(RightWing.org) – Right now, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is creating huge excitement. Apps like ChatGPT let anyone quickly produce fact-filled articles. Graphics packages like Midjourney can create photo-realistic artwork. Many people are thrilled at the possibilities this technology opens up. However, business experts are warning that there are some major pitfalls, too.
Current AI programs use “generative AI,” which lets them create new content by studying and learning as much existing content as they can. The question is, just how new is what they’re creating? Often the answer turns out to be “not very.” Researcher Gary Marcus is one of several media experts who’s put generative AI to the text and found that what it’s actually doing often comes very close to plagiarism — stealing other people’s work.
AI’s borrowing habits have already landed Microsoft and OpenAI, the owner and creators of ChatGPT, in court. In December 2023 the New York Times (NYT) sued the companies over the way they trained their tool — which included letting it read millions of the newspaper’s articles. Now it’s using the knowledge it gained to compete with the paper, and it’s also turning out text that’s an almost word-for-word copy of NYT articles. OpenAI insists that “regurgitation” of other people’s content is “a rare bug.” But is it?
When Marcus fed a series of prompts into Midjourney and set it to work generating art, what it came back with were exact replicas of cartoon characters SpongeBob, Mario, and The Simpsons. In other tests, graphics AIs have created lookalikes of Star Wars characters.
On January 23, The Hill ran an opinion piece by Casey Mock, who openly accused the AI industry of piracy. Mock argues that, deliberately or not, generative AI is infringing copyrights — and, he warned, that’s not a good business model. He said “Piracy only benefits the pirates in the long run,” and compared AI to the 1990s music-sharing platform Napster, which enabled the industrial-scale piracy of music files. Napster was eventually sued into oblivion, with its creators forced to pay millions in compensation to artists. If the tech industry isn’t careful, their new AI tools could go the same way.