Japan's award-winning AI novel

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Japanese author Rie Kudan won the 170th Akutagawa Prize, one of Japan's most prestigious literary awards, for her novel "The Tokyo Tower of Sympathy" ("Tokyo-to Dojo-to"). In a surprising revelation, Kudan admitted that she used the AI chatbot program ChatGPT to assist in writing her book, with about 5% of the novel comprising sentences generated verbatim by the AI. The novel explores the story of an architect, Sara Makina, who is tasked with building a high-rise that is meant to be a comfortable rehabilitation center for criminals. The narrative also follows Takuto, a young man writing Makina's biography. As Makina works on the design of the tower, her intolerance for the offenders she is designing for becomes a central theme. Kudan's use of AI in her writing process has sparked debates within the literary community. While some, like writer and prize committee member Keiichiro Hirano, do not see an issue with the use of AI, others have raised concerns about the implications for authors who do not use technological assistance. Despite the controversy, the judges praised the novel as "flawless" and "highly entertaining and interesting work," which reflects the current era where AI is increasingly prevalent. Kudan has expressed her intention to continue leveraging AI in her writing, stating that the feedback from ChatGPT sometimes influenced the emotions and lines of the main character. She views the AI as a source of inspiration and a tool to enhance her creativity.
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