A sci-fi magazine has stopped submissions because of a lot of stories from artificial intelligence

Seeing the side hustles: How science fiction and fantasy are getting traction in chatbot based newsfeeds? An article by Clarke et al

The science fiction and fantasy magazine had stopped accepting new submissions after it had been bombarded with stories that were Artificial Intelligence-generated.

We thought by the end of the month, we would have double the amount of submissions we normally have. We were concerned about what we might do to stop the rate of growth.

The quality of the writing was very poor and it wasn’t clear why the magazine didn’t reveal the way it was identifying the stories.

Microsoft and Google have since announced their own chatbots, in what is shaping up as an arms race to be the industry leader. Tech experts worried about improper use of it have sought to adapt.

Clarke said magazines like his, which pay contributors for their work, were being targeted by people trying to make a quick buck. He said that he had spoken with editors of other magazines about the same problem.

He said that there is a rise of side hustle culture online. “And some people have followings that say, ‘Hey, you can make some quick money with ChatGPT, and here’s how, and here’s a list of magazines you could submit to.’ And unfortunately, we’re on one of those lists.”

“The Last Hope”: When AI and Science Fiction Meets the PLANTS of the Publisher, Editors, and Publishers

It was part of the motivation to speak out that the magazine didn’t have an answer to how it was going to deal with the issue.

We have a mascot that is a robot. So, you know, we kind of see the the humor,” he said. “But the thing is that science fiction is quite often cautionary, and, you know, we don’t embrace technology just because it exists. We want to make sure that we’re using it right.

Williams has received more than 20 short stories all of which were titled “The Last Hope” from different author names and email addresses. They were all generated using artificial intelligence tools and hundreds of other similar submissions that have overwhelmed small publishers in recent months.

The elements of the submissions that Williams has seen were replicated by The Verge. Dozens of similar titles were in follow-up to a short science fiction story that was prompt to write and included copy-and-pasted information from the submission guidelines.

Willams and her team have learned how to spot works which is why the influx of submissions has been frustrating. Artificial Intelligence is taking away the time of editors and readers and may be crowding out genuine submissions from newer writers. And the problem could only get worse, as the wider availability of writing bots creates a new genre of get-rich-quick schemes, where literary magazines with open submissions have discovered themselves on the receiving end of a new surface for spammy submissions trying to game the system.

Besides repeating titles, there are certain character names that tend to appear often, Williams says. Sometimes the manuscript contains something that isn’t in the online form. Author names often appear to be amalgamations of first and last names. Instructions on how to wire money for the story that isn’t accepted are in some optional cover letters. At times, the submitter hasn’t even bothered to replace “[name]” with their own.

“I just basically go through them as quickly as I can,” Williams says of the pieces she suspects are AI-generated. “It takes the same amount of time to download a submission, open it, and look at it. I would rather be spending that time on legitimate submissions.

Most publications pay 8 to10 cents per word and others pay up to a few hundred dollars for accepted pieces. In his blog, Clarke wrote that a “high percentage of fraudulent submissions” were coming from some regions but declined to name them, concerned that it could paint writers from those countries as scammy.

A wave of artificial intelligence-generated work could cause written work to be shut out. The outlet uses Submittable, a popular submission service, and FFO’s plan that includes a monthly cap on stories, after which the portal closes. If hundreds of people send ineligible AI-generated work, that could prevent human authors from sending in their stories.

The FFO Issue: Submission Forms, Cover Letters, and Human Editing of Science Fiction and Fantasy in the Era of Submittable News

“If this were people from inside the [science fiction and fantasy] community, they would know it wouldn’t work. It would be clear to them that they can’t do this and expect it to work.

The issue goes beyond publications for science fiction and fantasy. horror and literary fiction are accepted at flash fiction online. On February 14th, the outlet appended a notice to its submission form that states it is committed to publishing stories written and edited by humans. We reserve the right to reject any submission that we suspect to be primarily generated or created by language modeling software, ChatGPT, chat bots, or any other AI apps, bots, or software.”

The updated terms were added around the time that FFO received more than 30 submissions from one source within a few days, says Anna Yeatts, publisher and co-editor-in-chief. Each story hit cliches and the cover letter was structured and written differently than what the publication normally sees. They had suspicions about some of the work they had been sent since January.

In December, Yeatts began to use the tool to make stories for specific genres or in styles like gothic romance. The system was able to replicate the technical elements, including establishing main characters and setting and introducing conflict, but failed to produce any “deep point of view” — endings were too neat and perfect, and emotions often spilled into melodrama. Everyone has brown eyes, and stories often open with characters sitting down. Around 5 percent of the work FFO has received this year was probably created by artificial intelligence, according to Yeatts.

“It does have all the parts of the story that you try to look for. It has a beginning, middle, and end. It has a resolution, characters. The grammar is good,” Yeatts says. The team at FFO is trying to teach readers the basics of a good story as they read it their first time.

Yeatts isn’t sure what the magazine can do to stop the stories from coming. It would be costly for FFO to upgrade the Submittable plan.

“We’ve talked about contacting other authors but that doesn’t feel true to who we are as a publication because that’s going to deter new writers.” We do not have good solutions.

People in the community are thinking about ways to respond to the problem that’s inundating other publishers. Matthew Kressel, a science fiction writer and creator of Moksha, an online submission system used by dozens of publications, says he’s started hearing from clients who have received spammy submissions that appear to be written using AI tools.

“Allowing authors to self-affirm if the work is AI-generated is a good first step,” Kressel told The Verge via email. “It provides more transparency to the whole thing, because right now there’s a lot of uncertainties.”

For Williams, the editor of Asimov’s, being forced to use her time to sift through the AI-generated junk pile is frustrating. It is quite concerning that legitimate new authors might think editors will not make it to their manuscript.

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