Believe it or Not, AI has made an Enemy of Sci-Fi

Science fiction has quite an illustrious history, with possible origins as far back as the year 2000 BC. Of course, back then, glass had only just been invented and...

Science fiction has quite an illustrious history, with possible origins as far back as the year 2000 BC. Of course, back then, glass had only just been invented and the iron age was to the Ancient Chinese what Star Trek is to us today. Technology has always been a fascination for the human race, if only because a bigger stick meant that we could murder our rivals more efficiently.


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The pursuit of new and fascinating things – like visiting the Moon or Mars – is central to sci-fi writing but few might have anticipated that it could be the genre’s undoing. Artificial intelligence has Clarkesworld Magazine flustered after a “flood” of material created by the AI toolset ChatGPT entered its inbox. The publication, which publishes short sci-fi stories at 12¢ per word, has now closed submissions.

Clarkesworld isn’t the only place that’s been victimized by ChatGPT crooks. The AI tool has also been detected on Amazon’s ebooks marketplace. News agency Reuters discovered more than 200 ChatGPT-authored pieces on the Kindle Store in February, including, “How to Write and Create Content Using ChatGPT”. The chatbot’s presence isn’t limited to fiction and self-help books though.

In a bizarre upheaval of the scientific method, the subject of experimentation – in this case, ChatGPT – has been investigating itself with the aid of researchers. Speaking to Advanced Science News, journalist Zeeya Merali mentioned a pair of studies, one discussing the use of AI in medical studies and a second that touched upon ChatGPT’s value in string theory, a field of theoretical physics.

Interestingly, in the second case, the conclusion was that the AI tool makes frequent mistakes. So, what does all this mean for sci-fi literature?





Despite a long association with the niche aspects of entertainment, sci-fi crops up constantly in all sorts of different places – so, there’s always a need for unique content and artwork. Video games epitomize this need by requiring media to appease many of our senses (taste and smell excluded), which usually means combining written dialogue and storylines with character models, backgrounds, and animation effects.

Games like Mass Effect and Dead Space combine classic sci-fi tropes (aliens, spaceships, and FTL travel) with a distinctly modern way of interacting with a story. Mass Effect in particular

allows a player to make decisions that have an impact on the game’s narrative, and while superficially similar to TV shows like Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica, the increased interactivity of these video games could draw in a wider audience.

An offshoot of video gaming – casino slots – also likes to meld old and new sci-fi aspects to create a stimulating, sensory experience for players. The planet7casino has a strong sci-fi theme supporting its real slots online, including slot games like Alien Wins, Pulsar, and Nova 7s.

Of course, each one of these needs an identity to distinguish it from the thousands of other casino games on the internet so, in one way, it’s easy to understand why developers would look to AI for new stories and ideas.

The problem for writers is that the use of ChatGPT for creative works falls somewhere between plagiarism and laziness, with analysts divided on its fairness. Also, it’s reasonable to assume that the AI tool is feeding roughly similar ideas to its 1m+ users, in roughly the same tone of voice. Plagiarism detection service Turnitin can detect ChatGPT, which gives some credence to the idea that AI-created content is stolen from human creators.

Clarkesworld Magazine considers submissions based on ChatGPT’s work to be “spam”. The site’s Twitter account also noted the ease at which they can be rooted out, which should serve as a warning for any would-be Arthur C. Clarkes out there. The worry now is that we’re at the opening stage of this particular problem with technology so things could be about to get much worse for publishers of all descriptions.

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at:
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