Hiroshi Ishiguro
Who you looking at?

Two of the questions after the text generation experiments dealt with ownership of the text.

  • Do you feel that you have used somebody else’s work? [Likart scale 1-5, Strongly Agree, Agree… Strongly Disagree]
    Does this seem relevant and why?
  • Do you think you could sell this as your own work? [Likart scale 1-5]
    Do you have any comments on notions of authorship,
    plagiarism, ownership and intellectual property?

Feedback Comments

This questions ‘do you own this, could you sell it?’ elicited strong responses.

Q3 Ownership

Likart median was 4, agreeing that they have used someone else’s work. This is a statement of fact about the text generator which is trained on vast amounts of other people’s unpaid work scraped from the internet. However the comments reduced the meaning of this acceptance of the truth.

Selected quotes from feedback

Comments ranged from the legalistic to worries of loss of agency.

Practical, legal

“The generator itself cannot claim royalties.”

“It is an interesting question and was not a worry that came to mind.”

“It is aggregated AI so can’t be plagiarism.”

Public domain, or from own sources

“Since those sources are in the public domain … I would not feel uncomfortable about that.”

“The text feels as though it’s borrowing from a deep well of existing ideas and literature.”

“I would edit the generated ideas so it becomes your own work anyway.”

“No, text came from my input.”

“A bit like using a cut up technique.”

“It felt like I was writing in translation.”

Robot overlord? See blog on uncanny valley effect

“The results are from elsewhere.”

“My work was taken out of my own hands.”

Sell as own work (use commercially)

Likart median was 3, Neutral. Perhaps hedging bets as these specific ownership issues are usually settled in court.

Selected quotes from feedback

Strong engagement with the core ideas raised by the Study.

“I guess this is just the beginning of amazing tools that will change the landscape of how text is created and analysed.”

“I have no more concerns about plagiarism/ownership due to the use of this tool than I would if I were constructing a story by throwing darts at a dictionary. The text it produces is more readable, but essentially no more or less mine.”

“Intellectual property is not the text but rather the ideas within the text and the method of generating a response in the reader. Since I make money from my writing  I fully appreciate the value of intellectual property and I respect it. After all many people can be taught to make a response or to build a box but can they be taught to response in a way that generates more ideas and can they build a unique box? If they can that unique box and that response are their intellectual property.”

“It was not as simple as just pressing ‘generate text’ and submitting whatever was produced. I do think I could sell this as my own work as I was editing the generated text and ensuring that what was generated was appropriate.”

“From a poetry point of view I don’t have an issue with it generating ideas. From this perspective, I use ideas from myth, folklore, natural history and I have no issue with that!”

“Maybe I could but I don’t think anyone would buy! I feel I took random elements and added to them.”

“Don’t see why not. The origin of the idea is my own.”

“I am quite careful about ownership issues and am particularly careful about my own work. So this would not really help me in writing something.”

“You cannot have plagiarism in a short story bound up in imagination where the story is a flight of fancy.”

“If the generator wrote good text, I think I would feel that I’d used someone else’s work.  That text wouldn’t have come from me, but from AI. That, to me, is cheating — mainly myself, as I know from experience that if I don’t used my creativity and imagination, I’ll lose it. But until AI can think for itself (and also use the five human senses) it’s not going to be able to write human interest or fiction well. … I’ve just discovered I’ve no desire to stay in this world and watch a computer write.”

Sentiment analysis

Text was graded using the IBM Tone Analyser.

Plagiarism and Can Sell questions had the same sentiments. In agreement with other sentiment gradings (see other blogs), Analytic was high (over 0.9), Confidence was low (under 0.5).

In these aggregated texts, Joy was medium high (0.6).

So, regarding ownership, professional writers are full of joy with the opportunities available through computer assistance (the Study uses Story Live, a new a creative support tool CST).

Likart scores

Somebody else’s work?

4 = Disagree

Sell as own?
3 = Neutral

Image credit

Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratories http://www.geminoid.jp/en/index.html