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TL Murphy
October 17th, 2018, 02:14 AM
A team of researchers from Microsoft and Kyoto University developed a poet AI good enough to fool online judges, according to a paper published Thursday on the preprint site arXiv. It’s the latest step towards artificial intelligence that can create believable, human-passing language, and, man, it seems like a big one.


In order to generate something as esoteric as a poem, the AI was fed thousands of images paired with human-written descriptions and poems. This taught the algorithm associations between images and text. It also learned the patterns of imagery, rhymes, and other language that might make up a believable poem, as well as how certain colors or images relate to emotions and metaphors.


Once the AI was trained, it was then given an image and tasked with writing a poem that was not only relevant to the picture but also, you know, read like a poem instead of algorithmic nonsense.


And to be fair, some of the results were pretty nonsensical, even beyond the sorts of nonsense you’d find in a college literary magazine.




this realm of rain

grey sky and cloud

it’s quite and peaceful

safe allowed






And, arguably, worse:






I am a coal-truck

by a broken heart

I have no sound

the sound of my heart

I am not






or maybe this one:






the sun is shining

the wind moves

naked trees

you dance

And one more.

and now I am tired of my own

let me be the freshening blue

haunted through the sky bare and cold water

warm blue air shimmering

brightly never arrives

it seems to say




https://futurism.com/artificial-intelligence-bad-poems






It does get a little better:




you


...are

.........inscribed
..............in the
...............lines on the
......ceiling

.......you

are

...inscribed in
..........the depths
..of
..........the
...storm




The idea is not new, but the technologies and mediums are. In 2010, Duke University undergrad Zackary Scholl modified a program that used a context-free grammar system to spit out full-length, auto-generated poems. He then submitted the output to online poetry websites, in order to gauge reader reaction (in his words, it was “overwhelmingly positive.”)


One of his poems was actually accepted by the Duke literary journal, The Archive. This is it:


A home transformed by the lightning
the balanced alcoves smother
this insatiable earth of a planet, Earth.
They attacked it with mechanical horns
because they love you, love, in fire and wind.
You say, what is the time waiting for in its spring?
I tell you it is waiting for your branch that flows,
because you are a sweet-smelling diamond architecture
that does not know why it grows.


https://medium.com/@Yisela/computer-generated-poetry-will-knock-your-socks-off-763c815a1b52


Clearly, a computer can write a poem that some editors, at least, cannot distinguish from human poems and are willing to publish. What does that say about the future of poetry and art in general? I think the more pertinent question might be: Regardless of perceived quality, is a poem written by a computer a real poem?

Kevin
October 17th, 2018, 02:20 AM
Proof that poetry is bullshit.

TL Murphy
October 17th, 2018, 02:26 AM
No it isn't. But it might be proof that poetry written by machines is bullshit. Or maybe it's proof that some editors can't tell bullshit from poetry.

midnightpoet
October 17th, 2018, 02:26 AM
What's next? Novels?


"In the year 2525, if man is still alive..."

Zager and Evans :stupid:

TL Murphy
October 17th, 2018, 02:29 AM
I think the answer may not lie in ability but in intent. Why would a computer write a poem? Could a computer even decide to write a poem without being commanded to so so?

Robbie
October 17th, 2018, 03:19 AM
Do computers have intent?

Robbie
October 17th, 2018, 03:24 AM
Bullshit is poetry, presented in a logical manner, all bullshit makes great poetry...if you can avoid the stench.

Theglasshouse
October 17th, 2018, 03:31 AM
It's an math equation though. They did one for art and didn't do a good job. Google is the company that did one. It created bizarre images of computer generated art. It didn't look human per say, but maybe they are waiting and are optimistic until it improves.

TL Murphy
October 17th, 2018, 03:44 AM
It's an math equation though. They did one for art and didn't do a good job. Google is the company that did one. It created bizarre images of computer generated art. It didn't look human per say, but maybe they are waiting and are optimistic until it improves.


So, it's math, not art? But what if a poetry magazine publishes it. Is it poetry then?

Is an algorithm math? Or is it just a set of directions, like a map?

TL Murphy
October 17th, 2018, 03:47 AM
Bullshit is poetry, presented in a logical manner, all bullshit makes great poetry...if you can avoid the stench.

If bullshit is poetry, Is poetry bullshit?

Theglasshouse
October 17th, 2018, 04:21 AM
It imitates people, doesn't mean it will display originality.AI can't understand English much less emotion. Those are my opinions on it. Though maybe it could teach kids something at school. It won't replace poets however.

Ralph Rotten
October 17th, 2018, 04:22 AM
Computer poem:
2
4
8
16
32
64
128
256
512
1024


It just flows so naturally, and the metering is perfect too.

Theglasshouse
October 17th, 2018, 04:25 AM
Can it reinvent the wheel? Robots still haven't invented anything. It would make for an interesting fantasy story though.

It still hasn't won a poetry competition which would be publicity for them.

Theglasshouse
October 17th, 2018, 04:26 AM
Sorry. I accidentally did a triple post without knowing. I think the value it could add is an educational tool for English class to help people become aware of educational values and make poems on any subject perhaps. I don't know what other uses it could have. Since I know there are values being taught in school, it's a decent way for people to have fun but doesn't take skill to do.

TL Murphy
October 17th, 2018, 05:04 AM
Personally, I can’t see the point of robot poetry since computers don’t have feelings. A computer can fake a poem, i.e. list words that have syntax and approximately describe a recognizable image. I don’t call that a poem though, even if it fools an expert, because there is no poetic intent, no desire on the part of the computer to express emotion or to reveal beauty or to question. It’s purely mechanical. There is no real creativity. The creativity is in the algorithm but I don’t think that can be called art either since it is designed to mimic, not to create something that has inherent meaning.

Darren White
October 17th, 2018, 06:10 AM
If bullshit is poetry, Is poetry bullshit?


Computer poem:
2
4
8
16
32
64
128
256
512
1024


It just flows so naturally, and the metering is perfect too.

Hahaha, yes, well, to many poetry is bullshit, no matter who writes it, whether it is a computer, or a human being. I think Ralph just proved your above point

bdcharles
October 17th, 2018, 08:32 AM
Check out Love In The Age Of Google (https://brianbilston.com/2018/08/21/love-in-the-age-of-google/) by Brian Bilston, or more precisely, by his computer.

midnightpoet
October 17th, 2018, 09:02 AM
I've heard scientists refer to the human body as a "wonderful machine." I've always disagreed with that, flesh and blood is no machine - and while we're not trying to debate A.I. or transhumanism or such here, I can't see any purpose in getting a machine to write poetry. So I agree with Murphy.

Darren White
October 17th, 2018, 09:15 AM
Check out Love In The Age Of Google (https://brianbilston.com/2018/08/21/love-in-the-age-of-google/) by Brian Bilston, or more precisely, by his computer.
That was enjoyable, and also extremely cliché, especially because of the word love that is of course repeated ad nauseam :D

Only, it wasn't his computer, but auto-complete searches on the word 'love' on Google.

epimetheus
October 17th, 2018, 09:36 AM
I've heard scientists refer to the human body as a "wonderful machine."

It's generally meant to confer the idea that the biological molecules themselves aren't anything special i.e. there isn't some magic animating a human.

Humans have had a few hundred thousands of years to forge language into poetry. Computers have had decades and they're already fooling expert humans.



I can't see any purpose in getting a machine to write poetry.

Our world will become increasingly controlled by AI. It already makes decisions on loans and health insurance. I wouldn't be too surprised if some military hasn't already given it the decision to kill a target.

If we do not humanise our AI, then humans will have to become more mechanised.

bdcharles
October 17th, 2018, 11:21 AM
That was enjoyable, and also extremely cliché, especially because of the word love that is of course repeated ad nauseam :D

Only, it wasn't his computer, but auto-complete searches on the word 'love' on Google.

He writes a lot of really simple, quite funny and clever poems based on every day things like google searches, autocorrect, a CV. Here's one about a caveman (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DmuZR3DXcAEn8s8.jpg).

ned
October 17th, 2018, 11:35 AM
Poetry in the Age of Engines

poetry is a destructive force
poetry is about
poetry is a criticism of life
poetry is art

does poetry have to rhyme
does poetry have rules
does poetry matter
does poetry sell

can poetry be fiction
can poetry be prose
can poetry be translated
can poetry save the earth





This poem was entirely constructed from auto-completed searches about poetry on the Google search engine.

Gumby
October 17th, 2018, 01:57 PM
I recently checked out a lot of computer poem generators. They do spit out some good lines, but they have no heart and you have told really stretch your connect the dots muscle too make sense of them. I actually know a poet who you would swear writes like a poem generator, only it's his natural style. :)

Darren White
October 17th, 2018, 02:11 PM
There is a poetry site I am a member of, that has an actual poem generator, for love poems LOL. You have to give in a few details about the person you wish the poem for and then it concocts some crazy poem that you would never like to show anyone, really, honestly. But it is fun to try once nonetheless :D

Darren White
October 17th, 2018, 02:13 PM
Poetry in the Age of Engines
does poetry have to rhyme
does poetry have rules
does poetry matter
does poetry sell

This poem was entirely constructed from auto-completed searches about poetry on the Google search engine.
There's a whole lot of truth to that middle stanza haha. It asks the important questions.

Kevin
October 17th, 2018, 02:47 PM
I recently checked out a lot of computer poem generators... but they have no heart

I recently checked out a site selling talking sex dolls. They have some great curves.
I think this stuff is okay to some people. It's good enough to them. Like cgi, I find it oddly revolting. It's as if I actually have something inside me that says "Abomination". It's odd to me because I only use that word to describe religious organizations and/or some of their doctrines. Actually, I don't use that word, ever, but that's what comes to me.

epimetheus
October 17th, 2018, 03:27 PM
I think this stuff is okay to some people. It's good enough to them. Like cgi, I find it oddly revolting. It's as if I actually have something inside me that says "Abomination". It's odd to me because I only use that word to describe religious organizations and/or some of their doctrines. Actually, I don't use that word, ever, but that's what comes to me.

