Cartoonist Chris Onstad is using A.I. to revive his "Achewood" comic strip

Instead of fearing Artificial lntelligence's impact on creativity, Chris Onstad, the author of the brilliant, weird, and brilliantly weird comic strip "Achewood" is embracing it as a tool.

As Onstad revives his webcomic, he's invested in his own A.I. that can talk in the voice of his characters, which he plans to use to help him in writing the comic. He created RayBot, an A.I. interface with which readers can interact on Onstad's Patreon subscription service. From the Verve article about Onstad's plan (link here):

"RayBot can be very funny. Also, because Ray is a deliberately unreliable narrator; when the AI hallucinates, it's entirely in character for him to be confidently wrong. But even at his best — and on less racy questions — he's still Onstad on an off day. On one hand, Onstad thinks it's amazing that RayBot is good enough to pass for him at all. On the other, he says, 'Okay, cool, I still have some value in the process.'"

This is fascinating and inspiring, and I think it's great that Onstad has figured out a way to use A.I. to enhance his creativity, instead of dreading A.I. as something that can replace it.

"Of course, Onstad doesn't fear being replaced. All his work with AI has reinforced that he's still the king. He's planning on experimenting with AI-generated work for his Patreon, but that's only going to be in addition to the stuff he produces the old-fashioned way. After all, his fans' relationship is with him.

"AI is a tool to Onstad, like a word processor. But there are some things an AI can't do that a writer can, such as character development. Take, for instance, Achewood's Pat, whose main driving ethos seems to be feeling superior. At first, he simply reads as unpleasant — but then, he comes out of the closet and suddenly becomes recognizable as a specific Type of Guy and, simultaneously, much more likable. That isn't really something the LLM can do."