With the advent of ChatGPT and other large language models, the number of artificial texts we encounter on a daily basis is about to increase substantially. This essay asks how this new textual situation may influence what one can call the “standard expectation of unknown texts,” which has always included the assumption that any text is the work of a human being. As more and more artificial writing begins to circulate, the essay argues, this standard expectation will shift—first, from the immediate assumption of human authorship to, second, a creeping doubt: did a machine write this? In the wake of what Matthew Kirschenbaum has called the “textpocalypse,” however, this state cannot be permanent. The author suggests that after this second transitional period, one may suspend the question of origins and, third, take on a post-artificial stance. One would then focus only on what a text says, not on who wrote it; post-artificial writing would be read with an agnostic attitude about its origins. This essay explores the implications of such post-artificiality by looking back to the early days of text synthesis, considering the limitations of aesthetic Turing tests, and indulging in reasoned speculation about the future of literary and nonliterary text generation.

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