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Generative AI in games will create a copyright crisis

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Generative AI in games will create a copyright crisis

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AI Dungeon, a text-based fantasy simulation that runs on OpenAI’s GPT-3, has been churning out weird tales since May 2019. Reminiscent of early text adventure games like Colossal Cave Adventure, you get to choose from a roster of formulaic settings—fantasy, mystery, apocalyptic, cyberpunk, zombies—before picking a character class and name, and generating a story.

Here was mine: “You are Mr. Magoo, a survivor trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world by scavenging among the ruins of what is left. You have a backpack and a canteen. You haven’t eaten in two days, so you’re desperately searching for food.” So began Magoo’s 300-ish-word tale of woe in which, “driven half-mad” by starvation, he happens upon “a man dressed in white.” (Jesus? Gordon Ramsay?) Offering him a greeting kiss, Magoo is stabbed in the neck.

As lame as this story is, it hints at a knotty copyright issue the games industry is only just beginning to unravel. I’ve created a story using my imagination—but to do that I’ve used an AI helper. So who wrote the tale? And who gets paid for the work?  

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