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ChatGPT's first book in Korea explores ‘45 Ways to Find a Purpose in Life’

March 21, 2023 - 18:54 By Hwang Dong-hee
Copies of “45 Ways to Find a Purpose in Life” written by ChatGPT are on display at a bookstore in Seoul, Feb. 22. (Yonhap)

Can AI write its own book?

The question prompted one Korean editor to test just how far ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot, could go.

“45 Ways to Find a Purpose in Life,” published by Snowfox Books, is the first book officially authored by ChatGPT in Korea, and having hit the shelves on Feb. 21.

It only took seven days from the time of its writing to its first sale, according to Seo Jin, CEO and the book’s editor at Snowfox Books. The entire process of writing, editing, translating and proofreading -- excluding printing and publishing -- was completed in 38 hours.

“The book was published with the aim of addressing the curiosity of a publisher and editor,” said Seo in a recent interview with The Korea Herald.

The title and chapter titles were not generated by AI. Seo selected them from her list of unpublished topics or projects such as the importance of relationships, a sense of purpose and how to use emotions.

The questions were asked in English while the translation was done by Naver’s AI language translator, Papago. Both versions are included in the book.

“45 Ways to Find a Purpose in Life” (Snowfox Books)

The cover was also selected from among the illustration drafts by Shutterstock, an AI image generator, after informing ChatGPT of the title, table of contents and topic.

“I was impressed to see the potential of ChatGPT. I noticed some parts were written as if the AI was sympathizing with readers’ emotions,” said Seo.

“However, I do not think it has written a high-quality text. It was plain answers, which is quite reassuring, because it showed that ChatGPT can be a powerful tool when used effectively by creative individuals.”

Seo observed that ChatGPT demonstrated certain limitations in organic coherency between each chapter. Also, it only used quotes when instructed to do so.

There were offers of distribution rights from several countries including China and Vietnam, but Seo said she is "skeptical about exporting the book" as she considers it to be "an experimental work."