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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Writers want AI collaborators to respect their personal values and writing strategies : a human-centered perspective on AI co-writing Biermann, Oloff C.


Modern large-scale language models approach the quality of human-level writing. This promises the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) writing companions performing AI-led writing under human control, surpassing traditional writing tools limited to revision and ideation supports. However, human-AI co-writing may endanger writers’ control, autonomy, and ownership by overstepping co-creative boundaries. My research team and I first conducted a design workbook study with 7 hobbyists and 13 professional writers and elicited three sets of primary barriers to the adoption of human-AI co-writing. Storywriters desire retaining control over writing rather than letting AI take the lead when they (1) prioritize emotional values in turning ideas into words over the productivity of AI-generated writing; (2) have high self-confidence and distrust AI in challenging sub-tasks (e.g., creating characters and dialogue); and (3) expect the AI control mechanism to mismatch their writing strategies. To expand on the results of the design workbook study, I led the design of two AI-assisted writing tools which support UX scenario writing. I subsequently conducted a summative evaluation of these systems. Participants prioritized productivity and reacted positively to both systems, perceiving them as Creativity Support Tools (CST)’s for achieving prolific writing. The results reveal how the tool design interacted with designers’ value structure: both systems allowed them to maintain their integrity and enhance their enjoyment. Additionally, increased control promoted a greater sense of ownership and satisfaction, while adding additional overhead for the designer. This work lays the groundwork for AI companions that respect storywriters’ personal values and writing methods.

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