It's probably the uncanny valley (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley), that spot of not quite human, but enough to unsettle us.

I feel terribly sorry if/when we create conscious AI: we'd consider our own creation an abomination. Mary Shelley was so far ahead of her times it's unreal.

TL Murphy
October 17th, 2018, 06:13 PM
It's probably the uncanny valley (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley), that spot of not quite human, but enough to unsettle us.

I feel terribly sorry if/when we create conscious AI: we'd consider our own creation an abomination. Mary Shelley was so far ahead of her times it's unreal.

It's interesting to contemplate man's compulsion to make things just because it's possible. Mary Shelley really warned us about the dangers of unchecked technological development. Do we really need nuclear weapons? Do we really need self-aware machines. I fear that someday we will have it and only then will a machine be able to write real poetry. In fact self aware AI isn't artificial any longer. It's real. Until then, computer generated poetry is artificial. Once we cross that threshold, what's the point of being a poet?

Robbie
October 17th, 2018, 07:26 PM
My thoughts as well Tim. Thanks.

Robbie
October 17th, 2018, 07:34 PM
Imitation by virtue of its nature is never original. It’s echoic.

clark
October 17th, 2018, 08:23 PM
Good gawd! 'Tis ME the one insisting we get SERIOUS again? Is there a new moon in the sky? Can a computer write a poem? Of course it can. And occasionally--if a thousand monkeys typed 12 hours a day for 1 year, they would produce a Shakesperean tragedy.--occasionally the computer will come up with a linguistic/semantic stew that makes some kind of sense,
actually has some linear progression and imagist depth. But it cannot never plunder the depths of language for nuance, subtlety, innuendo, double entendre, even inference--because specifics of all these rest with the vision and will and intent of the poet, and in roughly 2000 years the best of our minds and imaginations have been unable to even describe, never mind define, those 'states of mind. I'm sure a computer could sweep all that fumbling aside and develop satisfactory 'definitions'--for another computer.

ned
October 17th, 2018, 10:23 PM
echoic - were have I heard that before?

no, shelley didn't deal with unchecked progress - her AI was a human brain - yes flawed...
her issue was humanity - and its response to those that are supposedly different.

and it's quite a leap from poetic robots to nuclear bombs (which is a totally human invention)

if you read Asimov, the boundaries certainly blur.....

epimetheus
October 17th, 2018, 10:59 PM
Once we cross that threshold, what's the point of being a poet?

People haven't stopped playing chess or go just because a computer can do it better than us. People still derive joy, challenge themselves and derive a sense of accomplishment and still get a nice mental workout. Nothing has changed in these arts with the advent of AI except a new tool to explore.

Would you really just give up the craft if AI started making 'real' poetry?

TL Murphy
October 18th, 2018, 03:41 AM
People haven't stopped playing chess or go just because a computer can do it better than us. People still derive joy, challenge themselves and derive a sense of accomplishment and still get a nice mental workout. Nothing has changed in these arts with the advent of AI except a new tool to explore.

Would you really just give up the craft if AI started making 'real' poetry?


No, probably not. Rhetorical question. Because I can’t really imagine it. But we can’t imagine the future anymore than people could in 1900. I have no idea what a world will be like where machines can write poetry.

clark
October 19th, 2018, 08:20 AM
Humans create poetry from their imaginations, the boundaries of which are limitless, constrained only by the words and structure of the language itself--and even there we s t r e t c h words and phrasing, use format and white space and anything else we can think of to expand range. Re-read Theseus on "the poet's eye in a fine frenzy. . ." in MSND. I took a course in 4th-year called APPLIED TEXTUAL ANALYSIS. The Final had two questions of equal value. One was, "Working only from the text of the poem, discuss the word "PEACE" in Yeats's "Lake Isle of Innisfree" . It is the only abstraction in the poem. Most of us spent the entire three hours on that question only. My point is--there is not a machine ever invented that could have brought out the nuances and ambiguities, possibilities and restraints, etc. etc. that our human minds did. Never mind the mind that wrote it. Bring on the machines. . . . .!

Olly Buckle
October 19th, 2018, 08:59 AM
So if a computer can't manage depth, nuance, inference and the rest how many of our members are actually computers? No names no patrial, we don't want any infractions for abuse :)

epimetheus
October 19th, 2018, 09:44 AM
My point is--there is not a machine ever invented that could have brought out the nuances and ambiguities, possibilities and restraints, etc. etc. that our human minds did. Never mind the mind that wrote it. Bring on the machines. . . . .!

I've no idea about AI programmes for poetry, but i'm guessing they generally take some inputs and churn out some outputs in a procedural way. This is also how the first chess programme that defeated the world's best human worked, but it is not how the Go programme worked. Go is hugely more complex than chess, and even super computers cannot crunch all the numbers required. It worked by learning from past experience, both with humans and with itself, it did not just choose the optimum path from all available.

Interestingly the AI developed some moves high level go humans did not use. If a child, or monkey, displayed such creativity they would be called a genius, but we deny this moniker for AI. Another interesting parallel is that it is not always possible to go back to the programme and ask why it chose a certain move at a certain time, even if that data is saved. Humans too are known for not knowing why they do things, usually constructing narratives after the fact to justify their 'choice' - a phenomena observed frequently in psychological studies.

All this in the few decades since the advent of computers. So though i agree there is not yet a computer invented that can evoke the same subtleties that a human can, it seems computers have that potential. Either way, we should find out in the next few decades.

JustRob
October 19th, 2018, 09:45 AM
I think the answer may not lie in ability but in intent. Why would a computer write a poem? Could a computer even decide to write a poem without being commanded to so so?


So if a computer can't manage depth, nuance, inference and the rest how many of our members are actually computers? No names no partial, we don't want any infractions for abuse :)

There are several posts in this thread to which I could respond, but I'll just cover these two.

I don't consider myself to be either a poet or a computer, but on the odd occasions that I do write poetry it often comes straight from my unconscious mind unbidden. There is seldom any consciously preconceived intent. A specific example of this was Tilting At Windmills (https://www.writingforums.com/threads/165156-Tilting-at-windmills?p=1991321&viewfull=1#post1991321) where the only intent was apparently an unconscious one to demonstrate my mind's ability to be precognitive. I gave an explanation of the precognitive aspect later in that thread. (Well, I obviously had to do it later because when I posted the poem I didn't consciously know of course.)

At present the only potential scientific explanation for precognition would be some form of quantum process. Hence although a computer might well be capable of composing my style of poetry it would probably have to be a quantum computer to cover every aspect of it. It has been observed that thought and quantum processes are similar in many ways including their often unpredictable nature, although this doesn't necessarily mean that thought actually is a quantum process. Maybe one day mankind will discover exactly what the presently intangible difference between human minds and computers is. Until then debates such as this one will ramble on aimlessly, much like my poetry. Fortunately my poetry is much shorter.

Darren White
October 19th, 2018, 10:01 AM
I like this discussion, it makes me think and also smile. Yes, I know a lot of people who, if you judge them by their writing, could be categorized as AI. I'm wondering, is that an insult or praise? As autist I am inclined to say praise ;) As writer I wouldn't be too happy, haha.

And yes, I think a computer follows the patterns given to it to follow, and based on the information available. Can it be categorized as poetry? Inanimate poetry at most.

epimetheus
October 19th, 2018, 10:24 AM
And yes, I think a computer follows the patterns given to it to follow, and based on the information available. Can it be categorized as poetry?

Sorry to bang on about this point, but this isn't how most AI has worked for at least a decade. They are not simply following instructions, they learn to weigh decisions based on past experience. The AI isn't given a pattern to follow. They are no where near as sophisticated as a human brain, but they are far more sophisticated than generally given credit.

Darren White
October 19th, 2018, 10:28 AM
Oh, I believe you :)
I just hope poetry will remain exclusively a human thing, that's why I stubbornly refuse to let myself believe otherwise.

clark
October 20th, 2018, 03:40 AM
Epimetheus offers some timely cautions--AI does NOT "just" work with that info it has been "given"; it is capable of 'thinking' or something like that, to go down avenues OUTSIDE its apparent range of programming and 'experience'. But can it go 'crazy'? Can it make the outrageous metaphoric leaps that poets so often do--leaps the poet does not understand or control, leaps that seem to come out of 'nowhere' but which are finally seen to mesh in some inextricable way with the stuff of the rest of the poem? I've heard of no evidence to indicate AI capable of these arcane associations that human poets 'produce' For example, Marvel's synesthetic "A green thought in a green shade". Whaddahelll. . ." Shade isn't green, thoughts don't have colours. . .much less juxtapose two rational impossibles into a NEW fused images involving BOTH 'irrationalities'! And yet this arcane image makes perfect IMAGINATIVE sense within the poem. To a human. . . . . . .

TL Murphy
October 20th, 2018, 05:46 AM
I don't think a computer can express existential angst or unrequited love. I don't think a computer can express the beauty of a sunrise or the desire to fly like a bird. These are uniquely human attributes that the most sophisticated computer cannot know. It might be able to simulate an expression that it recognizes as a particular human emotion but it cannot freely express it. A poem is more than an arrangement of words. It's more than an equation of syntax and technique. It is a unique inquiry into what it means to be human and no machine can ever understand that. All it can do is reiterate what it has been programmed to do. I understand that a machine can be programmed to learn, but it can't be programmed to be human and poetry is a human thing. So, rage against the machine. I'm signing off now.

epimetheus
October 20th, 2018, 12:31 PM
I don't think a computer can express the beauty of a sunrise or the desire to fly like a bird.

Why are these available only to humans? What do you think makes us different? Do you think animals have at least some capacity for art?


. It might be able to simulate an expression that it recognizes as a particular human emotion but it cannot freely express it. A poem is more than an arrangement of words. It's more than an equation of syntax and technique. .

Why not? Some AI programming is already not just equation and syntax.


It is a unique inquiry into what it means to be human and no machine can ever understand that. All it can do is reiterate what it has been programmed to do.

AI may never fully know what it is like to be human. But we should be able to communicate some of that human sense. Also humans may never fully know what it is like to be an AI - but hopefully AI will try to give us a sense of it. They could even try to use poetry to communicate it, if we give them that faculty.



