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Unauthorized Use of Books in AI Training without authors’ consent

Books using for AI training without consent

Nearly 200,000 books are being used by tech giants to train AI systems. However, this movement has come under scrutiny as it relies on a data set called Books3, which includes pirated e-books without the knowledge or consent of the authors.The Atlantic’s investigation revealed that high-quality AI demands quality text, making books an attractive source. Authors are now discovering their works are part of this data set, leading to outrage and lawsuits against companies like Meta. The Atlantic’s database has allowed authors to identify if their books are used in AI training, sparking discontent among many writers.

What is Books3?

Books3 serves as a training data set for artificial intelligence systems, particularly generative AI models. These models require high-quality text for language learning, and books are considered valuable sources for this purpose. However, the use of pirated e-books has sparked controversy and legal action against companies, including Meta, that employ Books3 to train their AI systems.

What are the concerns?

Authors have expressed their dismay upon discovering that their works are being used without their consent. Mary H. K. Choi, author of “Emergency Contact,” described feeling outraged and helpless. For many authors, their books are deeply personal creations, and the unauthorized use of their work feels like a violation. Min Jin Lee, author of “Pachinko” and “Free Food for Millionaires,” called it outright theft and expressed frustration at the exploitation of her creativity and effort.

Books3 database

Nora Roberts, a prolific romance novelist, has the highest number of books (206) in the Books3 database among living authors, second only to William Shakespeare. She condemned the database’s use by tech companies as morally wrong and emphasized that writers are being exploited without compensation or permission. Similarly, Nik Sharma, whose cookbook “Season” was found in the database, expressed horror at being taken advantage of and highlighted the lack of contact or compensation for authors.

While some authors, like James Chappel, do not object to their works being used by AI, the broader concern among writers is the lack of transparency and consent in the AI industry. The Writers Guild of America recently went on strike partly to demand limits on AI usage in writing films and television shows, highlighting the growing concern among writers about AI’s influence on their craft.

This issue also extends to visual artists who discovered their work was used to train AI without permission. Both instances underscore the broader concerns about AI’s reach into various forms of art, which often involve personal and intimate expressions.

Need for Responsible AI Innovation

As this controversy unfolds, it coincides with President Joe Biden’s plans to introduce an executive order on AI, emphasizing responsible AI innovation. However, for writers, the battles surrounding AI and their work can be disheartening. Authors like Mary H. K. Choi feel that their gains in one arena can be swiftly wiped out in another, leaving them with a sense of inevitability about the situation.

Despite the challenges, authors like Nora Roberts call for unity among writers and their audiences to combat these issues. They believe that creators need to stand up for their work and support each other in the face of AI exploitation. The ongoing dialogue about AI’s impact on the creative world remains a vital issue for writers and artists alike.

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