"Submissions are currently closed. It shouldn't be hard to guess why."


With the likes of OpenAI's blockbuster AI tool ChatGPT and Microsoft's Bing AI, machine learning-powered chatbots have officially landed in the hands of practically anybody with an internet connection.

Now, the consequences of AI-generated text flooding the internet are already starting to show. Sci-fi and fantasy magazine Clarkesworld, which has been publishing the works of award-winning writers for 17 years, had to shut down submissions over the weekend after getting overwhelmed by an onslaught of AI-generated works.

"Submissions are currently closed," the magazine's founder Neil Clarke tweeted. "It shouldn't be hard to guess why."

Concerning Trends

In a blog post titled "A Concerning Trend," Clarke noted how he "observed an increase in the number of spammy submissions to Clarkesworld."

The number of submissions spiked after the emergence of AI chatbots. While he didn't elaborate on how he was able to identify the AI submissions, Clarke found that "the number of spam submissions resulting in bans has hit 38 percent this month."

Making matters worse, Clarke argued, "the technology is only going to get better, so detection will become more challenging."

The reality is that the current crop of tools designed to detect AI-generated text is far from perfect. We found that GPTZero, for instance, which was put together by Princeton University computer science student Edward Tian, fell far from being able to reliably tell human- and AI-generated text apart.

Even OpenAI's own AI detecting tool, called "AI Text Classifier," didn't fare much better in our testing.


Clarke's woes are part of a much bigger trend.

"I’ve reached out to several editors and the situation I’m experiencing is by no means unique," Clarke wrote, admitting that he doesn't "have a solution" to a situation that "isn’t a game of whack-a-mole that anyone can 'win.'"

It's a worrying example of the kind of knock-on effects the proliferation of AI chatbots can have on the world. We've already seen educators seeing an influx of students submitting AI-generated essays. Meanwhile, tech giants are laying off thousands of workers while announcing multibillion-dollar investments in AI technologies.

For small publishers like Clarkesworld, the trend is clearly already proving to be a major headache – a thorny issue without a clear solution.

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