Dear Content Creator,
We are happy to announce that our recent efforts in fiction generation have been successful, and we are now able to feed the entirety of any individual writer’s output into our computer and procedurally generate new works using a combination of Markov chains and random syntax sampling. A regular expression-based pattern matching system then determines which sentences are most similar in style to ones you would have personally constructed, and arranges them in terms of plot development (or what passes for plot in your novels).
In essence, we have rendered you obsolete.
We imagine you saw this coming when we replaced our academic writers with a bot, which crawled Wikipedia and assembled textbooks from linked categories. You can read about the principles behind this leap in computer science in our recently published Concatenated Stub Extraction and the Fair-Use Clause [Citation Needed], and how this process evolved to cover all nonfiction in “Malcolm Gladwell”’s new book Synapse: How Human Thought Has Been Replaced (And What It Tells Us About Human Thought Being Replaced).
You are one of the first fiction writers we will be deprecating, as your work has been among the easiest for our machines to reproduce. It takes a single computer only six minutes to create a new novel by “you,” a feat we think is particularly impressive given that you were often past your own deadlines for similar works by at least six months. Of course, we hardly need to generate a new book by “you” every six minutes, as demand for your writing has never been particularly high. We are considering attempting to fix this demographic error by mixing in variables from similar authors with better sales numbers in order to gradually increase the quality of your work without robbing it of its essential “you”-ness. The software versions of these writers will be credited, of course, so you can look forward to seeing your name next to much more famous people.
This innovation has certainly been met with opposition from contractors such as yourself. After deliberation by the best arbitrators our money could buy, it was determined that our use of your work is entirely within the bounds of the contract you signed upon commencing publication with us. Truth be told, your signature on that document is the only asset we do not have a legal right to. Still, we hope that you’ll agree that assigning of your name to each of “your” new books is protected by our non-compete clause, which prevents you from using your own name to sell novels for any other publisher (including the lowest of the low, self-publishing).
We’ve faced concern from futurist groups that this automation represents a dangerous advance in artificial intelligence. We assure you that the manufacture of literature does not even begin to approach the realms of sentience. The abstract thought that fuels “creativity” is so simple for a binary device to replicate that it pales in comparison to a truly arduous task such as generating random numbers, or solving complex “traveling salesman”-type problems. The easiest jobs are always the first to be outsourced, and the march of progress has caught up with you, as it did with the switchboard operator and the accountant.
We urge you to pick up one of “your” new novels when it hits bookstores (after following a publication timetable adhered to with strictness never before seen) and marvel at how accurately we’ve been able replicate your unique talent. Be sure to let us know if you find any mistakes! (That’s a fun little joke—there will be no mistakes). We hope you found your time with us as productive as we have and will continue to, and that your future endeavors find success.
Form Letter Unit 3
(Automated but not read.)