Can Robots Write?

Can Robots Write?

Robots Writing Novels

Recently, The New York Times published a quiz entitled “Did a Human or Computer Write This?” The quiz features eight, short writing samples—some news, some fiction, some poetry—and asks the user to identify whether each sample was written either by a computer or a human. While the quiz itself isn’t particularly odd, its difficulty level is; you may be surprised at how it is almost impossible to correctly determine whether a piece of writing was created by a thinking human being or lines of code.

Cyborgs Making Art

Perhaps the idea of computers writing poetry doesn’t seem as ludicrous once you find out that a living cyborg is currently creating art. Neil Harbisson is a 32-year-old artist and musician who is also the first man to have been officially recognized as a cyborg. Harbisson was born seeing only in black and white—so, naturally, he had an antenna installed directly into his skull that translates color into sound. Harbisson can also connect to the internet and receive audiovisual images directly through his brain. Harbisson doesn’t write, but he does create art pieces based on his auditory experience of visual stimuli (and vice versa). He also started a foundation that encourages other people to become cyborgs.

Bacteria Writing Poetry

While we’re on the subject of nonhuman writers, let’s turn to Canadian poet Christian Bök. Among other experimental poetry projects, Bök worked on a project where he attempted to encode some of his poetry directly into bacterial DNA. His hope was that, then, the individual bacterium would respond to the DNA by creating their own poetry vis-à-vis translatable nucleotide responses. So the bacteria wouldn’t really be writing poetry per se, but they would be working in tandem with Bök to create poetry that could “outlast the human race.”

Art and Science: Writing without a Writer

Although we are clearly living in some science fiction writer’s daydream, would you actually want to read a science fiction novel written by an algorithm? The New York Times quiz may be tricky (and cyborgs may be creating art using their cybernetic additions) but would a full novel actually have that “human touch” that makes reading worthwhile? The short answer is no. While we have developed programs that can write basic, cookie-cutter novels in under an hour, computers won’t be creating innovative, moving masterpieces anytime soon.

Get a Person—Not a Computer—to Write Your Book

Don’t get discouraged that a computer can write a book in an hour, while you may not have the skill or time to write a book at all—there is another option. You can become the author of your very own book (a memoir, self-help, business book, novel, or something else) by hiring a living, breathing professional to write out your vision. It is a lot more cost effective than becoming a cyborg and considerably less painful as well. Contact us to learn how to hire an expert ghostwriter to make your book dreams reality.

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