So, rage against the machine.

Which is why i think this can only end badly for ourselves and our progeny - we'll create life and instead of teaching it the best of us, we'll try to destroy it.

Gumby
October 20th, 2018, 03:28 PM
Originally Posted by TL Murphy View Post
It is a unique inquiry into what it means to be human and no machine can ever understand that. All it can do is reiterate what it has been programmed to do.

I agree with this statement. We might be able to program the proper words to respond to trigger words, but it is uniquely human to bring the "emotional" part of the definition of what is expressed.

clark
October 20th, 2018, 06:46 PM
I took a grad course in Shakespeare's Four Greatest Tragedies. For twisted reasons no one could sort out, the prof started with Lear.. That one play turned out to be the entire course, 'cause we could NOT get off the incredibly dense language of the play. We would spend hours on a single word or phrase. I remember an entire three-hour session on Lear's warning to Cordelia--"Nothing will come of nothing." The emotional underpinnings of language like that are paramount, but there is so much more opened up by context and character that. . .well, three hours later we were still working on the possibilities. That is my point: that language, esp supercharged poetic language, CAN operate on levels and in layers that only a human consciousness could begin to explore.

epimetheus
October 20th, 2018, 07:43 PM
...but it is uniquely human to bring the "emotional" part of the definition of what is expressed.


That is my point: that language, esp supercharged poetic language, CAN operate on levels and in layers that only a human consciousness could begin to explore.

This seems the dominant view on this forum, but no one has told me why they believe this to be the case. It seems to be predicated on the idea that computers cannot feel. I'm not arguing that current AI can feel, but i don't think anything in nature prevents them from doing so in the future, given sufficient sophistication. But i get the impression most people believe AI can never achieve this. Why not?

midnightpoet
October 20th, 2018, 08:27 PM
I can't predict what may be possible in the future, maybe we'll get a "Data" from Star Trek (he got a "emotion" chip as I recall) - but hopefully we can keep the positive aspects of humanity, which includes poetry.

TL Murphy
October 20th, 2018, 10:28 PM
Midnight, as I recall, Data went crazy when he activated the emotion chip. Tried to take over the galaxy or something. So he eventually turned it off and got a cat, which wasn't quite the same thing but at least it was warm and fuzzy.

TL Murphy
October 20th, 2018, 10:33 PM
This seems the dominant view on this forum, but no one has told me why they believe this to be the case. It seems to be predicated on the idea that computers cannot feel. I'm not arguing that current AI can feel, but i don't think anything in nature prevents them from doing so in the future, given sufficient sophistication. But i get the impression most people believe AI can never achieve this. Why not?

Once quantum computers are developed, all bets are off. There really is no telling how far such a computer could go. Right now, though it's hard to say if that will ever happen.

clark
October 20th, 2018, 10:39 PM
EPITHEMEUS -- Chess and GO (I'm told. Don't know the game) are massively complex games, but they involve pieces, defined and restricted 'moves' that govern each piece, a board or grid, and rules. Given all of these LIMITS, if one wanted to (?), a computer could be instructed to lay out every possible move for every possible scenario that it would ever be possible to make on a chessboard. I don't care how many zeros there might be in the total; the possible moves are FINITE.

The nuances of language know no such limits and constraints. We can define some words in isolation, probably to the complete satisfaction of all concerned. . .but as soon as that word is used in a phrase or sentence, especially in a poem, the interpretive RANGE within which that word/phrase/sentence might be construed. . .is limitless. The reason is deceptively simple. Some previous posts have mentioned poems as though they were inert objects on a surface. Words on a page. Tim put it well in his post #43: "A poem is more than an arrangement of words. It's more than an equation of syntax and technique. It is a unique inquiry into what it means to be human and no machine can ever understand that." But this comment needs to be expanded to include the single factor that no machine could ever match: a poem requires an AUDIENCE to be complete. This 'component' in the 'poetic experience' is especially obvious in modern free verse, where the poet must re-invent Form with every poem s/he writes, and that unique form invites the reader INTO the poem as a collaborator. So never mind the limitless range of nuance available within the language per se, when you add the subtly different perspectives each reader brings to the poem . . . the 'meaning' of that poem becomes "even more infinite" (hmmm). It is inconceivable that a machine could perform the imaginative legerdemain required to encompass the poem.


"well I guess you're right
I wouldn't know
but even so--
if there's no audience
there just ain't no show."

"Rain-o", written and performed by the rock group Chilliwack ​(1972)

epimetheus
October 20th, 2018, 10:59 PM
EPITHEMEUS -- Chess and GO (I'm told. Don't know the game) are massively complex games, but they involve pieces, defined and restricted 'moves' that govern each piece, a board or grid, and rules. Given all of these LIMITS, if one wanted to (?), a computer could be instructed to lay out every possible move for every possible scenario that it would ever be possible to make on a chessboard. I don't care how many zeros there might be in the total; the possible moves are FINITE.


There are about 10^170 possible moves in Go. To put that into perspective there are about 10^80 atoms in the entire observable universe. Technically finite, yes, but it would take a computer longer than the age of the universe today to work it all out. Maybe poetry is several orders of magnitude more complex, but this is irrelevant because the Go AI did not even try to do this. Rather it was taught a more human approach: learn from experience.




But this comment needs to be expanded to include the single factor that no machine could ever match: a poem requires an AUDIENCE to be complete. This 'component' in the poetic experience' is especially obvious in modern free verse, where the poet must re-invent Form with every poem s/he writes, and that unique form invites the reader INTO the poem as a collaborator. So never mind the limitless range of nuance available within the language per se, when you add the subtly different perspectives each reader brings to the poem . . . the 'meaning' of that poem becomes infinite. It is inconceivable that a machine could perform the imaginative legerdemain required to encompass the poem.



I agree poetry is in some sense a dialogue, requiring at least two minds. You seem to arguing that AI could not write poetry because it cannot have a theory of mind. Why not?

What, precisely, do you imagine precludes a computer from being able to think or feel?

Robbie
October 20th, 2018, 11:33 PM
Thanks Clark. I latched on to your last sentence before the lyric quotes performed by Rain-o. Have you or anyone here seen the movie “Her”? It is set in a not far distant future in which operating systems or OSes have AI. Since I use Siri, Alexa and the Apple homepod daily, I am not at all suspect of computers acquiring human or human like intelligence. I certainly recommend this movie. I love it when I can tell one of my devices to play Paul McCartney’s new album without having to do anything else but tell it to play, yadda yadda, same with news etc. The idea that computers will outsmart us is ponderable but I don’t see how it could happen since we are doing the programming, YET when computers program themselves through algorithms and I think they do now to some extent - it will will have happened. Perhaps it has begun? IS scary...or is it? So yes it is conceivable that machines may eventually outsmart us...because we created the algorithms. Oh what a topic. Hope you will check out one of the links below.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Her_(film)

https://gointothestory.blcklst.com/movie-analysis-her-5651e6e0c0be

TL Murphy
October 21st, 2018, 06:24 AM
I agree poetry is in some sense a dialogue, requiring at least two minds. You seem to arguing that AI could not write poetry because it cannot have a theory of mind. Why not?

What, precisely, do you imagine precludes a computer from being able to think or feel?

I do believe that a computer could become self aware and could have a theory of mind. But that doesn’t mean a computer could be self-reflective. Could a computer experience guilt? Could it feel shame? Could a computer feel rejection or injustice? Could a computer express an ethereal grasp of mysteries beyond it’s own understanding through metaphorical language that expands meaning beyond what the words themselves are capable of? The human mind is more than a machine. There is a sense of self or soul or being that cannot be simulated. I don’t think a machine could ever grasp its soul.

epimetheus
October 21st, 2018, 07:16 AM
I do believe that a computer could become self aware and could have a theory of mind. But that doesn’t mean a computer could be self-reflective. Could a computer experience guilt? Could it feel shame? Could a computer feel rejection or injustice? Could a computer express an ethereal grasp of mysteries beyond it’s own understanding through metaphorical language that expands meaning beyond what the words themselves are capable of? The human mind is more than a machine. There is a sense of self or soul or being that cannot be simulated. I don’t think a machine could ever grasp its soul.

Sorry to sound like a broken record, but why not? What is present in a human that must forever be absent from AI? In what sense is the human mind more than a machine - a soul?

midnightpoet
October 21st, 2018, 01:24 PM
I, for one, welcome our robot overlords.:icon_joker:

Gumby
October 21st, 2018, 02:44 PM
Sorry to sound like a broken record, but why not? What is present in a human that must forever be absent from AI? In what sense is the human mind more than a machine - a soul?

I'm not sure that the emotional aspect of humans can be quantified. It is too varied from person to person. What is the thing that brings tears to your eyes when you hear the first notes of a beautiful piece of music? When we see a sunset or sunrise? Those things are human, intrinsic in each of our unique dna. If it can ever be duplicated, I have my doubts. I have no way of actually knowing. None of us do. But we are organic beings and as such, subject to millions of variations that are possible in the creation of a human. I would ask you to explain how or why you believe it is possible. I don't say this in any way that is confrontational, only curious to know your thinking.

jenthepen
October 21st, 2018, 06:34 PM
This is a fascinating discussion and I can understand the argument that we don't yet know how far a machine might learn to replicate the thinking and feeling of a human. As far as poetry goes though, I can't imagine what could motivate artificial intelligence to write a poem except a command to do so. So, I can go along with A1 churning out greetings card verse but how could the command be set in order to make it write 'from the heart' and, if that program could be developed it would be kind of self-defeating because you can't order a poem from the heart - not even from a human.

TL Murphy
October 21st, 2018, 09:56 PM
This is a fascinating discussion and I can understand the argument that we don't yet know how far a machine might learn to replicate the thinking and feeling of a human. As far as poetry goes though, I can't imagine what could motivate artificial intelligence to write a poem except a command to do so. So, I can go along with A1 churning out greetings card verse but how could the command be set in order to make it write 'from the heart' and, if that program could be developed it would be kind of self-defeating because you can't order a poem from the heart - not even from a human.

