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Medium Says Writers Can Use AI — Under One Condition

  • 5 min read

There are a lot of writers who have started writing their stories with *a little help*. Here’s what will happen with their stories.

*With a little help* from their AI writing tools, there are an awful lot of writers pumping out story after story on Medium.

As Nikos Kafritsas complained:

“(…) the last month, I have been bombarded with low-quality articles that were written 100% by ChatGPT. Their authors were publishing 4–5 articles every day, hoping to accumulate earnings with sheer quantity.”

He’s not alone. Actually, he’s in good company.

Medium’s feeds are filled to the brim with articles that look as if they were written with a little help from AI.

Poor AI… Rarely have I seen an author disclose that his story was written with the help of an AI writing program.

A few days ago, Medium’s VP of content, Scott Lamb shared Medium’s new AI policy.

“We welcome the responsible use of AI-assistive technology on Medium.”

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Lamb adds:

“To promote transparency, and help set reader expectations, we require that any story created with AI assistance be clearly labeled as such.“

Medium wants writers to clearly label AI-written text

In theory, Medium wants writers to disclose when a story was written with a little help from an AI writing tool.

In practice, it’s not that easy to know whether a text is written by a human or a machine.

There are various ways to detect AI-generated text.

One common method is to use software to analyze different features of the text.

On Twitter, I saw, that Tony Stubblebine is testing a tool to detect if a text was written by AI.

Tony Stubblebine Detection Tool Kit Twitter

“Green means the word had a high probability of occurring. One of these was written by AI and the other by a person.”

He added:

“I can’t tell the difference”

Medium won’t distribute AI-written stories

Lamb said that when Medium finds what they believe was written by AI and hasn’t been labeled, the story won’t get distributed.

Distributed = recommended and boosted via the network via the “For You” section on the homepage and the “Medium Digest” newsletter…)

Good news for AI writers: your story won’t get removed. You can still earn money with your content.

Additionally, Medium won’t proactively scan published stories for AI-generated text.

Towards Data Science banned the use of AI writing tools

Towards Data Science (tds) is Medium’S second biggest publication.

It has 653K followers.

Since ChatGPT for instance is especially interesting to use for tech writers and software developers, tds decided to ban the use of AI writing tools.

It will only allow the use of AU when it’s clearly labeled and used as an example (ex. funny ways to use ChatGPT when programming…)

The editorial team said:

“committed to publishing work by human authors only”

The Writing Cooperative wants you to cite AI as a source

Justin Cox shares in the Style Guide in 5f:

Do not submit anything written solely using a generative AI tool.

When using a generative AI tool to create any portion of your submission, you must cite it like any other source.

Fanfare doesn’t allow AI

In his official statement Eric Pierce shares:

Any aspiring writers who submits AI content will be barred at the gates like the uncivilized barbarians they are.

Any current Fanfare writer that submits an AI-generated story will likewise be shown the exit. No second chances, no redos. That may sound harsh but I want to be completely clear on this.

Interesting statements from the Medium Community

David Todd McCarty — “I’m 100% against allowing people to get paid to have a computer do their writing for them.”

dominiconorton — “Medium’s audience don’t considers tools like Grammarly as AI (because it is). The question comes to what extent is AI content acceptable AND detectable.”

Natasha MH — “I can’t help but feel the reason Medium is even considering AI supported writing is because … the team can’t tell? A mechanism needs to be in place to separate the wheat from the chaff and to reject such artificial practice. Writing integrity is something we have been taught in all writing classes.”

Lost Books — “Putting this up to “belief” makes it completely & utterly arbitrary, and curation is already a black box as it is.”

Kathy Copeland Padden — “Allowing AI on Medium is a slap in the face to the writers whose talents have grown this platform.”

Bottom Line

The technological revolution presents us with a huge problem:

“How will we know whether what we read online is written by a human or a machine?”

When I read a story on Medium I try to figure out whether this story was written by a human or by a machine or edited and customized stories written by AI.

A lot of writers and readers think AI-generated text should get banned and the accounts suspended.

Apparently, this won’t happen.

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Do you think it’s fair to continue to pay writers for text written *with a little help* from AI?

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