- Added latest Medium.com statement
Updated August 2, 2023:
Medium has decided, “We are a home for human writing, full stop.” People prefer to read text written by people, argues Scott Lamb, Medium’s content director, on the company’s blog.
AI-assisted writing is “allowed” but no longer “welcome.” Text written entirely by AI isn’t a good fit for Medium at all, Lamb said.
“Even at its best, AI-generated text is bland, lacking in human wisdom, and filled with subtle deficiencies,” Lamb writes.
The current human-assisted filtering system would already catch a lot of AI content, which Medium would then stop distributing. Additional detection methods are under development.
Experimenting with AI content on your own Medium blog will still be allowed, so fully AI-generated content will not be deleted. But it won’t make you famous.
Medium is not a place for fully AI-generated stories, and 100% AI-generated stories will not be eligible for distribution beyond the writer’s personal network.
We currently allow the responsible use of AI-assistive technology on Medium. To promote transparency, and help set reader expectations, we require that any story incorporating AI assistance be clearly labeled as such. AI-assisted text without a disclosure at the beginning of the story (within the first two paragraphs), or other AI-generated content not labeled as such (for example, AI-generated images should include captioning identifying them as such, along with proper sourcing) will similarly be restricted to distribution on the writer’s personal network.
Excerpt from the Medium distribution guidelines
Article dated February 1, 2023:
Effective immediately, AI content on Medium must be flagged or it will not be distributed. This is just the first step of many, the platform said.
Recent advances in artificial intelligence and the tools available are forcing content platforms to expand their policies when it comes to AI. Examples include image platforms like Artstation and coding site Stackoverflow. After the coding forum was quickly flooded with a mass of low-quality ChatGPT responses, the platform now categorically rejects AI-generated comments.
Medium as a stage for AI bloggers
Medium.com also quickly became a playground for AI-generated posts from curious bloggers. When the company asked the community for its opinion on AI, it got a lot of responses, both positive and negative, according to a blog post by content chief Scott Lamb.
This is a moment of huge transformation in the digital world, and the potential implications are both wide-reaching and still not well-defined. But they’re also not abstract: AI-generated content is here now, and it’s important to start wrestling with that impact now too, even as the landscape is still taking shape.
In 2021, the site has fundamentally changed its business model. In addition to free content, paid content is supposed to secure the future of writers and the platform itself. This has drawn additional criticism from subscribers who do not necessarily want to contribute to funding cheap AI content with their monthly subscription.
AI content needs to be labeled on Medium
Medium has not yet addressed this issue, but emphasizes that this is only the first step. Instead, it will first implement a transparency policy.
There are a few reasons we settled on this initial approach — and I do want to underscore that this is just our initial approach; as this technology and its use continue to evolve, our policies may, too. We believe that creating a culture of disclosure, where the shared expectation of good citizenship is that AI-generated content is disclosed, empowers readers.
Texts that are suspected of being generated by AI and are not sufficiently flagged will not be distributed on the network. However, they remain accessible via a direct link.
A special feature of Medium is publishing. In addition to their private Medium pages, users can publish to curated blogs, some of which are commercially run. These blogs may have different writing rules than the Medium platform – and sometimes reject AI writing harshly.
“Any aspiring writers who submits AI content will be barred at the gates like the uncivilized barbarians they are. Any current Fanfare writer that submits an AI-generated story will likewise be shown the exit. No second chances, no redos. That may sound harsh but I want to be completely clear on thise,” reads the Medium blog Fan-fare.