Winner of a prestigious literary award unabashedly used AI to write it

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This depresses me a bit but good on her for being open and transparent about what she’s doing.

I think I’d prefer if publishers made it clear on the cover when AI was a co-author of a book but I guess that would be pretty much impossible to enforce.


I’ve been using MidJounrey for graphics ideation and creation. It’s a bit like the world’s best generative stock image resource. Not flawless and it still takes lots of work to make the thing do what you imagine, but man I love it. Super helpful.

I for one look forward to our AI overlords (please allow this meat sack to continue its filthy analogue existence, thx!)

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Except it uses materials from artists, who are not getting financially compensated for it…

These things have consequences and we should probably not just rush headlong into these sorts of changes to how our culture functions without maybe thinking through the implications. :woman_shrugging:


Not sure who to attribute the quote to but it goes something like.

“Why should I be bothered to read something that you couldn’t be bothered to write”


I you put an image on a web site and someone downloads that image (which they have to do to actually see it in their browser) is that theft? LLMs don’t copy/paste or even remix existing images/content, they learn it then iterate on it along with all the billions of other images IT has viewed. Just like human beings: we look at something and learn about it. Some examples from my own experience: I made significant weed money back in the 80s painting album covers and logos on walls for folks. Mostly Roger Dean recreations and some rock band logos. Is that theft? My first ‘pro’ gig was making a poster for a jewelry store in the style of Patrick Nagel. They hired a photographer, posed the owner’s GF and then had me reinterpret that image a la Nagel. My mom had to drive me to the art store downtown…

If I ask MidJourney “make me a cat/girl comic in the style of Dorothy X” and it spits out an image that exactly matches something Dorothy has created then sure that is copyright infringement. But I’ve reverse searched many many AI generated images and have never found a match. Not even close. It’s a bit like those ‘vision boards’ or mood boards to help refine a project’s style, tone and direction. Did they buy every ganked image or illustration?

I blame Napster: they had an early opportunity to make micro-payments and transactions ubiquitous and they blew it (which then gave us the likes of Peter Thiel and Elon Musk, ugh)

I want artists to be properly compensated for their work. I have a huge swipe file of inspirational images. Things that I like for various reasons, color, texture, pattern, style, typography etc etc. I absolutely love Mary Blair’s work and collect images, books and ephemera from her era at Disney. Reading about her life and work, viewing her images and then trying to do something remotely as good as filtered thru my grey matter isn’t theft. It’s culture. All civilization is a remix.

my $0.02… probably not worth that even. peace


You’re right. Who needs to eat and pay rent and have a meaningful life doing work that means something to them? It’s all simple right, because the only one who matters is the end user, not the thousands of people who do actual real work and are getting screwed over by large corporations with billions in VC cash… /s

My POINT is that I think maybe we should think a bit harder about what is going on with this, rather than just assume that if the end user finds it useful, then the rest of it doesn’t matter… It does actually. And just dismissing the concerns of the people whose work has been scrapped isn’t particularly helpful. It’s basically assuming that if corporations do it, it must be okay. It’s really not. I’m all for a more flexible common sense set of IP laws that empower the creators and has some common sense fair uses provisions, because these laws now only benefit corporations. We should perhaps claw back some of that for artists, and even for end users, because the only people benefiting are the wealthy and powerful.


I’m on the fence about a lot of this stuff, but It’ll be really interesting to see what the courts make of the current round of suits brought by artists against the Gen AI companies (I should also say though that I hope cases brought by publishers for their IP die in fire, but that’s a different topic). An initial attempt got thrown out last year.

Legally, there seems to be a massive amount at stake for all of us. Copyright is suuuper slippery, and a bad ruling (one that erodes rights in derivative works, for example) might very well backfire on the very artists who want their share of the gravy right now, and I’m not sure some of the “all copying is theft” camp quite get the fact that it could blow up in their faces. It’s not contentious that all artists “steal”, for example, and always have done. If a Gen AI ruling unleashes an unintended consequence of pitting artist against artist (or worse, publisher against publisher) for “stealing” each other’s style, then we’re fucked.

