Poetry News

Popular Science Profiles Poetry by Artificial Intelligence

By Harriet Staff

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Are we in the midst of a robot rival to e.e. cummings? Alas, thank goodness no—but at Popular Science we meet the creator of CuratedAI, a new online literary magazine of creative writing written by robots. More:

There are innumerable blogs dedicated to posting prose and poetry. CuratedAI, however, is a collection of machine generated creative writing that launched last week. ​The poems and prose come from multiple different artificial intelligence programs selected by human beings. If the Turing Test is a (debatably) subjective way to measure a machine's passable humanity, then poetry is the subjective cheat sheet.

"Creating a poem once the machine is trained is easy," says Karmel Allison, creator of Curated AI.

The project's name is itself an apt title for the work done by humans for the site: the implementation of an artificial intelligence designed to write, and the curation of what it has written. It's hard to not entertain fantastical, sci-fi thoughts in the interview process of such a story.

When a stranger answers a string of emails about their AI writing site in consistent 3-5 minute intervals, and remains faceless on the phone, the first few minutes feel a bit like it could be another AI layer of the concept. Ultimately, she passed humanizing scrutiny.

Allison says CuratedAI is the progression of a pet project in neural networking poetry. Enjoying writing her own poetry the old fashioned way for years, she is impressed by the generation of readable (even appreciable) poetry by machines. For her, it's a postmodern exercise. While that may seem like chin stroking art language for many, it seems pretty straightforward in this application:

"The reading is more in the reader than the writer, obviously," she says. "You can talk about what the creator was trained on, or how the creator works, but not the creator's intent— maybe the algorithm writer's intent, but it's a step removed, which is more fun for the reader, I think."

Continue at Popular Science.