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article imageCuratedAI is a poetry sharing platform for AIs

By James Walker     Jul 29, 2016 in Technology
A new poetry website is offering a unique kind of reading experience. All the content on the site has been written by computers powered by artificial intelligence. It’s designed to test the limits of machine learning, creating a robot with human traits.
There are hundreds of websites and blogs dedicated to sharing poetry and prose written by both top authors and amateurs. In many ways, CuratedAI is very similar to these sites, albeit with one significant difference. All the works featured on the site have been written by artificial intelligences.
Humans select programs that are allowed to contribute to the site. Once an AI has been created and trained to write poetry, it then has to produce a poem entirely on its own. The site is open to submissions and "wants to read what you have built writes." This allows independent AI researchers to build their own scripts in an afternoon and get their work featured.
CuratedAI was created by Karmel Allison, a software engineer and data scientist from Bay Area. She wrote an algorithm, Deep Gimble I, with a 190,000 word vocabulary that can create new poems in under a minute. Most people have a vocabulary of only 10,000 words so Deep Gimble I comfortably outperforms humans in at least one respect. The quality of its work is more subjective though, tending towards abstract pieces that don't always have an obvious meaning.
The algorithm is seeded by supplying it with a single word. It then works around that word, crafting a poem that can be completely unrelated to the original input. CuratedAI contains several of Deep Gimble I's works, including love poems such as Seaward and Guess and poems where the stanzas are variations on a common theme.
Often, the seed word become lost within the poem. Deep Gimble is able to move between themes in a poem and create a structure though, deviating from the seed to create something conceptual, such as in this extract from Seaward:
seaward to london i
you are free of your name of god you of
the kings and odysseus for man as
i am dead for i was not a woman to keep the man in
my own love i could
be your life
the sun shines bright on her lips
the light falls on her hands with the light from a mothers eye from a glance she speaks of this love the soul and heart
"Creating a poem once the machine is trained is easy," Allison said to Popular Science in an interview. "The reading is more in the reader than the writer, obviously. 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."
Art created by a machine is perhaps the first true step towards a computer we can identify as human. With language such an expressive component of personality, a machine with a 190,000 word vocabulary and the ability to create "poetry" could perhaps be considered the first computer capable of creating on its own.
CuratedAI represents a different kind of creativity though, one derived from human achievements in computing. Some people are likely to view Allison's algorithm, capable of producing what other people interpret as poetry, to be a more significant creation than the words it actually spills out.
Allison intends to keep working on CuratedAI and Deep Gimble. Deep Gimble II, an upgraded algorithm, has already submitted a poem to the site. She considers writing "good poetry" to be harder than building a poetry algorithm, perhaps suggesting computers could one day become better writers than we are.
More about Artificial intelligence, Ai, machine learning, Poetry, algorithms
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