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How AI is impacting the publishing industry?

04.11.2023 02:33 AM
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How AI is impacting the publishing industry?
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How AI is impacting the publishing industry?

While the famous British writer Salman Rushdie doubted the ability of artificial intelligence programs to formulate literary texts of a quality comparable to the authors’ works, the publishing world, whose leaders recently gathered at the Frankfurt Book Fair, does not hide its concern that the world will be invaded by works created using this technology.

The literary publishing sector, like many other fields, is witnessing a state of turmoil after it was shaken by the technological revolution launched by artificial intelligence programs such as ChatGPT.

Workers in this sector show a “deep sense of insecurity,” according to Jurgen Bos, director of the Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest in the world, which concluded its activities on Sunday. This topic was at the heart of discussions throughout the week.

According to Boss, they ask, “What will happen to the intellectual property of authors? Who really owns the new content? How can it be integrated into value chains?”

Artificial intelligence is already affecting translation services, and is also developing in the fields of scientific and legal publishing, but it remains marginal in literary creativity.

When it comes to writing novels, artificial intelligence still lacks inspiration, according to the famous British writer Salman Rushdie, who experienced this after reading a short text created “in his style” by programs.

Rushdie said, amid laughter from the audience during a press conference, that the text produced by the program “would have been thrown in the trash.”

He added, "Anyone who reads three hundred words in my handwriting will immediately realize that it is impossible for these words to be mine," stressing that he is "not that worried at the present time."

Writing help

German writer and academic Jennifer Becker said, during roundtable discussions, that the performance of artificial intelligence in the field of creative writing “is not yet good.”

She added, "I do not yet see when the moment will come when we will entrust the task of writing to artificial intelligence in a completely autonomous way."

On the other hand, the technology has “great potential to be used as a tool to help” with writing, she says.

For narratives with weak content, which rely on stereotyped narrative models and are destined for mass production, artificial intelligence offers opportunities and even “some relief,” said fair director Jürgen Bos.

It all ultimately depends on the type of publishing, according to Susanne Parvik, Deputy Legal Counsel of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association.

Parvik noted that "the scientific and specialized books sector is already more advanced and has already researched this issue further."

But once generative AI uses billions of texts to train its algorithms and create content, legal battles loom.

Big money is at stake

One of the main “gray areas” in this area relates to who owns the copyright to AI-generated content. “This is a real mess and a very important issue,” says Jurgen Bos. “There is also a lot of money at stake.”

On Amazon's KDP platform, which is dedicated to self-publishing, there are many books produced entirely by artificial intelligence, as specialists note, and some of these publications have even become bestsellers.

The KDP platform now requires authors to declare on the site whether their works were created by artificial intelligence (images, texts, or translations).

In September, many authors, including George R.R. Martin, the author of the epic “Game of Thrones” story, and the king of thrillers, John Grisham, took legal action in the United States against the California startup OpenAI, accusing it of using their works to indoctrinate... ChatGPT algorithms while ignoring their copyright.

In an open letter signed by writers including Margaret Atwood and Dan Brown, the Authors Guild of America warned the tech giants this summer that “millions of copyrighted books and articles” and “copyrighted poems constitute fodder for artificial intelligence systems, with endless meals without bills.”

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