Japanese writer wins award, reveals she used ChatGPT

The latest recipient of a prestigious literary prize in Japan has revealed that part of her novel was entirely written with the help of artificial intelligence (AI), specifically ChatGPT.

Rie Kudan, a 33-year-old writer, won the Akutagawa Prize last week with her novel “Tokyo-to Dojo-to” (“Tokyo Sympathy Tower”). The novel is about an architect in the capital of Japan and is billed as a narrative that “exposes the prophecy of the AI generation.”

However, Kudan soon revealed she had a unique ghostwriter helping her, Japan Times reported.

In her acceptance speech, Kudan stated: “This is a novel written by making full use of a generative AI like ChatGPT, and probably about 5% of the whole text is written directly from the generative AI. I would like to work well with them to express my creativity.”

Ironically, at a time when authors are actually waging legal battles against AI firms for their use of copyrighted material, the awards committee had praised Kudan’s novel as “practically flawless.”

In 2023, a group of high-profile authors such as Jodi Picoult, George R.R. Martin, and Jonathan Franzen collectively sued OpenAI for “systematic theft” of their work, which they say was used to train ChatGPT.

"ChatGPT is being used to generate low-quality ebooks, impersonating authors and displacing human-authored books,” the lawsuit, filed in New York, said, and Salman Rushdie added that a short text generated in his own style by AI was “pure garbage."

Kudan is unfussed. As per CNN, she is planning to continue her collaboration with ChatGPT, a bot that allegedly helped unleash her creative potential.

“I plan to continue to profit from the use of AI in the writing of my novels while letting my creativity express itself to the fullest,” she said.

Social media users aren’t convinced using AI actually has or should have a role in the creative process. Some are asking whether Kudan will share the prize with OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, or wondering if she is planning to return the award.

Last year, a Berlin-based photographer won the prestigious international photography competition with an AI-generated image, only to refuse the award and spark the debate on the role of AI in art.

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