Artificial intelligence (AI) is a rapidly-advancing field that has the potential to revolutionize the way we live and work. However, it also presents numerous challenges that must be addressed to ensure that AI's benefits are maximized while its potential risks are minimized.

In the literary world, AI is already having an impact on how written work is created. The first children's book Alice and Sparkle was written and illustrated by AI technology with only the idea for the book being provided. Could this mean in the future AI could independently write books on its own? That has yet to be determined. In the meantime, the technology can be used as a tool for authors. 

“I do think one area where AI does come in very well is for nonfiction. When you're writing a lot of data and that sort of stuff, this can definitely help out a lot,” explained Estevan Public Library Branch Manager Jason Redshaw. “There's new AI software out there that I was looking at that can really help a lot of writers, specifically in the academic fields where they're really putting out a lot of data and putting that stuff together.”

The Estevan Public Library (EPL) has been integrating science and technology into its programs for years. Since 2016 the EPL has had a 3-D printer available for patrons to use. There are also programs to help young people explore their interests in the STEAM fields. 

"We start young kids out with coding and that sort of stuff and when AI does make itself available in some of the software, I believe we will likely have that," Redshaw said. “I think some AI can really help improve people's writing skills as they collaborate, and that's somewhat happening right now. You know there's this human interaction with AI, and I think that will make people better writers in the long run.”

In the future, books written with the assistance of AI will likely make their way to EPL shelves. There could also be books independently written by AI as well.

"I think we will have AI books on our library shelves, but I think we'll have the human ones there as well too, for a long time to come."

More on the subject of AI's integration into society is available in the podcast below with Jason Redshaw and Daniel Espelien.