ChatGPT-written books are flooding Amazon. Are ‘real’ authors in danger?
“The idea of writing a book finally seemed possible,” said Brett Schickler from New York, who until recently had never imagined he could be a published author.
Using the ChatGPT artificial intelligence program, which can generate blocks of text from simple prompts in no time, the salesman from Rochester created a 30-page illustrated children’s e-book in just a few hours, and offered it for sale last month through Amazon.com Inc’s self-publishing unit.
The book has landed Schickler less than $100, he said. Although the figure may not sound like much, it is sufficient to inspire one to compose numerous other books using the AI software.
ChatGPT’s uncanny ability to generate convincing blocks of text instantly has been sending shock waves through Silicon Valley and beyond since its debut in November. “I could see people making a whole career out of this,” Schickler further mentioned.
As of mid-February, there were more than 200 e-books in Amazon’s Kindle store listing the software as an author or co-author. But several authors’ failure to disclose in the Kindle store that their book was written by a computer, in part because Amazon’s policies do not necessitate it, has made it nearly impossible to get a true figure on how many e-books may be generated by the software.
As an obvious repercussion, concerns have already been raised over authenticity as the software learns how to generate blocks of text by scanning millions of pages of existing text.
“These books will flood the market and a lot of authors are going to be out of work,” said executive director of writers’ group the Authors Guild Mary Rasenberger, raising warnings about book writing turning from a craft into a commodity.
She called for greater transparency from the authors and the platforms to prevent thousands of low-quality books from flooding the market.
So far, it’s unclear if Amazon has any plans to change or review its Kindle store policies around authors’ use of automated writing tools.
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