Experiencing writer’s block? You might want to take the help of artificial intelligence. Developed by scientists in Japan, a super-smart AI robot recently authored a short story, with some assistance from humans. What is more, the work has made it through the initial stages of screening, as part of a literary competition.
While the feat is a testament to the fast-improving capabilities of artificial intelligence, the software isn’t completely self-aware when it comes to articulating coherent thoughts using words, and creating original pieces of literature. The short novel, titled “Konpyuta ga shosetsu wo kaku hi” (meaning ‘the day a computer writes a novel’), was composed with help from scientists at Japan’s Future University Hakodate.
Before the AI robot penned the story, the researchers had to come up with the basic framework for the novel, including the plot as well as gender of the characters. Following that, they selected words and phrases, which were then used by the AI program to construct complete sentences. An excerpt from the book goes as follows:
I writhed with joy, which I experienced for the first time, and kept writing with excitement… The day a computer wrote a novel. The computer, placing priority on the pursuit of its own joy, stopped working for humans.
According to the university’s researchers, four different novels were created using artificial intelligence, all of which were submitted for this year’s Nikkei Hoshi Shinichi Literary Award. The contest received nearly 1,450 entries, of which 11 were composed with the help of AI programs. Held in honor of famous Japanese science fiction writer Hoshi Shinichi, this one-of-a-kind competition accepts works by non-human writers, evaluating each submission via a four-stage screening process. Hitoshi Matsubara, the leader of the team at Future University Hakodate, said:
So far, AI programs have often been used to solve problems that have answers, such as Go and shogi. In the future, I’d like to expand AI’s potential [so it resembles] human creativity.
Although the details of the selection process have not been made public, it seems that the judges were not informed as to which of the works were authored by robots. Of the four novels submitted by the researchers from Future University Hakodate, one passed the first round of the competition, but did not win the final prize. The names of the prizewinners were revealed on March 12. Satoshi Hase, a sci-fi novelist associated with the contest, said at a recent press conference:
I was surprised at the work because it was a well-structured novel. But there are still some problems [to overcome] to win the prize, such as character descriptions.
While creative writing in the truest sense might still be beyond the grasp of robot authors, artificial intelligence could soon used to compose political speeches, financial reports and other pieces of writing that can be arranged according to particular templates.
Via: The Japan News