Seventeen writers in The Authors Guild have clubbed together to sue Chat GPT’s parent company, OpenAI in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday. The leading authors, who include names such as George RR Martin, David Baldacci, Jodi Picoult, and John Grisham have joined forces to sue for alleged mass-scale copyright infringement claiming their books have been fed into the algorithm to train AI to create derivative texts based on their work.
The class action also highlighted that many of the texts were obtained through illegal means, pirate sites, and shadow libraries such as Library Genesis and Z-Library. The Authors Guild said it had organised the lawsuit because of fears that generative AI could decimate the profession, something that is profoundly unfair when you consider that the AI uses copyrighted texts to learn.
Recently David Baldacci told Good Morning America that he felt violated after discovering that Chat GPT could produce text which mimicked his style. He said ‘I thought my God I feel so violated. It’s like someone had taken my entire library without my knowing it. If you can automate this then you can automate everything and no one will have a reason to get up out of bed. It feels like an existential threat to everything that makes us human.’
It’s hard to disagree, especially when AI seems so keen to take all the creative jobs, leaving the menial tasks for us humans. Having lost a great deal of writing income myself to AI, I don’t find it difficult to sympathise with these authors and their worries.
AI in literature is becoming an increasing issue, and not just for authors, but for copyright too. Many of the writers from The Authors Guild have found works on Amazon attributed to them but written by AI, and recently foraging books written by AI have been found with some deadly mistakes, offering deadly fungi up as edible. Are these mistakes accidental, or are the robots already trying to kill us?