Alex Salmond has joined calls from prominent Scottish authors about the unauthorised and unpaid use of novels and poetry to train artificial intelligence systems.

Christopher Brookmyre, Val McDermid, Kerry Hudson and Damian Barr all spoke to The Herald about their concerns at finding out their work had been 'stolen' by some of the world's richest tech companies.

Now the former minister has expressed his concern at finding his book, The Dream Shall Never Die, featured on a database of writers - none of whom gave permission for copyrighted writing to be used.

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A spokesperson for Mr Salmond said: "Alex shares the concerns that the AI revolution is progressing at pace without anyone pausing to ask the obvious question 'for what purpose and at what cost?', and way in advance of legislation or regulation.

"AI should exist to make our lives better, to push new frontiers to help in medicine and science, and importantly it should serve the purpose of improving the common good.

"What it must not do is replace people purely to benefit big business and stifle creativity.

"For if that proves to be the case then the world will be much worse for it."

It was revealed that some of the world's largest tech firms are using copyrighted literature to build lucrative generative AI technologies, a move that has sparked fury in the arts world.

An online database from the American magazine The Atlantic has allowed writers to search to see if they are affected.

An open letter from the American trade body the Authors to the CEOs of OpenAI, Alphabet, Meta, Stability AI, IBM, and Microsoft calls on them to obtain consent, credit, and fairly compensate writers for the use of copyrighted materials in training AI.

The list of signatures is already more than 10,000-strong and includes Dan Brown, James Patterson, Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Franzen, Roxane Gay, Celeste Ng, Viet Thanh Nguyen and Tobias Wolff.

The spokesperson for Alex Salmond said, while the leader of the Alba party is worried about his work being mined by AI, he would have no concerns about current First Minister Humza Yousaf doing so.

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He said: "If certain Scottish politicians would copy Alex’s work then perhaps Scotland would have secured the referendum we have voted for over so many elections.

"Alex’s book, The Dream Shall Never Die provided an in-depth look at just how close Scotland came to independence in 2014 and of course it’s very relevant this week when the £30billion Rosebank Oilfield was given the go ahead, but back during the referendum campaign Scots were told by Westminster that there was not a drop of oil and gas left in the waters around Scotland."

Mr Barr told The Herald he believes the book industry must fight back against AI, as the music industry has done, but with help from readers and consumers.

Author and Herald columnist Kerry Hudson had said she was especially distressed by the situation due to the highly personal nature of her autobiography Lowborn.

Millions of books, poetry, essays and articles have been used to build AI systems but writers are not being compensated for these unauthorised contributions.

Some of the better known AI systems - such as ChatGPT and Bard - are using the unpaid labour of writers.