Google’s new AI software can write an algorithm-generated personalised poem using new technology called PoemPortrait.
The algorithm (or “online collective artwork”, if you must) was created by scanning 25 million words written by 19th Century poets, which it uses as a basis to compose original text. You can get involved by submitting a word of your own choice, along with a selfie, and in return you will receive two lines of poetry along with a stylized self-portrait. All the lines of generated text are combined into a rolling display of collective poetry on the homepage.
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Es Devlin, the artist and designer behind the project, explains how it works: “It works a bit like predictive text: it doesn’t copy or rework existing phrases, but uses its training material to build a complex statistical model. As a result, the algorithm generates original phrases emulating the style of what it’s been trained on.” Here is her PoemPortrait:
But as it’s based on self portraits alone, that does mean you’ll still have to scrabble desperately with a biro in the early hours of February 14 if you want to pour your heart out to your Valentine.
Your intrepid reporter submitted the word ‘Heart’ along with a suitably handsome selfie and received the following personalised ditty in return:
Our heart lies in the dark,
The technology of the world to the brink.
It’s not exactly worthy of Wordsworth, so instead I tried flattery (surely the second most romantic method of persuasion after poetry) and submitted ‘Google’. Unfortunately this was rejected outright, so I can only presume that Lord Byron was eccentric enough to prefer Bing.
With my plans of seduction foiled, I instead gave the word ‘Trusted’, and received:
Trust in the fields which should be seen made,
This revolutionary sense of the world
And aren’t those words for us all to live by?
Have you tried out Google PoemPortraits? Let us know on Twitter at @TrustedReviews