Thousands of authors have signed a letter asking that AI companies stop using their work to train models. Notable authors such as Michael Chabon, Nora Roberts, Margaret Atwood, and others signed the letter which was aimed at AI companies using their data without consent.
This is the latest push against training AI using web scraping and is another push from the creative industry which sees AI potentially pushing them out of the market. The petition is signed by over 9,000 writers and names CEOs from companies such as OpenAI, Alphabet, Stability AI, IBM, Meta, and Microsoft.
In it, they are asking that writers get credit and be compensated for how they use their information to train models. The letter claims that the information used is copyrighted and used to train AI. This is a similar argument used against Google in a class action lawsuit against the company recently. OpenAI was also hit with a similar lawsuit a few weeks ago.
In a press release from the Authors Guild, the group that put together the letter. President of the Authors Guild, Maya Shanbhag Lang said, “The output of AI will always be derivative in nature. AI regurgitates what it takes in, which is the work of human writers. It’s only fair that authors be compensated for having ‘fed’ AI and continuing to inform its evolution. Our work cannot be used without consent, credit, and compensation. All three are a must.”
One of the signers of the letter, author Nora Roberts also commented via the press release. Saying, “If creators aren’t compensated fairly, they can’t afford to create. If writers aren’t paid to write, they can’t afford to write. Human beings create and write stories human beings read. We’re not robots to be programmed, and AI can’t create human stories without taking from human stories already written.”.
The question of AI models being trained on the wealth of data centers around the idea of consent. Should these models, which are often used to generate income for their companies, train on people’s data without either an opt-out option or compensation?
This is the question that Mary Rasenberger, CEO of The Author’s Guild, expresses in her statement in the letter. “It says it’s not fair to use our stuff in your AI without permission or payment,…So please start compensating us and talking to us.”
The issue has been simmering since last year when artists began to push back against AI being used to create art, and their work being used to train AI models without consent. And as China has taken the first major steps toward an AI regulatory framework, the United States has begun to step up as well.
Back in March, the US Chamber requested that the federal government begin formulating regulations to help govern the immerging technology, and last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on AI and Copyright.
You can watch the entire hearing below: