Rushdie says ChatGPT seems 'completely devoid of a sense of humour'

Paris (AFP) - Artificial intelligence tools may pose a threat to writers of thrillers and science fiction, but lack the originality and humour to challenge serious novelists, Salman Rushdie wrote in a French journal published Thursday.

In an article translated into French for literary journal La Nouvelle Revue Francaise (NRF), Rushdie said he tested ChatGPT by asking it to write 200 words in his style.

He describes the results as “a bunch of nonsense”.

“No reader who had read a single page of mine could think I was the author. Rather reassuring,” he said, according to a translation of the article by AFP.

The Booker Prize-winning author of “The Satanic Verses” and “Midnight’s Children” said that generative AI writing tools could be a threat to more formulaic writers, however.

“The trouble is that these creatures learn very quickly,” he said, adding that this could be worrying for writers of genre literature like thrillers and science fiction, where originality is less important.

The threat could be particularly acute for film and TV writers.

“Given that Hollywood is constantly creating new versions of the same film, artificial intelligence could be used to draft screenplays,” he said.

His judgement of ChatGPT’s skills was harsh, finding it had “no originality” and was seemingly “completely devoid of any sense of humour”.

Rushdie spent many years in hiding after a death threat was issued by Iran in 1989 over the “The Satanic Verses”, which was claimed to be anti-Islamic.

He lost the use of an eye after being stabbed in August 2022 during a literary conference in the New York area by an US citizen of Lebanese origin.