Since its initial introduction, AI programs have been the subject of intense controversy and scrutiny for a variety of reasons including hackers use it to push malwareissues ranging from benign to downright dangerous, sending fake emails threatening legal action or even other people’s workand, of course, the ongoing issue of plagiarism.
AI programs can be used to create pieces of art that, while sometimes complex and awe-inspiring in their own right, often have clear markers for artificiality. One of the main problems, however, is not the art itself, but to create said art, the program is taken from many online databases that include copyrighted works.
Another problem, which is quickly emerging as an epidemic, is that people are submitting this AI-generated art as their own. We’ve already seen it in the Amazon Kindle store filled with books written by ChatGPT and an AI-generated image recently won a photography contest.
AI disaster with Clarkesworld
That Amazon Kindle story is particularly relevant to this story, as it coincides with an ongoing incident regarding Sci-Fi/Fantasy online publishing. Clarkesworld Magazine (Opens in a new tab) early this February.
On February 20, 2023, the magazine’s editor, Neil Clarke, announced on the official Twitter account that he closing submissions (Opens in a new tab). In an unfolding thread, he revealed the scope of what led to this: the magazine received hundreds of what he believed to be AI-generated submissions a month.
Clarke admits that the main force behind this is outside the SF/F community, “‘side hustle’ experts who claim to make quick money on ChatGPT.” A graph showing the number of people banned from the zine in just one month versus a whole year not only backs up his claim of these so-called experts driving this huge increase but causes in deep concern in its own right.
What’s more worrying is that the zine is nowhere to be found useless method (Opens in a new tab) to eliminate these false submissions, as detectors are not very reliable and cannot be charged for submissions or made for mail-in-only submissions, as that would also affect legitimate authors.
What does this mean for publications?
While the Amazon Kindle issue primarily targets a corporate giant with the finances to fight it, publications like Clarkesworld are much smaller in scale, and have had to close submissions while they seek a resolution. at the risk of their finances.
Various third-party tools are more effective for combating AI spam submissions. However, the costs are far beyond what the average publication can afford in a subscription-based model. These tools also have some regions that they do not use, which should ban countries directly, reducing submissions and income though.
Although we do not know why this particular publisher was chosen as the first target, we can assume that it is because sci-fi publications usually offer higher rates than other genre works – at least eight cents per word (Opens in a new tab) – due to the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association. That makes it ripe for those trying to make a quick buck with low-effort AI-generated stories.
In the worst case scenario, this could be the beginning of a flood of spam submissions to other outlets offering the same fair rates, which would have a devastating effect on the industry at large. Even now, Clarke isn’t sure what the next steps are for his magazine, other than tentatively opens submissions in March (Opens in a new tab). And he even declared that he had to close them again.
Can AI and art coexist?
AI is not all bad. It’s a tool like any other, and the current version is shades of the past which has been used for ages today. Machine learning has been incorporated into spell checkers and grammar tools, dating back at least to the 90s. There are also many other uses for technology that help in everyday life.
The issue is not the technology itself but how it is used and how it is regulated. Today, we are in a dangerous place thanks to the lack of concrete protections combined with many bad actors who want to make money while targeting as many people as possible. And most AI-writing detection programs does not work well (Opens in a new tab)which has its own OpenAI tool though failed 74% of the time (Opens in a new tab)according to the data.
That’s not to say nothing is being done to prevent AI’s worst problems. AI chatbots are likely to be reviewed under the proposed Online Safety Bill, as confirmed by Lord Stephen Parkinson, a junior Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport. If so, it will be a big step towards proper regulationas well as placing corporations and individuals under legal consequences for serious misuse.
Another important decision was made by the US Copyright Office in February, it said reconsidered its decision (Opens in a new tab) to grant copyright protection to Kristina Kashtanova for her comic book Zarya of the Dawn. The judgment (sent by his lawyer Robert Kasunic, the associate Register of Copyrights) states that while the written and visual arrangements of the comic are his, the images themselves, created by the AI image generator Midjourney, are not his. acts and therefore cannot. protected by copyright.
So to answer the question ‘can AI and art coexist?’ the answer is yes but only if we take this new technology seriously and establish important boundaries and regulations as well as create better tools to sniff out those who use it fraudulently. Or else, we will continue to get cases like Clarkesworld, which will face irreversible damage to the creative world.