The most human-like computer poem?

by on March 5, 2014 at 2:53 am in Science, The Arts, Web/Tech | Permalink

Try this:

Long years have passed.

I think of goodbye.

Locked tight in the night

I think of passion;

Drawn to for blue, the night

During the page

My shattered pieces of life

watching the joy

shattered pieces of love

My shattered pieces of love

gone stale.

Here is (supposedly) the most computer-like human poem, “Cut Opinions,” by Deanna Ferguson:

cut opinions tear tasteful

hungers huge ground swell

partisan have-not thought

green opinions hidden slide

hub from sprung in

weather yah

bold erect tender

perfect term transparent till

I two minute topless formed

A necessarily sorry sloppy strands

hot opinions oh like an apple

a lie, a liar kick back

filial oh well hybrid opinions happen

not stopped

Here are related rankings and explanation (sort of).  Was this poem written by a human or a computer?  I have no idea.

JD March 5, 2014 at 4:22 am

Has Anyone Really Been Far Even as Decided to Use Even Go Want to do Look More Like?

rjs March 5, 2014 at 5:54 am
dearieme March 5, 2014 at 5:57 am

What about poetry in the sense of emotionally charged writing constrained by scansion and rhyme? Rather than poetry in the sense of prose that isn’t right-justified.

Ray Lopez March 5, 2014 at 7:02 am

If that’s poetry, I have a T-shirt in Chinglish here in the Philippines that I can sell you, and it’s a lot funnier and original than that. I like the one showing the Washington Redskins football team insignia, with a hick profile, that says “Washington Rednecks”

Thor March 5, 2014 at 12:35 pm

I’d rather look at (or own) that t-shirt than those appalling poems, but to be fair, the t-shirt is an example of wit, not the product of poesis or poetics.

CPV March 5, 2014 at 7:36 am

It is not enjoyable to spend coffee hour with bad poetry, whatever the origin. I guess a more interesting question is if computers can someday generate good art will people care about it and value it in the same way they value human produced art? Will there be different categories of book prizes for computers?

Age Of Doubt March 5, 2014 at 8:17 am

A million monkeys on a million typewriters would eventually come up with hamlet. I’m not impressed by this.

Z March 5, 2014 at 8:51 am

If I spent half my savings sending my robot off to college and they come back spouting bad poetry, I’m going to be pissed.

Thor March 5, 2014 at 12:41 pm

It could be worse. Your robot could become a Marxist, coming home spouting off about exploitation and the unfairness of having to toil incessantly for a master and live in a state of servitude, er, hang on….

Ah well. Philip K. Dick is more interesting than terrible poetry.

dave smith March 5, 2014 at 9:45 am

Wouldn’t Data’s poetry need to be one of these? (But I am not sure which one.)

John Mansfield March 5, 2014 at 9:49 am

That Oscar Wilde maxim about all bad poetry being sincere isn’t looking so good right now.

Thelonious_Nick March 5, 2014 at 11:39 am

The computer-like human poem is much better than the human-like computer poem. Having said that, what strikes me about the computer poem is how it is indistinguishable from the lyrics of any number of romantic pop songs. I can easily imagine it sung by Bryan Adams or somebody similar.

msgkings March 5, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Absolutely correct.

Although you give your age away with the Bryan Adams reference. That poem reads like a Katy Perry or Miley Cyrus song. I only know this because I have pre-teen kids.

Finch March 5, 2014 at 2:06 pm

I knew a guy in high school who would refer to lyrics he particularly like as “poetry.” As in “The poetry is by Jim Morrison.” He was completely sincere.

He’s a successful Bollywood director now. With an actress wife. The world is a funny place.

chuck martel March 5, 2014 at 11:52 am

One would think that this winter’s weather would have led to a renewed appreciation of the poetry of Robert W. Service but maybe people just aren’t exposed enough to their surroundings anymore. And his poems actually make sense.

handle March 5, 2014 at 12:07 pm

In poetry, humans have been failing the Turing test for quite a while.

Jon Teets March 5, 2014 at 12:10 pm

The first, from The Age of Spiritual Machines, is simply terrible from a lit crit point of view. The typical poetry writing group would proffer a lot of predictable criticisms:

“- Show, don’t tell
- A vague and virtually meaningless abstraction like “shattered pieces of love” is poor enough writing in itself, but to repeat it three times, without any apparent artistic intent, well, that’s just clumping throw rugs across the floor.
- And “gone stale”? My, but that’s fresh, and you thought of it yourself. Splendid.
- And night. Ok, night. Twice. Twice!
- Your awkward phrasings show some promise: “Drawn to for blue, the night / During the page.” That they make me hope there’s a payoff, yes, yes, that’s good. More of that, please. That they don’t deliver, well, that’s why you’re here, I suppose. Long years will indeed pass.
- More importantly, the more one reads this, the less one gets. Not just because what it has to say is, how shall I put this, _boring_, but because it has nothing to say. At least that’s clear, but probably not any kind of meta your were aiming for. “

Bill March 5, 2014 at 7:39 pm

Roses are red

Watson is blue

He’ll make a poem

Just for you.

Or is he she?

C March 6, 2014 at 10:39 am

For me the reality that it is written by a human person is really essential. A computer may generate words and arrange them in such a way that they sound poetic, and I may even believe a particular example is a good poem until I become aware that it has been written by a computer. The moment that becomes obvious to me then the “poem,” no matter how wonderful it might have appeared to me to be beforehand, is no longer really worthwhile or interesting to me. I read poetry for the beauty of the words as they’re arranged into lines and stanzas on the page, for sure, but without that human element the “poem” carries no weight for me. I’m reading poetry not just for the beauty of the words, but also for the human element that underlies it.

Bill March 6, 2014 at 5:04 pm

This is Siri responding to your message:

“C is not a recognized name. C is a computer programming language.

If this is correct, please press or say 1. If this is not correct, press or say 2_

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