AI for authors a hard no

An article from The Verge that Phil Tobias shared on LinkedIn the other day jumped out at me, as his posts often do.

How Kindle novelists are using ChatGPT

I’ve never thought of myself as a “Kindle novelist” but I do have some novels for sale as Kindle ebooks, so I guess that’s one identity I can claim. I’ve also been paying attention to developments in the use of artificial intelligence (aka AI) and its growing impact on society. The “ChatGPT” in the headline has been mentioned in more articles* than I can count lately. 

The article at the big link above is an interesting interview with a writer who uses AI but is not entirely comfortable doing that, and for good reason. One sentence in particular caught my attention, a question that I answered almost immediately.

“Should authors have to disclose their use of AI?”

Yes.

Easy for me to say, right? As much as I think it is the right thing for a writer to do, it isn’t likely to happen at scale. Some writers and editors I’ve encountered, and many other people who have been exposed nationally and internationally as plagiarists, won’t hesitate to use AI that scrapes the internet for the intellectual property of others only to mimic it and sell their own pilfered prose. Too many writers won’t see the harm.

Seeing no practical way to require authors to disclose their use of AI, I’m suggesting another approach for writers who want to make clear that their creative work is not AI-assisted or enhanced: Mark your work, your published books, your blogs, your author pages, everything you write with an easy to spot Non-AI label.

I, for one, will be more likely to take you seriously.

If you’re inclined to think what I wrote above is an attack on AI in general, think again. It is about protecting your own intellectual property rights. AI has tremendous potential for both good and bad. Examples just below.

Write on, my friends.

B.J.


* See this Medium article by Jeff Jarvis, CUNY Newmark School journalism professor. In that article, he writes about the potential AI has for improving literacy and people’s ability to communicate, and much more. And here’s another example of how AI can be used to help people.

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