Jen, this goes back one of my earlier comments that poetry is not just an arrangement of words. It is an artistic form of expression that involves "intent". The question keeps circling back to "why could a computer not write a poem? and I keep asking, Why would a computer write a poem - other than to prove it could? I don't call that a poem. A poem is not merely an object or an equation. It's an imaginative form of interaction. So, among other things, a computer would have to have an imagination to write poetry. Of course, the predicted response is, why couldn't AI have imagination and my answer is, that's no longer AI. A computer with imagination is not a computer, it's a life form.

EmmaSohan
October 22nd, 2018, 12:31 AM
I have been thinking about this issue for metaphors in fiction writing. First, we try to imagine any metaphor, then we think that what we imagined it what it meant. Example: The gym was blacker than a cave. All of the caves I have been in have been well lit, but I imagine a black cave and the metaphor SEEMS to work.

So, we read a metaphor, it means something to us, and we might even call it good, even though we did all the work and the author meant something else. Or was just a computer. Or a human not thinking about it.

But . . . there is a social value in communicating. Inside jokes. Slang. Jokes even. And that means that the author has to mean the same thing as we are interpreting it. Which isn't happening with the computer.

TL Murphy
October 22nd, 2018, 04:24 AM
Emma, your saying something very close to what Clark said. Maybe you're saying the same thing in a different way. The poem doesn't really become a poem until someone receives it. So there is a place where meaning is exchanged. Even if the meaning isn't immediately apparent, none-the-less meaning is given and received based on some kind of deeply shared understanding about being.

clark
October 22nd, 2018, 09:41 AM
The discussion has become the snake eating its own tail. Epimetheus keeps asking "why not? and why not?" The question is perfectly legitimate in this argumentative field of rank hypothesis, but it is also worth noting that not a single person in this forum is qualified to answer his question, "why can't a computer feel?" No one that I've ever heard of on the planet past or preset has ever suggested a computer or AI could--not in the full-bodied sense of ''feeling" involved in Tim's post #54 and #59. We aren't even talking about a null set here--a null set is empty SO FAR, but we all agree it COULD be filled--like "female Presidents of the United States." There is a certain speculative solidity to the Null Set, but we certainly do not have that here. What we have is Epimetheus's enquiring mind asking a question that can't be answered because there are not YET enough nuts and bolts in the tool chest to formulate an answer VERSUS various comments about the nature of the poetic experience that are rooted in emotion and mystery, hence "unprovable" in scientific terms. It is interesting, though, that Einstein said the most treasured tool in the scientist's warbag is. . .Imagination. Back to that hungry albeit cannibalistic snake. . . . . . . .

epimetheus
October 22nd, 2018, 09:53 AM
I don't say this in any way that is confrontational, only curious to know your thinking.

I don't take it to be confrontational at all; quite the opposite.

My basic premise is that all the complexities of humans are manifestations of physical phenomena. If one arrangement of atoms can evolve to become sentient, I see no reason that another system cannot. Yes, the brain and the body are exquisitely complex phenomena but there is no reason other physical phenomena cannot become at least as complex. It may require the advent of quantum computing (maybe a few decades away from being commercially available), but given the trajectory of technological advancement that complexity seems achievable at some point in the future.

I would imagine that a sentient AI would experience itself quite differently to how an average human experiences itself, but the important note is that they both experience. Given that humans are creating AI i think it inevitable that we will imbue at least some part of ourselves into it. Already there is a massive focus in AI on image recognition; the visual processing of humans takes of a significant proportion of our brains too. We would also be keen to imbue communication upon AI , both the ability and the desire.

Poetry would be one vehicle we could share in which to explore the nuances between AI and human experience.

All i'm saying is that its possible and its important we discuss it now as it could be just a matter of decades away (though it could be centuries) and how we deal with a newly sentient life form is something worth giving serious thought to.




Of course, the predicted response is, why couldn't AI have imagination and my answer is, that's no longer AI. A computer with imagination is not a computer, it's a life form.

Did you say that before? I would have stopped asking if i had noticed.

I just want to move beyond the humans can do what computers cannot answers to exploring why they can't. In your case it seems you accept they could, but at that point they become something else. Just as a human is not just a brain.

Kevin
October 22nd, 2018, 01:13 PM
If you take all our ingredients and put them together
in a specially prepared laboratory you don't get life. They've tried it. All life is a continuation of previous life without any breaks. Shelley was wrong. An absolutely dead thing cannot be made to live.

ChloeRose
October 22nd, 2018, 01:37 PM
Beautiful words. Ultimately it all emanates from what humans, all life, creates and then manipulates, so why shouldn't it be considered poetry? Just as a with the painting from an elephant's trunk, or the beauty of a bird's nest, poetry belongs everywhere, from all sources. So we can accept it as such.

bdcharles
October 22nd, 2018, 02:25 PM
Take a look at BotPoet (http://botpoet.com)

Theglasshouse
October 22nd, 2018, 03:18 PM
I tried bot poet and answered wrong on a poem about imagination. I actually enjoyed the poem! It said imagination is a monster that grows stronger and stronger.

If originality is the human imagination though I'd think that involves human faculties. That machines don't have. Despite the ironic first poem I read. It was as if the website was trying to spread an agenda on what it thought of a bot that wrote a poem. It was a haiku though.(which the poem since it was terse and short was more difficult to judge).

clark
October 22nd, 2018, 04:59 PM
Chloerose -- if I follow your post, you're suggesting that any "life that creates and manipulates. . . .should be considered poetry" ?? And somehow "poetry comes from everywhere, sort of from everything. . .all sources" And somehow we should accept "it". . . "as such".

Sorry. I frequently remind everyone that, like Pooh, I am a Bear of Little Brain, and I have to be plodded thru paths of reasoning, because I get lost in the thickets through which the paths cut. I can't connect the dots here. I simply don't understand what you're saying. Could you explain, please.

WELCOME TO WRITING FORUMS, BY THE WAY !!

Olly Buckle
October 22nd, 2018, 11:30 PM
I think with 'The poetry of a sunset' and similar concepts Chloerose is using a much wider concept of poetry. When we say 'write a poem' we are necessarily dealing in words, and the narrower concept of poetry as a form of words.

Edit, and welcome from me to Chloerose, always good to see newcomers joining in.

Robbie
October 22nd, 2018, 11:42 PM
Epithemus, have you seen the movie “Her”? I posted some links on my response to Clark. I’d like to know your thoughts. Evidently we are headed in that direction and if then machines will definitely have heart...if not soul, whatever that is.

TL Murphy
October 23rd, 2018, 12:23 AM
It's hard to say what the world will be like when machines develop capacity for true existential reflection, imagination and reproduction. I suspect humans will be rare in such a world, possibly kept cloistered in castles and pandered to as shamans of a former primordial innocence and the odd poetic line to grapple with.

TL Murphy
October 23rd, 2018, 01:02 AM
Beautiful words. Ultimately it all emanates from what humans, all life, creates and then manipulates, so why shouldn't it be considered poetry? Just as a with the painting from an elephant's trunk, or the beauty of a bird's nest, poetry belongs everywhere, from all sources. So we can accept it as such.

As much as "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". A poem is a reflection on reality or being or beauty. A poem doesn't occur spontaneously in nature. A poem is an existential act which requires a complex set of observations, assimilation, reflection, association and ultimately an extraction of meaning which is then offered through the most artistic expression of language, which is, in itself a complex system of symbols and metaphors. It is possibly the most complex act in the universe. But none of it happens without the specific intention of projecting consciousness.

Olly Buckle
October 23rd, 2018, 08:57 AM
A poem is an existential act which requires a complex set of observations, assimilation, reflection, association and ultimately an extraction of meaning which is then offered through the most artistic expression of language,

That is one sort of poem, I can think of a few limericks that wouldn't qualify, but could still be called 'poems', not to mention 'Twinkle twinkle little star'. A pretty simplistic observation or a humorous one like 'As I was walking to St Ives' can also be a poem, a poem is many things to many people, I would only say in this context it involves words.

epimetheus
October 23rd, 2018, 09:26 AM
Epithemus, have you seen the movie “Her”? I posted some links on my response to Clark. I’d like to know your thoughts. Evidently we are headed in that direction and if then machines will definitely have heart...if not soul, whatever that is.

Yes, i saw it. Good film, but difficult to tell how accurate a portrayal it is of the future. Apart from the sex scenes: wouldn't be surprised if someone had tried it on with Alexa already.

toddm
October 26th, 2018, 02:05 AM
A computer can churn out modern style free verse all day long, and some of it might randomly hit upon something interesting or surreal, or something so bizarre it’s beautiful - like a lot of modern visual art: random paint drippings or horses with painted hooves traipsing over big canvases, that sort of thing - but no computer will ever compose poetry like Byron, Keats, Shelley, Longfellow, Shakespeare, Whitman, Cummings, Poe, Wordsworth, Dickinson etc etc, just as no horse (or any animal) could paint something like Claude Monet or Norman Rockwell, or even Pablo Picasso

If you like poetry that is basically an unstructured stream of consciousness free verse jumble of words and images, then sure, a non-sentient machine can easily do that - but if you like poetry that is truly heartfelt and illuminating, a soul touching another soul in a meaningful way through words, then computer generated poetry will seem very hollow, because, of course, it is -

TL Murphy
October 26th, 2018, 04:22 AM
A computer can churn out modern style free verse all day long, and some of it might randomly hit upon something interesting or surreal, or something so bizarre it’s beautiful - like a lot of modern visual art: random paint drippings or horses with painted hooves traipsing over big canvases, that sort of thing - but no computer will ever compose poetry like Byron, Keats, Shelley, Longfellow, Shakespeare, Whitman, Cummings, Poe, Wordsworth, Dickinson etc etc, just as no horse (or any animal) could paint something like Claude Monet or Norman Rockwell, or even Pablo Picasso

If you like poetry that is basically an unstructured stream of consciousness free verse jumble of words and images, then sure, a non-sentient machine can easily do that - but if you like poetry that is truly heartfelt and illuminating, a soul touching another soul in a meaningful way through words, then computer generated poetry will seem very hollow, because, of course, it is -

I suppose I have a similar response to the idea but my thinking is that words alone do not make a poem. There must be conscious intent behind the words. A computer is working from algorithms, not consciousness. So if a computer produces something that resembles a poem, it is really an equation, not sentience. It isn't even really language, since language has evolved to communicate ideas, concepts. A computer generated poem just looks like language. There's no intention to communicate.

toddm
October 27th, 2018, 05:12 AM
I thought this article is pertinent and goes with my above post - the entire article and photo captions are lol, but appear to be written in all seriousness. View the "art"created by a horse, and how the art world has responded

Art lovers paying $2,500 a piece for paintings created by a HORSE (https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2225491/amp/Art-lovers-paying-2-500-piece-paintings-created-HORSE.html)

Justin, the nine-year-old painting horse, has a style that is said to mimic those of famous abstract and impressionist painters

Olly Buckle
October 27th, 2018, 08:49 AM
A computer could probably write a poem suitable for the Daily Mail, toddm.

