artificial intelligence and writing


Journeyed there and back again

This is easily one of the most interesting, informative, and insightful articles I’ve ever seen on a fantasy website and I’d like to discuss it with those who have an inkling of interest in such things as writing and artificial intelligence. When reading this article I couldn’t help but be reminded of Hyperion where people literally let machines think for them and were slaves to technology. I wonder what Simmon’s would say about this new innovation in artificial intelligence? Probably something along the lines of “This is a dangerous route to go down.” Dependence on electronics is already contributing to the reduction in intellectual and creative output of the current and future generations and has for some time. We have things like spell checker and calculators which basically think for us but this proposition by computer scientists that a computer can write books like humans is taking it to a new level. As someone who is a writer the idea of a computer algorithm writing a book for me is absolutely horrifying. It completely robs the joy and learning process of writing. The fact that this guy has written 10,000 books using this god damn algorithm instead of writing them himself is pure proof of laziness and greed. Of course, none of them are doing well but that’s another matter entirely.

The writing process itself can’t be reduced to a few digit and selected options. It’s much more complex than that. A plot is more than moving from point A to point B to point C to point D. No matter how hard they try a computer will never be able to replicate what a human can do creatively. This is because computers are not emotional beings. The emotion is something I would like to call the x factor and it’s this x factor that is the reason why we read and we return to the same author again and again. Without this x factor you cannot have a good work of art. Since computers are entirely logic based (non-intuitive) you cannot include the x factor but if in a work of art the x-factor is absent then it’s an insipid piece of crap that no one is going to want to look at. It’s this conundrum that computers will thankfully never be able to overcome. Like the article said, it’s pretty hard to imagine a computer designing characters that are as memorable as in A Game of Thrones. Characters need to be more than just a few assigned traits. It’s the author’s emotional relationship they have with their own characters that breathes them to life. Thus, the x-factor.

João Ribeiro

Journeyed there and back again
It's a pretty big article to read at work but I'll give it a go when I get home.

Still out of principle I totally agree with you. A book is more than the sum of its words or lines. The issue here is I don't know what scares me the most, if the thought that we are trying to replace creative writing and writers with machines or the thought that we may succeed. That last image of the article says it all.

That's one small step for machine, one giant leap for Skynet. Still that computer shouldn't be much worse than Paolini or Steph Meyers :D

Hand of Fear

Journeyed there and back again
Interesting article, I read most of it just a bit to long for me to read it all in depth.

I don't think it mentions in it but have they run successful books through the algorithm to see if it thought that they would have indeed become a hit with us humans ?

Also would we be able to tell if we had two books put in front of us which was wrote by a human being or a computer ? I think part of the charm with a book is also it's flaws, I'm pretty sure that with a computer this wouldn't happen so they would be 'perfect' books without any downsides to them.


Stood on the wall with Druss
I don't really trust computers when it comes to grammar in any language. And, even then, not only do you need to know how to use proper grammar, but also when and how to deviate from it. Sometimes the best impact is made by twisting grammar rules in a way that's still pleasing to follow. Same for starting new paragraphs. I see people do that wrong so much, but you can create a nice impact sometimes by having a single line for a paragraph.

But yeah, the biggest thing is the characters. Characters need a heart, and that heart comes from the human that writes them. Characters aren't just a collection of words or a way of speaking in quotes, but humans living inside the writing with a vast array of emotions. And honestly, there are lots of humans who can't even give them the right heart. If they can't, how can a computer, which has no emotion, give that quality? To me, it's through the characters that an author truly shows their skills.

Edit: Just thinking about how I display my own characters... o_O' I wouldn't even know how to explain how they talk to a computer... I mean, sure, some aren't that difficult when it comes to straight speech without taking emotions into account--they talk either formal or casual, but... I have one who talks just so friendly and... I can't even think of any better word than what I'd describe as "homely." The way she talks is just perfect in my head, but I don't think a computer could get it. Likewise, I have a male that switches all the time between formal and informal. He'll say "I apologize" just as often as he says "sorry" and mean it both times, but it just makes sense when I hear his voice in my head as to where to use formal or informal speech.
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Journeyed there and back again
Another thing that adds to the complexity of characters is the social dynamics. One of the most important aspects of characterization is how one character interacts with different characters. How is a computer to know if Bob treats Jimmy with hate and contempt but yet thinks Jordan is the coolest guy in the world? And would the computer know the extent of that hate or admiration? Does Bob want to kill Jimmy or want to manipulate someone else into killing Jimmy or does he for the most part keep his contempt to himself when around Jimmy and then trash him behind his back.