I also note that in the US at least, Gen AI artefacts cannot be copyrighted, That’s also interesting in terms of who the “winners” are in the debate, and (although I don’t understand his reasoning) Larry Lessig thinks that ruling was wrong. So perhaps the copyright status will change one day.

Suuuper slippy.

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Not sure but I’ve been interrupting people at meetings and presentations for quite some time when they suggest reading the output of an LLM.

Yeah, I’m that dick but, fuckit, if you can say it without getting fired, do it.

Every thing I’m at where I can’t behave like that I regret because I see the group browbeaten into accepting bullshit as a priori before we can discuss issues. I’m so, so angry about the last techbro shit I wasn’t in a position to disrupt and I’m really looking at how to make the organisers take a long hard look at themselves for the dishonest crap they pushed st us. I expect nothing less from VC Bro shitheads, but educators platforming them? And educators kowtowing to them? Have some fucking self respect. Money does not confer the dignity of labour.


I’m not a lawyer, nor am I an AI expert. Just providing my anecdotal experience. I’ve been making art/design for 45+ years, so I’m not just some script kiddie with my EnnuiApesNFTs or some sh!t. I’ve studied art history and visit art museums and other cultural collections all over the world, for fun. Thus I’ve imprinted thousands and thousands, probably millions of images into my somewhat porous grey matter. Much like AI neural networks the images in my noggin aren’t stored as canvas and pottery, bronzes, buildings or video. Nor are the AI models that I am aware of storing the picture as a pixel grid of X resolution, instead they learn and make (sometimes wrong/weird/funny) inferences and then stores a kind of ‘vector’ of a bunch of different factors related to the physical media whatever it might be. As I understand it (and I may be wrong on this) the model specifically discards the copy and saves the vector or state info (cheaper on storage and more importantly computation / energy use, also avoids the problem of barfing out 1:1 copyrighted images/content).

These kinds of tools will help us discover new medicines, create better tools and machines and hopefully societies. Just because they looked at my web site and perhaps my entire online corpus of work doesn’t scare or anger me. The internet IS the commons in the information age.

I’m not sure I’ll convince folks who think showing anything to these kinds of LLM ‘AIs’ is theft. I’m just not sure how to quantify the impact of showing it everyone’s cat pics. Or dog pics. Or the price tag.

So, what is a fair price for allowing an AI to digest all media on the internet? Nothing seems to be the techbro answer. I’m not sure that is right, but I can’t see how to make it more right for artists and creators. I’m open to ideas! =P Something like a do not index me tag prohibits scraping? Horse already well out of that barn.

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This is a really bad translation of what she said.


A better translation would be, “I plan to continue making good use of AI (in my writing) while interacting with AI in a way that allows me to harness my own creativity.”

The English that is given paints her in a much worse light than it should.

Source (Japanese): 芥川賞作「ChatGPTなど駆使」「5%は生成AIの文章そのまま」 九段理江さん「東京都同情塔」 - ITmedia NEWS

ETA: I do not say that the translation is bad because the translator made a mistake. They knew exactly what they were doing. 利用 means “to make use of (for one’s benefit),” and it can be translated as “exploit,” but that would be in the context of an accusatory sentence, like “教師という立場を利用する” (“to take advantage of one’s position as a teacher”), etc.


Why is your anecdotal experience more important than the artists whose works were used in a way that they did not agree to?

Did not say you were. You do seem to be dismissing entirely legitimate concerns of the people who made the art that was scraped to train this technology.

You are not something that was made to enrich people who made this technology. Of course you’re influenced by the culture you see all around you. That isn’t remotely the same thing as a corporation scraping art off the web and using it to train their AIs.

high quality GIF

So far, that seems to be primarily hype and not much substance.

And private corporations are using the commons in a way that doesn’t not remotely add value…

It is not right, no. People are getting screwed over and we should care about that.