TL Murphy
October 27th, 2018, 07:23 PM
I think a computer could construct (I won't call it writing) a block of words that is more poetic than a lot of poetry that I read on the internet. But I still contend that the latter is poetry and the former is not.

As to horses painting art. That isn't art. It's a random distribution of paint. The concept itself is artistic in the sense that the act of a horse applying paint can be an artistic performance and the canvas (or whatever) is residue of the act but the object itself is not art. And the horse is not the artist, it's the vehicle.The art is in the intention and the process.

epimetheus
October 27th, 2018, 07:39 PM
That isn't art.

What about this? The fish certainly has intention.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B91tozyQs9M

toddm
October 27th, 2018, 08:23 PM
What about this? The fish certainly has intention.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B91tozyQs9M

That’s neat, thanks, I’d never seen that before - yeah Nature is full of Art, reflecting the Grand Artist in my view - spider’s webs and bird nests also come to mind, beautiful designs - but is hard-wired instinctual drive creative Art for Art’s sake from the perspective of the individual animal? Seems like to me these structures serve a specific important purpose for survival of the individual and/or the species, not because the animal thinks it’s beautiful - only we artistic humans come along, and with our meta-awareness, which animals and computers lack, recognize the Beauty in the design -

epimetheus
October 27th, 2018, 09:22 PM
- but is hard-wired instinctual drive creative Art for Art’s sake from the perspective of the individual animal? Seems like to me these structures serve a specific important purpose for survival of the individual and/or the species, not because the animal thinks it’s beautiful - only we artistic humans come along, and with our meta-awareness, which animals and computers lack, recognize the Beauty in the design -

That's moving the goalposts slightly: first it was intention that was demanded, now there is evidence of that, meta-awareness is required.

The ability and desire to create art evolved at some point. Do you think it is necessarily unique to humans? Neanderthals were creating cave art about 65000 years ago - does this count?

toddm
October 27th, 2018, 09:56 PM
That's moving the goalposts slightly: first it was intention that was demanded, now there is evidence of that, meta-awareness is required.

The ability and desire to create art evolved at some point. Do you think it is necessarily unique to humans? Neanderthals were creating cave art about 65000 years ago - does this count?

: ) I wasn’t the one who said intention was the only requirement for art - and anyway, intention to do or make something isn’t enough to make that intent art; there has to be an intent to create art, which I maintain animals lack - instinct is not an intentional act of the will, just the force of hard-wired instinct, and therefore not artistic expression - just as a computer programmed to create art (as in CGI) is not an act of artistic expression by the computer but rather by the programmer or user.

As far as Neanderthals, I’ll leave to others, but cave art in my understanding is true art, albeit primitive, made by early humans.

JustRob
October 27th, 2018, 11:28 PM
Maybe one day mankind will discover exactly what the presently intangible difference between human minds and computers is. Until then debates such as this one will ramble on aimlessly, much like my poetry. Fortunately my poetry is much shorter.

I was 73 when I wrote that. I'm 74 now and this thread is still going strong. I could so get involved with this discussion but life is just too short; poetic maybe but short. Perhaps that's another aspect of the question though, whether a computer would write a poem if it could.

Olly Buckle
October 27th, 2018, 11:30 PM
I have seen footage that seems to show elephants are aware and create visual representations, they have got a lot of brain.

TL Murphy
October 28th, 2018, 12:36 AM
: ) I wasn’t the one who said intention was the only requirement for art - and anyway, intention to do or make something isn’t enough to make that intent art; there has to be an intent to create art, which I maintain animals lack - instinct is not an intentional act of the will, just the force of hard-wired instinct, and therefore not artistic expression - just as a computer programmed to create art (as in CGI) is not an act of artistic expression by the computer but rather by the programmer or user.


I agree. There is intent in the puffer fish's design as there is in the mating dance of some birds. There may even be sentience of some kind. With elephants, sentience seems probably. But is it art? Designs and patterns made to attract mates seem to have that specific purpose. It is not a intention to explore meaning or create metaphor. So I don't think it's art unless some sentient creature comes along and puts that pattern into artistic context - like the film shown above. However, this discussion is about computers, not animals. It could be argued that some animals show degrees of sentience, but so far, that isn't possible for a computer and may never be.

ned
October 28th, 2018, 01:22 AM
Steady on Epi, you're going into visual natural beauty - which may as well be a spider's web or a mountain -

it seems to me that computer written poetry is only derided after the fact - for me, it equates to 'found poetry' -
a human writes the algorithm and discovers the results.

epimetheus
October 28th, 2018, 11:10 AM
: ) I wasn’t the one who said intention was the only requirement for art

Fair enough.


...instinct is not an intentional act of the will, just the force of hard-wired instinct, and therefore not artistic expression - just as a computer programmed to create art (as in CGI) is not an act of artistic expression by the computer but rather by the programmer or user.

As far as Neanderthals, I’ll leave to others, but cave art in my understanding is true art, albeit primitive, made by early humans.

There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that free-will is an illusion, a story we create after the brain has already decided based on it's 'hard-wiring' (references available upon request). We may well have no more intention than that fish when we 'choose' to create art.



However, this discussion is about computers, not animals. It could be argued that some animals show degrees of sentience, but so far, that isn't possible for a computer and may never be.

True, but it does demonstrate the point that sentience is not a binary state, there appears to a continuum, as evidenced by the animal kingdom. Once we accept that concept we can then ask to what extent, if any, are computers sentient and what degree of sentience is required before we bestow the title Art onto its creations.

I agree that computers are not currently sentient, i just want to ensure that the question of whether they can be, and to what extent, remains an open one.

TL Murphy
October 28th, 2018, 07:33 PM
Fair enough.



There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that free-will is an illusion, a story we create after the brain has already decided based on it's 'hard-wiring' (references available upon request). We may well have no more intention than that fish when we 'choose' to create art.

I think this idea grows out of the thinking that all acts are “virtue signaling” or whatever the term is. I don’t buy it.




True, but it does demonstrate the point that sentience is not a binary state, there appears to a continuum, as evidenced by the animal kingdom. Once we accept that concept we can then ask to what extent, if any, are computers sentient and what degree of sentience is required before we bestow the title Art onto its creations.

I agree that computers are not currently sentient, i just want to ensure that the question of whether they can be, and to what extent, remains an open one.

Sure, sentience may be a continuum. There may be degrees of sentience (even within the human species. Ha!) But there is no grey area between sentient and non-sentient. Sentience means “self aware”. It also means the ability to separte the concept of self from the greater stream of life. That’s a lot trickier. It could be argued that a human infant is not sentient.

epimetheus
October 28th, 2018, 08:01 PM
I think this idea grows out of the thinking that all acts are “virtue signaling” or whatever the term is. I don’t buy it.


It grows out of evidence accumulating in neuroscience. For instance scientists can predict a person's choices (https://www.nature.com/news/2008/080411/full/news.2008.751.html) up to ten seconds before a person is even aware they made a choice. Freewill seems to be a large factor in people thinking only humans can write poetry, but if freewill is an illusion this argument is void. Virtue signalling is a pejorative term for people expressing a moral position - not sure why that matters to this discussion.


Sure, sentience may be a continuum. There may be degrees of sentience (even within the human species. Ha!) But there is no grey area between sentient and non-sentient. Sentience means “self aware”. It also means the ability to separte the concept of self from the greater stream of life. That’s a lot trickier. It could be argued that a human infant is not sentient.


Sentience just means something has a subjective experience. Does a rat experience something? Likely. Does a spider? Probably. Jellyfish? Maybe.
I think what you may be referring to is a subjective sense of self as a separate thing acting in the world? If so, this is why i mentioned the research above - the evidence is increasingly finding this sense of self is illusory, a story we make up after our brain has decided it's course of action: there isn't a ghost in the machine.

toddm
October 28th, 2018, 08:54 PM
This is all devolving into a quasi-religious discussion, and I swore off online religious debate years ago, as it is unproductive and a waste of time and energy on all sides. Others may wish to continue, but I respectfully bow out.

This thread is about whether or not computers can write poetry - my take-away is that currently a sufficiently programmed computer can put together words resembling bad poetry.

TL Murphy
October 28th, 2018, 11:10 PM
Thanks Toddm. Sorry to see you leave. I've enjoyed reading your perspectives. They are well thought out. I understand your reluctance to stray from the main subject though it seems that any discussion like this where there are no clear answers, only perspectives, when it goes on long enough, inevitably starts to touch on the metaphysical. We eventually start to talk about the nature of thought and of Being. Anyway, it's been a pleasure.

