Recently, the topic of “Mo Yan using ChatGPT to write an award speech for Yu Hua” has gone viral and sparked heated discussions among netizens.
Chinese Nobel Prize winner Mo Yan had sought the assistance of ChatGPT for help to write a prize citation for another famous Chinese writer Yu Hua, Mo revealed during the 65th anniversary of the Chinese literary bimonthly (six times a year) magazine Shouhuo (Harvest) in Shanghai on Tuesday.
Mo Yan: The award was written for several days and I couldn't think of it
Yu Hua, author of two of the most popular modern Chinese literature novels To Live and Brothers, had recently earned the prestigious top prize for the novel ranking in 2021 with his new novel Wen Cheng (The Lost City) published in 2021.
During the ceremony, as an award presenter for Yu, Mo was tasked with delivering a compelling prize citation.
“I spent several days trying to write one but failed, so I asked a PhD student to make ChatGPT write one for me,” Mo said, adding that after he put in the key words including “To Live,” “extract a tooth” and “Wen Cheng,” the chatbot immediately created a prize citation of over 1,000 words, written in a Shakespearean style.
The reason for Mo to choose the three key phrases is that To Live is one of Yu’s most famous novels, “extract a tooth” refers to the fact that Yu used to be a dentist before he became a writer, and Wen Cheng symbolized Yu’s latest novel, which merited the prize at the ceremony.
Yu Hua: Literature cannot be higher than reality.
Mo Yan and Yu Hua shared their long-standing friendship and reminisced about various stories they had experienced together.
The host used the title of one of Mo Yan’s works, “A Long-distance Race Thirty Years Ago,” to describe the relationship between Mo Yan and Yu Hua, old friends. “Yu Hua is not my opponent at all and has never been a threat.” Mo Yan said, “Except when he was in Lu Yuan, he was writing next to me, and the sound of the pen rubbing against the paper was too loud, which affected my thinking. After graduation, write each.”
Yu Hua is “revelating” that Mo Yan is turning into a photographer. “my new prose collection covers with photos taken by Mo Yan and asks him if he wants a manuscript fee. Of course, if he receives this manuscript fee, I will be a photographer.”
In addition, during the conversation at the event, Mo Yan and Yu Hua also shared their views on literature and reality. Is literature based on reality and higher than reality? Yu Hua replied: “Literature cannot be higher than reality, because reality is far broader and richer than literature, and literature can only pick up a small part. The so-called “literature originates from life and is higher than life” is a fiction of theorists. After writing for so many years, my experience is that literature does come from life, but it is definitely not higher than life.”
In response to a question from young readers, “is there a novel written for yourself”, Mo Yan said: “it is inevitable that everyone will write their personal experience, experience and life directly or indirectly in the novel, so it can be said that all the characters in the novel have’I’, but at the same time there is a dialectics, both me and not me, writing about me and writing about others.”