Things can change, and I’m honestly starting to find the “oh well, people are getting screwed over, but what can you do” mindset not very helpful. Human beings make technology, we can damn well figure out productive, helpful paths forward with it, and make changes when we need to in order that this stuff serves humanity rather than serving capital. Because that’s all this shit is doing right now. I don’t believe any of it has been legitimately helpful for the majority of us, even if we’ve gotten some mild amusement out of it. We can do better and we should do better.


I’m sorry, but are you really seriously saying that your solution is filling out and submitting forms?

And after the fact? With the burden to submit on the author of a work?


Re enforcement, perhaps they could make a signed agreement stipulating that if AI was used as a “co-author”, then a set % of the author’s profits would be clawed back, and future payments to the author would be reduced by that same percentage. Ironically, AI could be instrumental in determining what was the author’s work, and what was AI’s… something that would be possible if the author had a body of work available for examination, that is, written material created by the author prior to the general availability of AI.

No. This is wrong. What these LLMs are doing is nothing like what people do when people look at a bunch of different art and use it as inspiration to make new, original art. Midjourney is doing absolutely not one fucking thing similar to what people do. It is remixing existing images and content. It’s doing it in a very sophisticated way that can be difficult to detect, but that’s exactly what it’s doing. Hell, I’ve seen AI created images where a watermark got copied almost without alteration. This software is using the work of artists and not compensating those artists for the use. Period. That’s what it’s doing, and it’s wrong. It may not be copyright infringement, because the law did not anticipate such technology, but that doesn’t mean it’s morally right. Now, if they create some sort of library of licensed art, and Midjourney and similar software starts being trained only on that art, then that would be a different story, but that’s not happening now. What you think this software is doing is not what it’s doing. It is not creating. It’s copying. It’s very sophisticated copying, but it’s copying.


Funny, I’ve been using MidJourney for about a year and have never seen a watermark. There are lots of different image generators: MJ, leonardo, crAIyon, dallE, stable diffusion etc I’ve tried them all over the last year or so and MJ is the only one that works for professionals. People who care about copyright (like I do) and want to use these tools as just one more arrow in the quiver.

In my experience (yours may differ, of course) MidJourney has never just taken someone’s work and pasted on top someone else’s work. It fundamentally just does not work like that. Intentionally. Also, without the hyperbole.

Sorry, hope this helps. =) There seems to be so much mis-info and FUD about AI.

I didn’t say it did. But it’s also not creating anything new. It is mixing and interpolating in a very sophisticated way, for software, but that’s still what it’s doing, and it is using (not copying, but using) artists’ works without compensating them for that use. It is wrong. Please stop. That’s a request. I wish BoingBoing would stop using it as well. It pisses me off. This is not FUD and it’s not misinformation. The misinformation is the idea that any of this software is actually creating anything. It isn’t.


It’s important to remember that despite the name, what these programs are doing is not showing any kind of machine based intelligence. they are sophisticated algorithms, but they are not intelligent. They are not self-aware, or at least none of them have tried to communicate with us. Here is a link to a panel discussion between Cory Doctorow, Martha Wells and Ken Liu about “ai” and its uses in writing, etc. Some interesting stuff, and it’s only and hour.


Here’s a choice:
I can use an image created by a human artist, which will require me to spend a bit of money. Perhaps I can modify that image, as well, using my own creativity.

I can use an image created by an algorithm that has scraped many other people’s creative work without citation or recompense of any kind. The original artists receive nothing. Their work has been used without their permission or prior knowledge.

But maybe I get to be more “entertaining,” which is to say, get more clicks. What does human creativity or art matter, after all? The real issue is, and has always been, money.

We could have trained the robots to do the things that aren’t fun, rewarding, creative, and pleasurable. Instead, we made them to replace the people who make art. We will do the drudgery. They will write the books. Great.


It might just be a stupid gimmick, but at least it’s a stupid gimmick that’s harming the people we should cherish.