According to Reuters, ChatGPT is listed as the author or co-author of at least 200 books on Amazon’s Kindle Store. However, the actual number of books written by bots is likely much higher, as Amazon’s policies do not specifically require authors to disclose their use of AI. It’s the latest example of AI-generated writing flooding the market and playing a role in the creation of dubious ethical content since the release of OpenAI’s free tool in November.
“I could see people making a career out of it,” said Brett Schickler, a Rochester, NY seller who published a children’s book in the Kindle Store. “The idea of writing a book finally seemed possible.” Schickler’s self-published story The Wise Little Squirrel: A Tale of Saving and Investing is a 30-page children’s story — written and illustrated by AI — available for $2.99 for a digital copy and $9.99 for a hard copy is sold. Though Schickler says the book has made him less than $100 since it was published in January, he only spent a couple of hours sharing it with ChatGPT prompts like “Write a story about a father teaching his son financial education.” ” to create.
Other examples of AI-created content in the Kindle Store include the children’s story The Power of Homework, a collection of poems called Echoes of the Universe, and a sci-fi epic about an interstellar brothel, Galactic Pimp: Vol. 1.
“That’s something we really have to worry about, these books are going to flood the market and a lot of authors will be out of work,” said Mary Rasenberger, executive director of the Authors Guild. “The authors and platforms need to be transparent about how these books are made or you’re going to end up with a lot of low-quality books.”
Meanwhile, sci-fi magazine Clarkesworld Magazine has temporarily halted short story submissions after receiving a spate of articles suspected of using AI without disclosure, as reported by PCMag. Though editor Neil Clarke didn’t specify how he identified them, he recognized the (allegedly) bot-assisted stories based on “some very obvious patterns.” “What I can say is that the number of spam submissions that resulted in bans hit 38 percent this month,” he said. “While it was easy to reject and ban these filings, it is growing at a rate that will require changes. To make matters worse, technology is getting better and better, making detection more difficult.”
Clarkesworld currently bans stories “written, co-written or assisted by AI,” and the publication this month banned over 500 users for submitting alleged AI-assisted content. Clarkesworld pays 12 cents per word, making it a prime target. “As far as I can tell, it’s not about credibility. It’s about the opportunity to make quick money. That’s all she cares about,” Clarke tweeted.
In addition to the standalone ChatGPT tool, Microsoft’s new version of Bing uses an enhanced version of the tool to help with search queries.
JASON REDMOND via Getty Images
In addition to ethical questions about transparency, there are also questions about misinformation and plagiarism. For example, AI bots, including ChatGPT, Microsoft’s Bing AI, and Google’s Bard, are prone to “hallucinations,” the term for self-consciously spreading false information. Additionally, they are trained on human-created content—almost always without the original author’s knowledge or permission—and sometimes use the same syntax as the source material.
As of last year, tech publication CNET has been using an internal AI model to write at least 73 economic statements. Unfortunately, aside from the initially reluctant approach, only revealing that it was written by AI if you click the byline, it also contained numerous factual errors and nearly identical wording from articles on other websites. As a result, CNET was forced to make extensive fixes and stop using the tool — but one of its sister sites has at least already experimented with using it again.
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