Snow Crash Author Neal Stephenson on AI: Simply Not Interesting


• Neal Stephenson, author of the science-fiction novel „Snow Crash,“ shares his thoughts on artificial intelligence and its applications.
• Stephenson believes that AI-generated tools, such as ChatGPT, are not interesting when used in creative applications.
• Rather, he says that works of art or books offer a communion with the artist who made thousands of decisions in creating them.

The Author’s View on Artificial Intelligence

Neal Stephenson, author of the science-fiction classic novel „Snow Crash“ where he coined the term „metaverse“ and gave new meaning to the word „avatar,“ sees artificial intelligence in general, and ChatGPT in particular, as underwhelming.

When asked about boundaries on AI technology he said: “Mostly what we’ve tended to see is its use in creative applications, which I don’t think is at all interesting.“ He believes that when engaging with a painting or book, one enters into a „kind of communion with the artist who made thousands of little micro decisions in the course of creating that work of art or writing that book.“ In contrast to this sort of experience a decision generated by an algorithm is simply not interesting according to him.

Stephenson’s Response To The Possibility Of An AI Writing His Novel

When asked if an AI could have written his novel he responded: “Well maybe one did. But if that were the case then you would be reading only output from an algorithm and if that’s interesting to you then fine“. He also went on to say that there are rules and regulations for using AI technology but it depends on how it is used and ultimately should be determined by humans rather than machines making those decisions for us.


In conclusion it appears Neal Stephenson has reservations about ChatGPT (an algorithm-based tool) being used for creative applications due to his belief that real people create works which resonate emotionally whereas algorithms lack sentimentality.


Ultimately it seems as though Stephenson does not believe machines can compete with human creativity as algorithms cannot replicate emotion within their output. Therefore for something truly special we must leave it up to people rather than machines.