Japanese literary award winner admits getting help from ChatGPT


A Japanese author has opened up about getting help from ChatGPT shortly after winning one of the country’s most prestigious literary awards.

Driving the news: Rie Kudan, 33, on Wednesday received the coveted Akutagawa Prize — one awarded for budding writers — for her novel “Tokyo-to Dojo-to” (“Sympathy Tower Tokyo”). Set in a futuristic Tokyo, the AI-themed novel delves into the challenges faced by an architect in building a high-rise prison.

Aided by AI: After receiving the award, Kudan admitted at a press conference that she had utilized ChatGPT in her writing process. She said about 5% of her novel was generated by the AI program, including inspiration for some of the dialogue.

“I made active use of generative AI like ChatGPT in writing this book,” Kudan said, according to AFP. “I would say about 5% of the book quoted verbatim the sentences generated by AI.”

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Reactions: Kudan’s revelation has drawn mixed responses. The prize committee, which reportedly deemed her work as “practically flawless,” did not see her use of ChatGPT as problematic.

“It seems that the story that Rie Kudan’s award-winning work was written using generative AI is misunderstood… If you read it, you will see that the generative AI was mentioned in the work,” writer and committee member Keiichiro Hirano wrote on X, as per CNN. “There will be problems with that kind of usage in the future, but that is not the case with ‘Tokyo Sympathy Tower.’”

The public, on the other hand, was more divided, with some reportedly raising the alarm on plagiarism.

Trending on NextShark: Japanese literary award winner admits getting help from ChatGPT

“So she wrote the book by deftly using AI ... Is that talented or not? I don’t know,” one X user noted, as per AFP.

“If AI-generated works are subject to evaluation, then from now on, as AI evolves further, that would mean a work almost entirely created by AI would be OK too, no?” another user questioned, according to The Japan Times. “In that case, it would no longer be a competition between humans but a battle between AIs. Would that be alright when AI is prohibited in chess and go matches?”

The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Literature, which organizes the biannual prize, has not commented on the matter as of this writing.

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The big picture: Kudan’s win follows a series of controversies involving the use of AI in the arts. Last year, for one, a group of authors including John Grisham, George R.R. Martin and Jodi Picoult filed a class-action lawsuit against OpenAI — the company behind ChatGPT — for allegedly using their copyrighted works while training the program’s large language models.

What's next: Kudan, who also confessed to confiding with ChatGPT about her personal problems, said she wants to maintain "good relationships" with AI and co-exist with it to further unleash her creativity.


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