There has been plenty of speculative fiction about artificial intelligence taking over the world and eliminating superfluous humans, whether by design or by accident, by messing with our national defense systems, infrastructure, or governments. But it’s possible that the first deaths from AI might come from a place we’d never think of, harnessed by the very human desire to make a quick buck. The New York Mycological Society is warning the public about a rash of AI-generated books on mushroom foraging. What could possibly go wrong?
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Searching for edible mushrooms in the wild is a growing hobby, one that should always be guided by experts in the field. There are poisonous mushrooms that resemble edible varieties, and it takes knowledge and experience to detect the difference. Samantha Cole’s search of mushroom-foraging guides on Amazon revealed quite a few, some aimed at beginners, that were written by authors with no internet presence and no authentic credentials. She ran text samples through AI-detection programs that revealed they were likely written by ChatGPT (and some samples are easily detectible to anyone who writes a lot). To their credit, Amazon removed the books they were alerted about, but how many more are there?
In the age of self-publishing and on-demand printing, it’s easier than ever to get a book listed for sale on Amazon. With ChatGPT, one can even skip the process of writing and editing it. The subject of mushroom-foraging might be just the first phase of dangerous AI publishing we will have to deal with. Read about the AI-generated mushroom guides at 404. -via Metafilter
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