Who Needs Writers When We Have AI?

yikes sign sHere’s a thing. For the craic (which is Irish for fun, nothing more) I fell into the rabbit hole that is the AI text generator ChatGPT.

I was impressed it could write me clever paragraphs about award-winning K-Pop idols BTS  – in the style of Douglas Adams  of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fame no less. It took seconds to generate something I would have spent an hour or more on.

So I asked it to write me a blog post about plagiarism. I looked away from the screen for all of 50 seconds, and there flashed up what is now a big chunk of this week’s post. Not a prompt so much as a warning…forty two s

So. Write about either AI (artificial intelligence) or plagiarism for this week’s challenge. Try a poem or an opinion piece.

The theme is, of course, morality. Is it right to use a computer program to generate new writing? Or have you something to say about the thorny issue of plagiarism, that is, copying someone else’s work to pass off as your own?

In my defence, I was on a writing retreat last week, knocking some of my own original poetic words into shape, so someone/something else writing the post for me was useful. I get so much creative work done at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, mostly with a pen and notebook, and my trusty dictionary and thesaurus. But I also had a laptop with internet access…

See what you think about this. I asked ChatGPT for a 500 word blog post on literary plagiarism, with reference to poetry in the UK and Ireland, and here is the (redacted) result:

Literary plagiarism has been a hotly debated topic in the UK and Ireland for many years, particularly when it comes to poetry. The act of plagiarism is essentially the theft of someone else’s intellectual property, and it can take many forms, from copying an entire poem or passage to using someone else’s ideas without proper attribution. In this blog post, we will explore the issue of literary plagiarism in poetry and its impact on the UK and Irish literary community.

The issue of literary plagiarism is particularly thorny when it comes to poetry because of the genre’s emphasis on language and the unique voice of each poet. Poets often strive to create something truly original and personal, and the act of plagiarism can undermine that effort. Additionally, poetry is often less well-protected than other forms of writing, such as novels or academic papers, which can make it easier for plagiarists to get away with their theft.

Despite these challenges, the UK and Irish literary communities have taken steps to address the issue of literary plagiarism in poetry. One organization that has been particularly active in this area is the Poetry Society, which has established a code of ethics for its members that includes a commitment to honesty and originality in their work. The Society has also set up a plagiarism panel that investigates allegations of plagiarism and takes appropriate action when necessary.

In addition to these efforts, there are also tools and resources available to help writers avoid unintentional plagiarism. One such resource is Turnitin, a software program that checks written work for originality by comparing it to a database of existing material. While Turnitin was originally designed for use in academic settings, it has also been used by writers and publishers to check for plagiarism in poetry and other forms of writing.

In conclusion, literary plagiarism is a complex and often controversial issue in the UK and Irish poetry communities. While cases of plagiarism can be damaging to individual writers and the literary community as a whole, efforts are being made to address the issue through ethical guidelines, investigative panels, and resources for writers. Ultimately, it is up to each writer to uphold the highest standards of honesty and originality in their work, and to respect the intellectual property of their fellow writers.

So there you have it. My ‘homework’ created by a computer (!). Interestingly, I discovered Turnitin reckons 15-20 percent of plagiarism is acceptable. Really? Not 42 then? Oh, well.

Anyway, call back next week, 5pm (Dublin time) on Wednesday, when I will present you with another creative writing prompt/exercise to help generate some new work, the old-fashioned way.

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