Benny the Blue Whale: A Descent into Story, Language and the Madness of ChatGPT

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AI is changing the world at frightening speed. A bestselling author decides to find out more…

‘Something profound and utterly brilliant is going on… hilarious.’ THE TIMES

Is ChatGPT the end of creative industries as we know them? An ethical quagmire from which there is no return? A threat to all our jobs, as we keep hearing on the news? 

Bestselling children’s author Andy Stanton has made a career out of writing differently – from the unconventional ‘hero’ of his bestselling Mr Gum series to his penchant for absurdist plots, his children’s books are anything but formulaic.

When a friend introduces him to ChatGPT, the new large language chatbot, Andy is as sceptical as he is curious. Can this jumble of algorithms really mimic the spontaneity of human thought? Could it one day replace human authors like him for good? And are we soon to be ruled over by despotic robot overlords?

He decides there’s only one thing for it – he must test this bot’s capabilities. Eventually, he settles on a prompt that will push the algorithm to its creative limits: ‘tell me a story about a blue whale with a tiny penis.’ 

Chaos ensues.

What follows is a surprising and illuminating battle between Andy and ChatGPT that maybe, just maybe, might help us all understand AI a little bit better. Join Andy and his beleaguered AI lackey on a rollicking metafictional journey through the art of storytelling. Presenting his prompts and the AI-generated narrative alongside extensive commentary, Stanton provides a startling paean to the art of a good story and boundless human creativity. Hopeful and hilarious, Benny the Blue Whale provides a joyfully anarchic meditation on AI, literature and why we write.



‘There’s no book like it. Scholarly, childish, fascinating and hilarious – one of our funniest writers dissects what it takes to build a story and what that tells us about being human. It’ll really make you think, if you can stop laughing.’ Chris Addison, co-creator of BREEDERS

Entertaining and alarmingly relevant, provocative and philosophically satisfying, it’s ultimately a profoundly human text.’ OBSERVER

A magnificent experiment by a perfect fool – deep and shallow and stupid and clever – the perfect use of AI (Andy Intelligence).’ Robin Ince, author of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING INTERESTED

‘Benny the Blue Whale is many things. It’s a fascinating discourse on the nature of language and storytelling. It’s a philosophical treatise on the possibilities of artificial intelligence. It’s a receptacle for obscenely hilarious jokes... A brilliant and beautiful cyborg: part human brain, part computational muscle. It’s a post-post-modern work of genius.’ Anthony McGowan, Carnegie Medal-winning author of LARK

Product Details

£16.99  £16.14
Oneworld Publications
Publish Date

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