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People cannot distinguish between human-made and AI-generated haiku: Japan study

This diagram provided by Kyoto University's Yoshiyuki Ueda shows three haiku and their aesthetic evaluations. From top, one generated by AI and selected by humans, one created by Kobayashi Issa, and one generated by AI and randomly picked for the experiment are seen.

KYOTO -- Artificial intelligence (AI) can create haiku poems that are of such a high standard that people cannot distinguish between human-made and AI-generated compositions, researchers in Japan have found.

    Psychological experiments conducted by a team of researchers at Kyoto University have also proved that participants tend to appreciate AI-generated haiku with some human input. The scientists, who announced the findings on Nov. 2, stated, "These results suggest that human-AI collaboration leads to better creativity in haiku production," as creative work using AI is becoming increasingly common.

    The team members, including Yoshiyuki Ueda, a cognitive science senior lecturer at Kyoto University's Institute for the Future of Human Society, prepared 20 pieces randomly picked from a large number of AI-generated haiku, another 20 haiku composed by AI and selected by three humans, and another 40 works by Japanese poetry masters including Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828) and Takahama Kyoshi (1874-1959) in the "Saijiki" seasonal term dictionary. The researchers then had 385 people evaluate the poetry in an online survey.

    Participants rated haiku displayed on a computer screen with a score out of 7 in criteria such as if they felt the "beauty" of the works. Haiku generated by AI and selected by humans earned the highest rating at 4.56 points. Poets' works and randomly picked AI haiku were rated almost the same, with 4.15 points and 4.14 points, respectively.

    Furthermore, participants were asked if each haiku was created by a human or AI, and the results showed that they could not distinguish between them. According to the researchers, the experiment results suggested a psychological effect called "algorithm aversion," in which people think that quality works are created by humans, as the study showed the tendency for participants to mistakenly believe that AI-composed haiku that earned high scores were produced by humans.

    The AI-generated haiku were provided by Hokkaido University associate professor Tomohisa Yamashita, who had been involved in developing the "AI Issa-kun" rapid haiku generator.

    Past research conducted abroad comparing AI-generated and human-made poetry had indicated that works created by humans were favored.

    Ueda analyzed his team's research and commented, "The unexpected results were perhaps due to facts that AI composed quality haiku and that participants may have enjoyed AI haiku while using their imagination even if they didn't understand the meaning at first glance because haiku are short."

    The team's research results were published in the British journal "Computers in Human Behavior."

    (Japanese original by Norikazu Chiba, Kyoto Bureau)

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