According to the Writers Union of Great Britain, 65 percent of respondents to a recent survey sent to its members said they thought the increased use of artificial intelligence would reduce their income from writing. Meanwhile, 61 percent said they were worried AI could replace their jobs.
In response, the union has published Writers and AIa policy position statement outlining the challenges you believe AI causes and the risks it brings, as well as the potential benefits of AI for the writing profession, such as its use to detect copyright infringement.
Current AI concerns identified in Writers and AI include diminishing job opportunities for writers, suppression of writers’ pay, copyright infringement, and use of writers’ work without their permission, plus a lack of proper government regulation . A full 81 percent of those surveyed felt that writers should be paid when their work is used by artificial intelligence systems.
The guild states that while AI systems are not yet sophisticated enough to accurately mimic the standard of writing produced by professional writers, this will be a likely future scenario. However, he said he didn’t think AI could ever match the originality, authenticity, enthusiasm and humanity that professional writers bring to their narratives. He also suggested that potential benefits to AI include allowing writers to diversify and increase their income streams and maintain a writing career.
Within Writers and AI, the WGGB makes a number of recommendations that it says will help inform your lobbying and campaigning work going forward.
- AI developers should only use the work of writers if they have been given express permission to do so, reflecting the opinion of 80 percent of respondents to the WGGB survey.
- AI developers should keep clear and accessible records of the information used to train their tool to allow writers to verify whether their work has been used, reflecting 82 percent of respondents who said developers should be transparent about what data they have used in building AI systems. , even where they have used the work of the writers.
- Where content has been generated or decisions have been made by AI and not by a human, it should be clearly labeled as such.
- Where AI has been used to create content, AI developers must appropriately credit the authors whose work has been used to create such content.
- 59 per cent of respondents to the WGGB AI survey believed that a new independent regulator should be established to oversee and monitor the spread of AI and the union believes that the government should establish a new regulatory body whose remit specifically covers the AI, applicable to all future and previous AI development work, so that writers and others can enforce their rights in respect of work that has already been used without their knowledge or permission.
- The government should not allow any exceptions to copyright to allow the extraction of text and data for commercial purposes. This would allow AI developers to extract the work of writers from online sources, without permission or payment.
- There must also be clear, accessible and affordable routes for writers to challenge the practices of AI developers and file complaints about the use of their work.
“There have been some incredible advances in AI, but as with any new technology, we need to weigh the risks against the benefits and ensure that the speed of development doesn’t outpace or derail the protections writers and the creative workforce rely on at general to make a living,” said WGGB Assistant Secretary General Lesley Gannon.
“Regulation is clearly necessary to safeguard workers’ rights and protect the public from fraud and misinformation. WGGB proposes a series of sensible recommendations that will help protect and reassure the writing community, while allowing them to enjoy the benefits of this undoubtedly powerful tool.