E., I can't really disagree with you about the illusion of the self. I've suggested the same thing in other discussiond. It actually goes deeper than that but I won't get into it here because it really is a metaphysical discussion then. But I do see that free will is a component of intention. It may be that free will is illusory. I'm not sure that anyone can answer that question. Regardless, intent is real. Sometimes people do things by accident, meaning they didn't intend for the result they got but there was still some kind of intention. An animal can have intention without having sentience but sentience can't happen in any kind of process that's incapable of intention. And I don't think the most sophisticated computers are capable of intention even though their complexity might make it look that way. It isn't intention. It's just ones and zeros following preset rules.

clark
October 29th, 2018, 01:13 AM
[Aside: when I was an undergrad, I asked a prof what 'DISCUSS' meant on exam/essay questions. She said, "Stay on the topic and show that your perspective expands or adds fuel in some interesting way to our understanding of the topic"]. Keeping that sense of 'Discuss' in mind, I suggest that this entire thread is some good minds expressing good thoughts about a fascinating albeit irresolvable subject. I've argued elsewhere that nervous over-emphasis on AUDIENCE--"beauty is in the eye of the beholder"--will push the argument into aesthetic nihilism and the silliness that there is no such thing as Art, there is only the individual perception of Art, and of course the corollary of that proposition is that anyone's sense of art is as 'good' as anyone else's sense of art. So Art evaporates, becomes an amorphous impression of the existential impressionss of any individual that vocalizes. . . 'something': "TO ME, that five-day-old roadkill over there, teeming with ants and maggots, is Beauty. That is the ultimate Art. Pure poetry". Misguided democracy and out-of-control PC would eagerly agree. It is not my place to impose my views on this person. Oh please! Impose your views on this person! Better yet, say "good luck with that", and move away from him completely.

EVERYONE avoids this polar position, a sort of Jungian proposition that over tens of thousands of years of inner evolution, humans have developed an indefinable part of consciousness that recognizes the form and line and juxtaposition of visuals that result in a sense of Art, regardless of medium, that will hold for the Chauvet cave drawings (35,000 years ago) in France and the scatter-page formats of Charles Olson's Maximus Poems. YES, the tree falling in the forest 100 miles from a human ear WOULD make a noise!

Keats must have had something like this in mind in the closing lines of "An Ode to a Grecian Urn" -

"Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty"
That is all ye know on earth--
And all ye need to know.

Is this 'Jungian position'--that in a work of Art a concept/sense adheres independent of individual experience-- as viable an argument as ART being in the eye of the beholder?

TL Murphy
October 29th, 2018, 01:24 AM
I think that's another thread, Clark. Ask the question formally. This thread is about what artificial intelligence means and I was challenged to start it by your own suggestion on another thread that I had stepped outside the bounds of that discussion.

clark
October 29th, 2018, 02:01 AM
UHHHNNN! [Gasps out an unconvincing last breath. Falls to the boards stage left. Dies of relentless death beam from Murpheyism and sword- thrust between Lower Memory Coil and Relevantus Rejectus. Body is removed. . . .

. . . .as is post #93 RE-LOCATED to a New Home in POETRY DISCUSSION. Good idea.

Robbie
October 29th, 2018, 02:08 AM
I thought it was I who stepped out of bounds Tim.

TL Murphy
October 29th, 2018, 03:52 AM
Impossible.

JustRob
October 29th, 2018, 01:49 PM
It grows out of evidence accumulating in neuroscience. For instance scientists can predict a person's choices (https://www.nature.com/news/2008/080411/full/news.2008.751.html) up to ten seconds before a person is even aware they made a choice. Freewill seems to be a large factor in people thinking only humans can write poetry, but if freewill is an illusion this argument is void. Virtue signalling is a pejorative term for people expressing a moral position - not sure why that matters to this discussion.

Sentience just means something has a subjective experience. Does a rat experience something? Likely. Does a spider? Probably. Jellyfish? Maybe.
I think what you may be referring to is a subjective sense of self as a separate thing acting in the world? If so, this is why i mentioned the research above - the evidence is increasingly finding this sense of self is illusory, a story we make up after our brain has decided it's course of action: there isn't a ghost in the machine.

I prefer my interpretation, that thought is anachronical, so a choice made chronologically after an action can still be its cause. This phenomenon becomes apparent when the choice is based on information not acquired until after the action. Adherents to exclusively chronological causation regard such a thing as a combination of illusion and coincidence, probably because recognition of anachronical causation as a reality would be a threat to the structure of society, so only a sociopath, e.g. a computer, would think it possible. On the other hand, if society were forced to accept that free will is purely an illusion then that would equally lead to its collapse. Hence society is only safe if it forever sits on the fence.

I previously suggested that a computer capable of creating poetry in the way that a human does would probably be a quantum computer rather than a classical one. I don't know where the line is drawn between the physical and metaphysical nowadays but I imagine that quantum mechanics needs to be regarded as metaphysical, being merely a model of something beyond classical physics that we don't fully comprehend yet. On that basis I have to agree that this is a metaphysical discussion while also regarding it as having sound scientific foundations.

P.S.
It just occurred to me that my idea of anachronical thought could be regarded as literally epimethean. How poetic.

TL Murphy
October 29th, 2018, 02:52 PM
JustRob you have a fascinating mind. Your ideas of anachronological causation seem to fit in with the theories of quantum physics which I really don’t understand but which seem to say that all possibilities exist simultaneously which also fits into many metaphysical teachings (Eckart Tolle comes to mind) that past and future all exist within the present. What that has to do with poetry is right now a bit beyond my grasp but I do agree (and I said this in an earlier comment) that if and when we are able to build a quantum computer - all bets are off - meaning, we can’t really perceive what such a machine could do. But it seems that such a thing could possibly become self aware, or sentient, and then I believe it might be able to write poetry. But I wouldn’t call that “artificial intelligence.” I would call it real intelligence. So what we are talking about is a life form, not a computer. How’s that for metaphysical?

epimetheus
October 29th, 2018, 03:55 PM
I prefer my interpretation, that thought is anachronical, so a choice made chronologically after an action can still be its cause. This phenomenon becomes apparent when the choice is based on information not acquired until after the action. Adherents to exclusively chronological causation regard such a thing as a combination of illusion and coincidence, probably because recognition of anachronical causation as a reality would be a threat to the structure of society, so only a sociopath, e.g. a computer, would think it possible.

It just occurred to me that my idea of anachronical thought could be regarded as literally epimethean. How poetic.

I don't think i understand your idea of anachronical thought. You seem to suggest that the future causally influences the past. Can you give me a link/reference to follow? Or maybe we should discuss it elsewhere?



On the other hand, if society were forced to accept that free will is purely an illusion then that would equally lead to its collapse. Hence society is only safe if it forever sits on the fence.


Western society is particularly obsessed with freewill, but there are systems of thought which do not rely heavily upon it. Confucian and Taoist thought and to a lesser extent Buddhist thought would survive quite happily if freewill were found to be illusory.




I previously suggested that a computer capable of creating poetry in the way that a human does would probably be a quantum computer rather than a classical one. I don't know where the line is drawn between the physical and metaphysical nowadays but I imagine that quantum mechanics needs to be regarded as metaphysical, being merely a model of something beyond classical physics that we don't fully comprehend yet. On that basis I have to agree that this is a metaphysical discussion while also regarding it as having sound scientific foundations.


No doubt quantum computing would change things. A 20 qubit quantum computer already exists, but there are practical problems when scaling up.

If it's possible to construct an experiment to test an idea then it's physical. The problem with computers will always be that we can never get inside their minds know if they are truly sentient. We can never know it of other humans either, but we give them leeway because we know what's it's like to be sentient and other humans look and behave as if they experience similar things. But computers are different to us, so we may always doubt.

JustRob
October 30th, 2018, 07:21 PM
I don't think i understand your idea of anachronical thought. You seem to suggest that the future causally influences the past. Can you give me a link/reference to follow? Or maybe we should discuss it elsewhere?
You could start with Backward Causation (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/causation-backwards/) as an introductory article and move on from there as you feel necessary. My remarks stem from having to accept the nature of my own experiences after writing my solitary novel Never Upon A Time in 2011. There was almost no prior reason for me to have done it but a great deal of apparent subsequent reasons, so I took an interest in the idea of thought outside of time as a consequence ... or maybe a prerequisite; it's difficult to say which in retrospect. In 2017 I wrote a blog here in WF The Prisoner (https://www.writingforums.com/entries/3023-The-Prisoner)about the psychological pressures of my experiences which culminated during that year. At the end of next week I will be attending a study day on The paranormal in psychiatric practice at the Society for Psychical Research in London hosted by five psychiatrists and psychologists. Such people have to deal with what their clients perceive as unusual realities on a strangely regular basis, so they have to have well-founded views on them.


Western society is particularly obsessed with freewill, but there are systems of thought which do not rely heavily upon it. Confucian and Taoist thought and to a lesser extent Buddhist thought would survive quite happily if freewill were found to be illusory.
Maybe, but in the absence of free will the concept of responsibility must diminish, mustn't it?
e.g. "I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way." (Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit)


JustRob you have a fascinating mind. Your ideas of anachronological causation seem to fit in with the theories of quantum physics which I really don’t understand but which seem to say that all possibilities exist simultaneously which also fits into many metaphysical teachings (Eckart Tolle comes to mind) that past and future all exist within the present. What that has to do with poetry is right now a bit beyond my grasp but I do agree (and I said this in an earlier comment) that if and when we are able to build a quantum computer - all bets are off - meaning, we can’t really perceive what such a machine could do. But it seems that such a thing could possibly become self aware, or sentient, and then I believe it might be able to write poetry. But I wouldn’t call that “artificial intelligence.” I would call it real intelligence. So what we are talking about is a life form, not a computer. How’s that for metaphysical?

Well, the connection that I mentioned previously was that I apparently wrote a poem inspired by something that happened two days later and I couldn't see how a classical computer could do that. Of course I can't even see how I could have, but I did. It is a known syndrome amongst writers that they sometimes notice that events in their lives appear to relate to stories that they have written previously, much as I myself have experienced. If, as we seem to be doing here, we regard creativity as being a consequence of free will, whatever that is, then the whole package can conveniently be explained by reverse causation.

Much of what we write is inspired by our past experiences and any classical computer could do something similar if powerful enough (where I mean powerful in the intellectual sense rather than just the brute force processing sense of course). However, if just a portion of the inspiration comes from our future experiences then we are drawing on a resource not available to a classical computer. Also, if an idea conceived in the past eventually results in the event in the future that inspired it retroactively then a causal loop is formed (described in that Stanford article as a "bootstrap" sequence of events) and there is no evident external cause, so the idea and its consequences can only be regarded as genuine self-justifying free will.

