A.I. Tools Write False, Poor Quality Celebrity Obituaries

Read on to learn about the new ways artificial intelligence is impacting the literary scene.

Book Culture Book News
Two hands type on a laptop keyboard. Transparent graphics are overlaid on the hands with technology signs and the abbreviation A.I. as a title.

When former executive editor Joseph Lelyveld of The New York Times, television actor Tom Smothers, country music star Toby Keith, and other well-known figures passed away, obituaries flooded the internet. But among them were also false, grammatically incorrect biographies available for purchase on Amazon. These biographies were poorly written by artificial intelligence. One biography created after Lelyveld’s death had a 97% chance of being A.I.-generated, according to artificial intelligence detection company GPTZero. Capitalizing on the honorable lives of celebrities like Lelyveld and Smothers, A.I.-generated biographies are the news genre of “literature,” making it into the mainstream.

Why Is This an Issue?

The biographies have grammatically incorrect titles and pages filled with mistakes, contain misinformation about the celebrity’s habits or life, or are only a couple of pages long. A couple of obituaries are claimed to be written by people who, once fact-checked, died years of age, which makes it almost impossible to trace the producer and permanently stop them from fabricating this type of content. One of Toby Keith’s unauthorized A.I. generated came with a disclaimer stating that the author and publisher make no claims about the accuracy or quality of the work and that any similarities to real-life personalities are not purposeful.

Four gray letter blocks are placed against a white background. The first two blocks are laid flat on the ground, with the letter F on the first one and the letter A on the second. The next two blocks are placed on their edge, so that the row reads both "fact" and "fake."

Amazon’s Response

Although creators earn small profits on each book, high enough sales deem the process cost-effective. With the ease and quickness of using A.I., Several books can be published monthly. Combined with consumerism trends and the vulnerability of grief, there is a niche market for this. Yet, Amazon reviews on confirmed or highly suspected A.I.-generated books are primarily negative.

Two images are placed side-by-side. The image on the left is of an Amazon Kindle on a coffee table, with a coffee cup in the lower left of the image. The image on the right is a robot representing artificial intelligence, standing behind a cyber arts image of a city and a cell phone.

Amazon has refused to comment on their allowing these clearly inaccurate titles. Still, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing guidelines order authors and publishers to disclose if the material they intend to publish is created by artificial intelligence. Unless books are flagged and cause negative experiences for their customers, these books, biographies, and obituaries do not violate Amazon’s rules, and Amazon will not remove the content from their site.

Continued is the conversation about the pros and cons of A.I. and its multifaceted role in the artistic and literary world. Society must discuss the lengths to which artificial intelligence may be ethically utilized and with what degree of respect and integrity.

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