sound like I am tripping, but hear me out… Do you all remember when AOL chat rooms first became a thing?

And there were so many TV shows and after-school commercials warning us about the dangerous strangers lurking on the internet? Y’all it is the same thing with AI!

Now Sistah Girls don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying there are not some pros to artificial intelligence. Though I have never purposely used it myself, I can imagine the amenities are nice, especially for creatives with tons on their plates.

Those who may want something specific but it’s not in the budget. Or someone who is having a tough time sparking inspiration and need a nudge in the right direction. 

But again, I ask… at what cost?

If AI is given free rein in the Black Lit world, I worry what that means for everyone; not just those who write the books. Our content creators, book cover designers, editors, and voice actors… it’s all up for grabs. 

How would we remain a Black Literary community if everything created in the community is birthed via technology?

TV gif. Elmo from Sesame Street tilts his head and shrugs as if to say, "I dunno."

Allowing AI to replace these creative individuals feels a little too dystopian for me. It may sound dramatic, but I truly mean it. AI feels a little too much like a cheat code.

It does not seem beneficial to the integrity or growth of the arts. And in the end, I think it could end up costing us more than what it’s worth. 

The Wrap-Up

Whether someone uses AI is completely up to them. So long as they bring their authentic self to the table and create projects they can stand 10 pedicured toes behind.

Sistah Girls, that’s all that I have for you all today but I would love to know your thoughts about artificial intelligence in the Black Lit space.

Until next time, remember…

“If we citizens do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams.” – Yann Martel, Life of Pi.

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