The authors’ war against Artificial Intelligence continues in America, in particular against Microsoft’s OpenAI, the one that created ChatGPT. We are now at the third cause, which sees the league of writers lined up, with very heavy signatures on the book market level such as those of George RR Martin (who as is known created the television series Games of Thrones starting from his books), Jodi Picoult , David Baldacci but also, let’s say Jonathan Franzen.
The accusation is simple: OpenAI scours the internet and therefore also their books, which in theory should be protected by copyright, and to read them you should therefore first purchase them.
It’s a shame, however, that they are all available on “pirate” sites, where the automatic learning system incessantly reads them, swallowing them one after the other, and using them without the author being compensated.
In this regard there had previously been some negotiations which however did not lead to anything. And in July Authors Guld issued an open letter with 10,000 signatures complaining that OpenAI’s initial promises of finding a way to pay writers for the use of their books had not been kept. Now the case in court, which obviously clashes with a rather complicated system of laws (and which above all did not foresee the birth of artificial intelligence) and whose outcomes can be unpredictable.
The entry into the field of important bestsellers, however, says that at least in America the situation is really very complex, who knows, perhaps close to a breaking point. And it applies not only to novels and essays. As often happens in great technical-scientific (and social, and cultural) transformations, history knows how to insert a good bit of irony into the darkest recesses, in the specific case of dark humour.
In recent days, parallel to the writers’ cause, there is news that seems curious but is actually quite serious. In fact, it concerns the reliability of texts created with AI, especially scientific ones.
It was the New York Mycological Society, an ancient and authoritative institution that obviously deals with mushrooms, that raised the alarm: new manuals dedicated to mushrooms, created in a hurry, are proliferating online and especially on Amazon, among other things. – rather than in years as a serious and reliable cataloging would require – thanks to AI, and sold at unbeatable prices: which would also be achieving good success.
However, they hide a serious problem, namely they are inaccurate, they give disastrous indications and advice, they are sensationally wrong about the poisonous variety. In short, they represent a mortal danger – or almost: much more serious, one would say, than a more or less pirated story, which more often than not is only mortal in terms of boredom.