Coming Soon: Robot Authors?

Image result for images of robot writing book

“AI [‘Artificial Intelligence,’ a mythical thing] can now write fiction and journalism,” announced The Guardian ( Big deal. Robots replacing zombies.

But actually The Guardian article is quite critical. What the computers doing this work are, says the report, are “giant automated plagiarism machines” which regurgitate themes and expressions boiled down from thousands of articles and stories written by humans. It should be called Artificial Stupidity. You can see that when it’s given the opening line of a classic novel by, for example, George Orwell or Jane Austen, and then goes on to tack onto it a lot of half-baked twaddle. I wonder how they’d continue A Tale of Two Cities after Charles Dickens’ immortal opening words, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Click the link above to see just how badly they fail. Violet Crepuscular could do better.

But journalism! Now we’re getting somewhere. They’re already robots–why pay them, when you can replace them? Whatever the news item they’re writing about, all they have to do is attack Donald Trump, say it’s all his fault, and throw in a few words about racism and gender identity. And presto, you’ve got journalism.

Robots can’t write classic novels, but they can do modern journalism.

11 comments on “Coming Soon: Robot Authors?

  1. Good one, Lee. AI is nothing more than garbage in garbage out. Isn’t it amazing how the MSM’s coverage of President Trump is 95% negative, so the Democratic candidates for President in 2020 are campaigning on trashing Trump, neglecting to talk policy. Will Rogers used to joke how he did not belong to any organized political party, he was a Democrat.

    1. I do not understand why so few people seem to realize that robots can only *simulate* human activity. There is no intelligence, no thinking, involved!

    2. Sounds like a lot of the books I’ve been almost-reading lately — “almost” because I tend to lose patience anywhere from a quarter to halfway through and just take the books back to the library. This is especially true of mysteries, most of which seem to have been written by robots that never quite mastered the grammar logarithms, let alone the data on how human beings act and talk.

    3. P.S.–Mysteries used to be the highest-quality popular fiction you could find. I don’t read new stuff, so I haven’t noticed the decline in literary quality. But I’m entirely willing to take your word for it.

    4. That should have been “algorithms,” not “logarithms.” But they probably couldn’t master logarithms either. 🙁

  2. In a parallel experience, I long ago concluded that, while it is possible to use a computer program to generate a series of notes, which could be used as musical accompaniment, such sonic output lacks something that only a human can bring to the table. A computer can play a series of notes precisely, flawlessly and correctly, by all measures, but it cannot being any feeling to the music. IMHO, it is not truly music, because it lacks life.

    My final conclusion is that music requires a beating heart, at its core. Likewise for this AI writing rubbish. It’s worse than gibberish.

    1. “AI” can’t actually distinguish anything. It can only do what it’s been programmed to do. It can only simulate things that humans do, without understanding them.

      P.S.–My wife is crazy about Spider Solitaire.

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