FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Monday, November 22, 2004

Computers as Authors

So what do you think of this as an opening paragraph?

Dave Striver loved the university - its ivy-covered clocktowers, its ancient and sturdy brick, and its sun-splashed verdant greens and eager youth. The university, contrary to popular opinion, is far from free of the stark unforgiving trials of the business world: academia has its own tests, and some are as merciless as any in the marketplace. A prime example is the dissertation defense: to earn the Ph.D., to become a doctor, one must pass an oral examination on one's dissertation. This was a test Professor Edward Hart enjoyed giving.

Who wrote it? Not me. The question is, what wrote it? The author is Brutus.1, a computer program developed by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in conjunction with IBM.

According to an article in the New York Times, researchers are making progress in developing computer programs that can write fiction. The challenge, of course, is giving computers the emotions and life experiences necessary to create anything anyone would want to read. But they've come a long way since the days when programs spewed out gibberish.

So, once computers start writing, how long will it be until they start blogging?