Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Don't give up your day job

A computer expert in Florida has designed a program that is capable of writing stories. But don't panic, all your scribes out there: it doesn't write very good ones.

The software, called Xapagy, has been loaded with a lot of existing tales, translated into a language it can understand, then asked to create new writing of its own.  At first it was given a section of a known tale, such as Red Riding Hood, then asked to predict what came next.

Anyone who was taught English by a creative teacher in the 60s will be familiar with that technique. Xapagy looks for familiar connections within the given script, and uses them to create the next stage of the narrative. Here's an example of its work:

"My, what a big mouth you have Grandma," says Little Red Riding Hood, with just a hint of suspicion. The wolf sneezes. "Bless you," says the little girl.

The idea of the program is to improve the design of future robots; to make artifical intelligence more human and therefore more user-friendly. Experts predict that eventually it will be able to make up its own stories, once it has a large enough store of existing ones.

Xapagy's tale is told in the December 8 edition of New Scientist. I had to check that it wasn't from April.
The programmer's name? Lotzi Bölöni.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Anne .. are you SURE it's not from April .. that programmer's name is mighty strange Lotzi Boloni (I can't even be bothered with the ".." bits ...) - cept then realised I could get clever and copy yours!: Bölöni..

I wonder how much at the end of the day will be done by robots ..

Interesting - cheers Hilary

snafu said...

AI, the unnatainable dream - hopefully. We don't yet know what intelligence is yet, let alone make a machine intellegence. There have been attempts to do the same thing with music and the results so far have been abysmal. It wasn't AI that got Mr Blobby into the charts it was ordinay people, so much for intellegence :}