Authors have entered a war over words with OpenAI for using their books as ‘training’ feedstock
Battles between human and artificial intelligence are no longer science fiction. The strikes in Hollywood led by the united guilds of actors and screenwriters have a common, intangible enemy: the algorithms and computer-generated imagery that are increasingly programmed by studios to render them redundant.
In New York last week, a new front in that stand-off was opened by a group of American novelists – including John Grisham, Jodi Picoult and Jonathan Franzen – who are suing OpenAI, the creators of the ChatGPT program. The writers claim the software company has trampled over their copyright by “feeding” its program with their books, “training it” not only in natural language, but perhaps eventually to produce page-turners of its own. (The lawsuit alleges, for example, that ChatGPT has already created an unauthorised and detailed outline for a “prequel” to George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones novel series, entitled, not entirely convincingly, A Dawn of Direwolves.)