Robotic Poetry

The digital age is changing our perception of art, and poetry is no exception. As researchers investigate artificial intelligence, some are asking whether computers can actually create poetry. Here are a few interesting studies.

If your Smartphone can suggest the next word in your text message, could a computer produce poetry by following similar logic and incorporating conventions like meter and rhyme? Researcher Nathan Matias has taught a computer to provide word suggestions based on the sonnets of William Shakespeare and the works of other poets. Together, he and his computer co-wrote a Shakespearean sonnet. You can read more about how he did it and find links to his work at http://www.swiftkey.net/en/blog/learning-to-write-like-shakespeare/.

With a computer’s capability of sifting through enormous amounts of data, Ranjit Bhatnagar developed algorithms that continually analyze postings in Twitter, identify tweets written in iambic pentameter, and pair those that rhyme. The result can be funny and nonsensical: “mom's talking to a squirrel on the deck/ I’m now the owner of a turtleneck.” (source: http://pentametron.com/squirrels.html) It may also be meaningful, like this one posted on June 10, 2014: “God teaches us a lesson every day/Affection never really fades away.”  You can join the other 9,455 followers @pentametron to see what’s new.

After reading this, do you think that you could tell whether poetry was written by a human or generated by a computer? You can test yourself at http://botpoet.com and see how well you do. Good luck!