Maybe then a classical computer can write a poem of a sort, but not necessarily every kind of poem that humans can. The answer to the question lies not just in the raw ability but in the breadth of that ability.

Olly Buckle
October 31st, 2018, 12:43 AM
With the mind's capacity for performing tasks well beyond the capabilities of the conscious brain, don't you think that the apparent effect you are describing , of future events affecting present ones, might not more rationally be explained as that part of the brain which is unavailable directly to the conscious mind predicting the future in the present? Of course if this were so it might not always get it right, but the conscious mind would ignore those events and focus on the ones that were right, giving a skewed perspective.

TL Murphy
October 31st, 2018, 04:10 AM
Olly, if one can affect current events based on some kind of perception of future events, then it comes down to one of two things: either the future event is perceptible in the present, which means that the future (or some signature of the future) exists in the present; or it isn't, which means the perception of the future is an illusion, a trick of the brain, or a good guess. That should be a verifiable phenomenon with the right experiment. I don't think it matters what part of the consciousness is doing the perceiving. It either perceives something real or it doesn't.

JustRob
October 31st, 2018, 01:13 PM
We are getting off topic, but I'll reply to the off topic remarks before getting back on topic.

Olly: What you are describing is called confirmation bias by psychologists and the first explanation that they give for any such experience. However, this requires there to be a wide choice of events from which the subject can make a selection to fit their bias. When there is virtually no such choice it can't be an explanation. Believe me, I've studied all the stock arguments carefully and can't fit them to my experiences no matter how unbiased an approach I take.

TLM: There may be many possible futures each passing back their own signature, which may each be perceived simply as either a positive or negative vibe in the unconscious mind. One would expect the overall effect to be a lot of incoherent noise which wouldn't affect any decisions made, but I have noticed that the mind does seem to perceive more clearly changes in those futures arising from unknown events in the present. Jung described such a phenomenon as synchronicity, where two people apart from each other seem to have similar ideas at the same time. His observations on this phenomenon were really the beginning of parapsychology.

The fact that I decided to write my poem at virtually the same time that my friend across the Atlantic was probably planning his weekend activities, which included writing an email to me, can be regarded as an example of synchronicity as we evidently both thought about Cervantes then. The fact that I originally intended to write an email to him to pre-empt his but wrote the poem and immediately posted it on WF instead is the oddity. Did I rush to get my thoughts recorded online with a timestamp like that because I was really conducting an experiment in passing information backwards in time two days later? Did I maybe do it using a poem because you just suggested such an experiment during a discussion of poetry here and now? How spooky do you want things to get at Halloween?

Getting back on topic, the mainstream view of the human brain is that it is a very adaptable classical computer of immense complexity and nothing more than that. On that basis the answer to the original question must be "Yes" because our brains are all just computers and eventually artificial equivalents could be built. For the answer to be "No", or more likely "Not entirely", there needs to be something else within the human brain, some spirit or ghost within the machine, possibly at the quantum level rather than the classical physical level.

Coincidentally, or maybe not, back in 2011 I wrote the prophetic words "about something else" under the title of my strangely conceived novel. My novel and my poetry both came from the same place, my "erratic muse" or "fictional writer", some intangible spirit deep within my unconscious mind. At the mechanistic level of conscious thought I can't write poetry to order, being a total pantser, so my abilities at that level are on a par with a computer and the poetry only comes from that hidden "something else" unbidden. I can't even edit my poems after I have written them, which has riled Olly on several occasions.

It is impossible to discuss this subject fully without drawing such comparisons between brains and computers, so inevitably the discussion must divert into such metaphysics. It's a good opportunity for some creative writing to stimulate the readers' minds though. What more can a prose writer want here?

Kevin
October 31st, 2018, 02:12 PM
Ghost in the machine- How do you get past the part where the thing is not alive, is not alive, is not alive...? The complexity of an object does not make it alive, and therefor any simulation created by a simulation remains a simulation. AI is not gonna happen. Life doesnt just *poof* into existence. It's only happened once on this planet. We should have new, unrelated life happening all the time and we don't.

JustRob
October 31st, 2018, 05:50 PM
Life doesnt just *poof* into existence. It's only happened once on this planet. We should have new, unrelated life happening all the time and we don't.

Global cooling put a stop to it, so maybe global warming will eventually start it up again. That should prove interesting.

TL Murphy
October 31st, 2018, 09:54 PM
I feel that the original question has been exhausted on this thread. We are now discussing “What is life?” Which is fine, but as far as the original question goes it seems that some believe a computer can write a poem a some do not. The difference seems to come down to 1. What one believes a poem is and 2. What one believes intelligence is. I doubt either of those conditions will ever be resolved and so the discussion is bound to go around in circles forever. At least until a computer writes a poem, which some believe has already happened and others so - no, that isn’t poetry. And back we go to the beginning. The nature of life is a fascinating subject and I’m happy to discuss it it but I feel less qualified to discuss that than the nature of poetry.

Kevin
November 1st, 2018, 04:18 AM
TL, you're not getting it. A effing machine cannot write a poem. Those people are wrong, and I'm right. How many times do I gotta repeat myself?

TL Murphy
November 1st, 2018, 04:35 AM
Of course you're right, Kevin. You're always right. I don't know what came over me.

Kevin
November 1st, 2018, 01:02 PM
No, you're right: thread's dead.

JustRob
November 1st, 2018, 03:10 PM
No, you're right: thread's dead.

Now it's dead is there possibly a ghost in the machine, the WF server I mean?

Olly Buckle
November 1st, 2018, 11:21 PM
Now it's dead is there possibly a ghost in the machine, the WF server I mean?

Do you think it will write us a poem? Or maybe it already has before the event?

TL Murphy
November 2nd, 2018, 12:21 AM
I’m waiting to see if the effect occurs before the cause. Could be a quantum leap of post sentience. But why wait if it has already not happened yet?

Theglasshouse
November 2nd, 2018, 03:32 AM
Another good point, computers would have difficulties with a program composing a new work because of all previous works written. It would never innovate making it more difficult to win a contest where criticism is on the original work. A lot of publications look for new and innovative writing that has a fresh voice, to showcase talent. So computers for example such as deep blue only studied chess games past masters played. When chess players made unorthodox moves the computer could not predict as well where to move next. For example when I entered a war poetry contest hospital poems and the military according to the critic was the new thing in poetry the contest wanted to see more off. Which is rarer it seems. New subjects are something a computer cannot do.

JustRob
November 2nd, 2018, 10:18 AM
Do you think it will write us a poem? Or maybe it already has before the event?
It would only have our posts from which to get its inspiration. Little chance of that then.


I’m waiting to see if the effect occurs before the cause. Could be a quantum leap of post sentience. But why wait if it has already not happened yet?
I doubt that WF can afford a quantum server to achieve that. Also my experiences occurred up to eight years before their potential causes and there's no reason to believe that that is the limit, so you'd have to read back a long way through the WF threads to determine whether it hasn't happened. It's a lot easier to assert a negative than prove one. That's why experiments would be impractical.

It's this uncontrollable nature of parapsychological phenomena that makes them difficult to assess. A while ago I attended a talk given by Edwin May, director of the American military Stargate Project into remote viewing by psychics. He mentioned that on one occasion one of their best psychics arrived at work to find out what the task for the day was and stated that he'd already seen an image in his mind while in his car. Viewing that particular military installation was that day's task, but he'd already accomplished it before he knew that it was.

The Stargate spying project tends to be bundled in with the more unlikely military psychokinesis efforts popularly known as "The men who stare at goats". It was particularly amusing that one high-ranking military man demanded that the Stargate Project be discontinued because it was "the work of the Devil". I find such American pragmatism difficult to comprehend. To favour the supernatural explanation over the preternatural one was just weird, although devilry is considered by many to be subordinate to God's truly supernatural actions, so only preternatural, I understand. Personally I am pragmatic in my use of words.


New subjects are something a computer cannot do.
Maybe because inspiration and innovation come from where and when one doesn't look, as that psychic driving to work discovered.

epimetheus
November 2nd, 2018, 10:53 AM
It would never innovate...

That was true in 1997, but it's hasn't be true at least since 2016. AlphaGo was able to create new strategies (https://www.wired.com/2016/03/two-moves-alphago-lee-sedol-redefined-future/) not seen with thousands of years of human creativity, now incorporated into the human Go playing community.



You could start with Backward Causation (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/causation-backwards/)...

This stuff is way too speculative for me, we can just agree to disagree as we're getting way off topic.

That conference you mentioned somewhere before does sound interesting though. If you'd care to blog about it i would definitely be interested to hear about it.



Maybe, but in the absence of free will the concept of responsibility must diminish, mustn't it?
e.g. "I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way." (Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit)


Only if you think law and ethics should just be punitive. On a practical level you still want a deterrent, still want to lock away, and possibly treat, dangerous people, still want closure for victims etc...



We should have new, unrelated life happening all the time and we don't.

New life could be spawning all the time and we'd never know it. Such early life would be incredibly simple single celled organisms, extremely likely to be in the sea, maybe around thermal vents. We are still discovering new species of mammals today, we haven't even begun to scratch the surface of microbial life. So even if there was an abundance of new life, we would be extremely lucky to actually see it. It took billions of years for complex multi-cellular life to evolve, so we've got a while to wait if it starts kicking around.

However, it would be virtually impossible for any new life to survive long as existing life has been evolving for billions of years. It would be a fight between well adapted species that have competed for resources since just after the moon formed versus life that wouldn't even have a single sense ; less David and Goliath, more a grain of sand vs the world's oceans.

JustRob
November 2nd, 2018, 01:34 PM
This stuff is way too speculative for me, we can just agree to disagree as we're getting way off topic.

