It's the tip of the AIceberg.

AI Books

Books almost entirely generated by AI are flooding Amazon's marketplace, The Washington Post reports, a trend that's turning out to be a huge headache for human authors.

It's a growing problem, making it more difficult to distinguish real authors from AI-generated bylines of non-existent writers.

One publisher identified by the WaPo lists dozens of books on Amazon on surprisingly niche topics, with suspicious five-star reviews propping up the operation.

And AI-generated books on Amazon are only the tip of the iceberg, with other AI content flooding the rest of the internet with dubiously sourced material as well, which could easily trigger a pandemic of misinformation.

New Reality

Worse yet, these misleading signals could end up triggering a feedback loop, with AI text generators regurgitating each other's content.

NewsGuard, a firm that measures the credibility of online news sources, identified a whopping 49 websites producing content that appeared to be either mostly or entirely AI-generated in the month of April alone.

It's a new reality companies behind some of the biggest publishers are now grappling with. Some are hiding the fact that they're making use of AI, while others are advertising that fact out in the open.

"There’s nothing to be ashamed of," Josh Jaffe, president of San Francisco-based online publisher Ingenio, told the WaPo. "We’re actually doing people a favor by leveraging generative AI tools" to create content that wouldn't otherwise exist.

Online publications like CNET and BuzzFeed are already making ample use of the technology to generate often dubiously-sourced and redundant content.

Even AI-generated images are starting to flood the internet, with the top Google result of American artist Edward Hopper showing an AI-generated knockoff this week.

As for authors trying to sell their books online, it's a sobering new reality.

It doesn't help to know that "any text I write will inevitably be fed into an AI system that will generate even more competition," Chris Cowell, a Portland-based software developer, who had one of his books ripped off by an AI on Amazon, told the WaPo.

And what comes out of these algorithms could lead to mass confusion — or worse yet, rip the rug out from under us.

"The main issue is losing track of what truth is," Margaret Mitchell, chief ethics scientist at the AI start-up Hugging Face, told the newspaper. "Without grounding, the system can make stuff up. And if it’s that same made-up thing all over the world, how do you trace it back to what reality is?"

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