Re: Dartmouth Hosts Robot Poetry Contest
This is definitely very cool. In the big picture of making truly intelligent robots, it may be more like a building block than a quantum leap. When we use terms like 'machine learning' and 'intelligence', those are often just buzzwords for tech that, as you once put it, Dave, 'is just good at one thing'. Similarly, the contest seems to imply robots/computers that produce human-like creative works based on an algorithm. It's still making poems by (very complex) rote, rather than actually being creative. Still, as we often talk about on IW, combine that with a couple of other technologies (imagine integrating it with a Siri-esque digital assistant to vary up how it greets you in the morning), and it still points to some very exciting possibilities in the future. Like jastroff says, this can sew the seeds for some useful real-world technologies, much like Watson aimed to.
I tried the 'Bot or Not' site out, and I did come up with more right answers than wrong, but admittedly not by much. The 'robot' poems were surprisingly good at not only rhyming structure, but also stringing lines with similar subject matter together. One poem was sort of about a man who was dissatisfied with his job - one line mentioned a suit, and another line mentioned a promotion. The algorithm or what-have-you at least knows to tie these two together, but the tell tale sign of the 'bots' still seemed to be that the narrative was not quite cohesive - though you're right, Dave, that some humans absolutely write poems like that as well. I'd expect something similar from the Dartmouth contest, but I'm certainly curious to see what comes out of it.