Use of AI led to Prosecraft's closure

Emre Çitak
Aug 8, 2023

Prosecraft Books, a renowned platform that harnessed AI algorithms to generate novel fiction, faced an unexpected shutdown. This event, which unfolded recently, sent ripples across the writing community and technology enthusiasts alike.

The platform, which once thrived on its AI-powered content creation, was abruptly silenced, prompting many to ponder the implications of this move.

In recent years, AI technologies have been making significant strides in various domains, including literature. Platforms like Prosecraft utilized intricate algorithms that analyzed existing literary works to produce new and engaging narratives.

These algorithms, fueled by vast datasets and machine learning, could emulate the creative process, leading to the creation of novels that mimicked human-written content.

Prosecraft shutdown
Benji Smith announces that he is shutting down Prosecraft after the writers' backlash on the platform - Image courtesy of Prosecraft 

Why did the Prosecraft shut down?

The Prosecraft shutdown occurred due to a significant backlash from authors who protested against the platform's practices., a platform that aimed to gather data on writing style markers from novels, utilized copyrighted content from over 25,000 books to build a data library.

However, it faced immediate opposition from authors, including well-known names like Jeff VanderMeer, Indra Das, Maureen Johnson, and Celeste Ng.

The crux of the issue lay in the fact that Prosecraft used AI algorithms to analyze contexts of words based on similar sentences and passages from copyrighted books. Despite using only portions of text, the platform lacked proper authorization to create a database from entire works.

This discrepancy led to the platform's creator, Benji Smith, being confronted with the argument that his actions didn't comply with Fair Use principles, as the platform was using complete copyrighted works for training AI algorithms.

Author Zach Rosenberg played a crucial role in bringing the issue to light through social media platforms like X (formerly Twitter), prompting more authors to voice their concerns.

As a result of the strong opposition and criticism, Benji Smith voluntarily took down the Prosecraft platform, posting the decision to shut down Prosecraft in a blog post. In his explanation provided through a blog post, Smith highlighted his belief in following Fair Use guidelines, but this stance was contested by many authors who asserted their rights over their creative content, just like what happened in Artstation back in 2022.

Prosecraft shows writers' dilemma clearly

The Prosecraft Shut Down underscores a pivotal concern within the writing community: the coexistence of human authors and AI-generated content. As AI algorithms become more advanced, they pose both opportunities and challenges for writers.

On one hand, AI-generated content can provide inspiration, ideas, and even supplement human writers' work.

On the other hand, the proliferation of AI-written content raises concerns about originality, authenticity, and the unique perspective that human writers bring to their craft.

Now, the use of AI technologies, allowing us to quickly access everything from complex scientific calculations to straightforward information in areas such as coding with a fast literature search, has grown significantly. Looking at this more critically, we might wonder: Why stop at fiction novels when we all recognize that science can be as intricate and imaginative as art itself?


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