Medium Accidentally Paved the Way for AI-Bot Content
The platform’s new set of rules could be incentivizing bot content
Here’s a German proverb for you: “Das Gegenteil von gut ist gut gemeint.”
The sad irony of an unintentional mistake made with the best of intentions is actually hard to translate:“The opposite of good is well-intentioned.”
However, the essence is perfectly illustrated by Medium’s recent move to take a stand against AI-generated content.
Let there be bots!
Medium, in an attempt to preserve its platform as a “home for human writing”, recently announced two significant changes:
- All AI-generated content must be labeled as such.
- The 100-follower threshold for monetization has been removed (previously you had to get 100 followers before your Medium articles would generate income)
Now this could backfire quite a bit, as it literally encourages people to create a lot more fully-automated AI-content: The 100-follower hurdle used to stop people from producing seemingly human-created AI content simply because it took quite a while to reach that number with auto-generated content.
Now they get instant financial compensation for their efforts and are literally incentivized to create ever more human-like and better automated AI content.
Two kinds of AI-generated content
Regarding the first one of these two new rules: Requiring content creators to label their AI-generated texts as such, combined with the threat of being banned from the platform for non-compliance, makes perfect sense.
The valid assumption here is that these people will understand the shortcomings of their own AI-generated content; that they can see how the style, format, and storytelling of auto-generated texts can’t compete with human content, and that they would therefore be exposed if they bypassed the new labeling rule.
However, this is only targeting one of two types of AI-generated content.
Creators of the second type are the exact opposite. They try to improve the ways in which their AI-generated texts are mimicking human writing. For them the 100-follower rule has been a big obstacle, since they had to invest a lot of time and effort to gain those initial followers and finally monetize their automated content.
For many, that was unsustainable.
With the removal of the 100-follower requirement, this might change: Those who are able to run bot armadas that produce large amounts of seemingly “human” content can now make money from it instantly. And unfortunately, since AI detection methods are far from foolproof, I expect a new flood of AI-generated content on the platform.
I hope I’m wrong.