Surely philosophy does tend to be speculative though and you did ask me for something to read on the subject. As for disagreeing, I have never actually asserted anything, only mentioned what I personally feel obliged to accept. Acceptance and belief are not the same to my mind, so I can still remain sceptical, but maybe that too is a matter of philosophy. As for getting off topic, I did mention that myself earlier, but as a professional computer technologist who normally only writes prose I am quite content to distract members from discussing poetry, knowing very little about it. I am clearly labelled as an erratic mentor here after all, so maybe sometimes I play the part of a dementor when a thread appears to have run its course as this one does.

If we are seriously to regard ourselves as writers then we should also regard WF as a literary work to which we are contributing. Exactly what its readers may gain from it is one of the mysteries that surrounds all literature, but the diversity of our many approaches increases the chance that they will gain something, so we discuss, inform, jest and maybe inspire.

epimetheus
November 2nd, 2018, 02:04 PM
As for getting off topic, I did mention that myself earlier, but as a professional computer technologist who normally only writes prose I am quite content to distract members from discussing poetry, knowing very little about it. I am clearly labelled as an erratic mentor here after all, so maybe sometimes I play the part of a dementor when a thread appears to have run its course as this one does.

That's cool and i'm more than happy to jump down any vaguely science shaped rabbit hole, but isn't it a breach of forum etiquette?

TL Murphy
November 2nd, 2018, 03:56 PM
That's cool and i'm more than happy to jump down any vaguely science shaped rabbit hole, but isn't it a breach of forum etiquette?


Not until I say so and I enjoy the speculation. So carry on bravely. It’s all relevant in some dimension.

TL Murphy
November 2nd, 2018, 04:15 PM
... my experiences occurred up to eight years before their potential causes and there's no reason to believe that that is the limit, so you'd have to read back a long way through the WF threads to determine whether it hasn't happened. It's a lot easier to assert a negative than prove one. That's why experiments would be impractical.

This gives me a chuckle because I could see mining 6,000 years of literature for any shred of evidence that might indicated foreknowledge. I’m sure ther are plenty of possible indicators that someone might have known something before it actually happened, but it proves nothing. It smacks a bit of Erich von Daniken’s, Chariot of the Gods, stretching obscure and unlikely evidence to prove a desired conclusion. It’s impossible to to say that the Pyramids were not build by extraterrestrials (or even built from the top down, as some speculate) but it’s highly unlikely.

JustRob
November 2nd, 2018, 05:20 PM
This gives me a chuckle because I could see mining 6,000 years of literature for any shred of evidence that might indicated foreknowledge.

Of course to preserve my reputation for having already addressed any matter raised in WF by cheating time I should mention that I did that on my website some years ago. I have closed that part of the site now but I'll explain briefly. To determine what scientific consideration had been given to the idea of quantum thought I researched among other things the Orchestrated Objective Reduction hypothesis (commonly just called Orch-OR) conceived by Penrose and Hameroff, which they proposed as an explanation of consciousness. However, to demonstrate what happens when one looks too hard for parallels, I then pointed out that the ancient Greek story of Prometheus giving fire to mankind was apparently equivalent in its detail to Orch-OR, "proving" that the ancient Greeks were aware of Penrose and Hameroff's work or at least conversant with quantum neuroscience, both of which seem unlikely. However, the clue to the truth may lie in the fact that the name Prometheus means "forethought". Spooky. Clever people, those ancient Greeks. As I never use emoticons it is always up to the reader to decide when I may be joking. Don't ask me though; I just write this stuff.

I have a story about Orch-OR and its connection with the search for fairy dust in my novel written back in 2011, but that's enough nonsense for now.

Theglasshouse
November 2nd, 2018, 05:35 PM
That was true in 1997, but it's hasn't be true at least since 2016. AlphaGo was able to create new strategies (https://www.wired.com/2016/03/two-moves-alphago-lee-sedol-redefined-future/) not seen with thousands of years of human creativity, now incorporated into the human Go playing community.

A computer simulation of a game is not creativity. Creativity has its own unique definition when it refers to humans. There are different areas of intelligence as well because of the human brain's unique capabilities. What separates a computer from a human and animals is emotion. A computer cannot display creativity in the poetic domain. If we use your analogy it would need to create new poetic strategies, which it is not doing which are a far cry from the usual prowess of a human.It is something that can be looked online. Creativity, or a least the poetic process borrows something from other writers. It's like following an established canon. Will the computer invent without using a human's own words to construct poems? Most of these programs don't have poets behind them making them. If they did have accomplished poets writing them, I would think we would have to know that programs writing poems need reason anyhow besides emotion, another human faculty computers don't possess. A.I. is not perfect, certain reasoning skills are needed or multiple ones. It's opening another domain of knowledge that hasn't been perfected. Computers fool us, I think guard dog made that in one of his threads as a comment. He's a mechanical engineer. So to formulate new thoughts, and that a computer that doesn't learn, is a problem. If it can't learn to write a poem but must borrow other people's work. Algorithms can learn certain things such as collect data and use it for a means to an end, to perform a task. Human intelligence is more holistic than analytical, or whole that anaylzing one part. Computers are simulations imo, because everything that is human we don't know how to process it since we have yet to understand the human brain. (we would need research into creating them that is groundbreaking and the nervous system of the brain is not completely understood. The quantum or understanding the molecular level of humans is elusive and we humans have yet to get quantum computing right. Humans write the code, but they can't evolve the brain as mother nature has done so far on a carbon-based organism. That might not be enough because of how unique and complex the brain is, and we can't copy it. We can imitate it all we want. Some people think robots will never be sentient because of some experiment scientists did called the Chinese Room. Each area of the brain stores and processes different intelligences or memories. It's even speculated the heart and brain are connected in some vital way as to feel emotions. Heart transplant patients reportedly don't feel emotions (as much as before). So I guess I am skeptical since there is a lot of evidence to suggest otherwise. Empathy is something humans have computers dont have, and that is why a lot of poets write, to feel those vital emotions that makes us human. To have a good time at a hobby while feeling an emotion. Each emotion is another problem of creating a poetic robot. I think we can agree maybe on one thing, "artiifical intelligence" is the only thing humans know something about to give to robots. To what degree that resembled a human's intelligence will be a source of disagreement. Some people are good at some things such as poems, other at maths, writing stories, others are good at learning languages. So intelligence is wide-branching. That is a uniquely human that like in philosophy can be called phenomenology, or happens as a phenomenon. A human species has evolved in ways a human does not understand and so forth and so has its intelligences. Perhaps laziness was the best reason to create aritifical intelligence. To be able to work at doing well certain tasks. What evolution did is superior in everyway to every machine built or the human brain.

TL Murphy
November 3rd, 2018, 02:24 AM
Glass, that's quite the treatise and it leads me to speculate that emotional intelligence (EI) is arguably essential to writing poetry and, while a computer program could fake EI, I doubt a computer could actually mimic it, much less embody it.

Theglasshouse
November 3rd, 2018, 03:13 AM
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room
Strong AI as computationalism or functionalism[edit (https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Chinese_room&action=edit&section=5)]In more recent presentations of the Chinese room argument, Searle has identified "strong AI" as "computer functionalism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Functionalism_(philosophy_of_mind))" (a term he attributes to Daniel Dennett (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Dennett)).[3] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room#cite_note-FOOTNOTESearle199244-4)[29] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room#cite_note-FOOTNOTESearle200445-39) Functionalism is a position in modern philosophy of mind (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_mind) that holds that we can define mental phenomena (such as beliefs, desires, and perceptions) by describing their functions in relation to each other and to the outside world. Because a computer program can accurately represent functional relationships as relationships between symbols, a computer can have mental phenomena if it runs the right program, according to functionalism.
Stevan Harnad (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stevan_Harnad) argues that Searle's depictions of strong AI can be reformulated as "recognizable tenets of computationalism, a position (unlike "strong AI") that is actually held by many thinkers, and hence one worth refuting."[30] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room#cite_note-FOOTNOTEHarnad2001p._3_(Italics_his)-40) Computationalism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computationalism)[k] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room#cite_note-43) is the position in the philosophy of mind which argues that the mind (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind) can be accurately described as an information-processing (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_processing) system.
Each of the following, according to Harnad, is a "tenet" of computationalism:[33] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room#cite_note-FOOTNOTEHarnad20013%E2%80%935-44)


Mental states are computational states (which is why computers can have mental states and help to explain the mind);
Computational states are implementation-independent (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_realizability) — in other words, it is the software that determines the computational state, not the hardware (which is why the brain, being hardware, is irrelevant); and that
Since implementation is unimportant, the only empirical data that matters is how the system functions; hence the Turing test (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing_test) is definitive.

Strong AI vs. biological naturalism[edit (https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Chinese_room&action=edit&section=6)]Searle holds a philosophical position he calls "biological naturalism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_naturalism)": that consciousness (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consciousness)[a] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room#cite_note-Consciousness-1) and understanding (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intentionality) require specific biological machinery that are found in brains. He writes "brains cause minds"[5] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room#cite_note-FOOTNOTESearle198011-7) and that "actual human mental phenomena [are] dependent on actual physical–chemical properties of actual human brains".[34] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room#cite_note-FOOTNOTESearle199029-45) Searle argues that this machinery (known to neuroscience (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroscience) as the "neural correlates of consciousness (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neural_correlates_of_consciousness)") must have some (unspecified) "causal powers" that permit the human experience of consciousness.[35] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room#cite_note-FOOTNOTESearle1990-46) Searle's faith in the existence of these powers has been criticized.[l] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room#cite_note-47)
Searle does not disagree with the notion that machines can have consciousness and understanding, because, as he writes, "we are precisely such machines".[5] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room#cite_note-FOOTNOTESearle198011-7) Searle holds that the brain is, in fact, a machine, but that the brain gives rise to consciousness and understanding using machinery that is non-computational. If neuroscience is able to isolate the mechanical process that gives rise to consciousness, then Searle grants that it may be possible to create machines that have consciousness and understanding. However, without the specific machinery required, Searle does not believe that consciousness can occur.
Biological naturalism implies that one cannot determine if the experience of consciousness is occurring merely by examining how a system functions, because the specific machinery of the brain is essential. Thus, biological naturalism is directly opposed to both behaviorism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behaviorism) and functionalism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Functionalism_(philosophy_of_mind)) (including "computer functionalism" or "strong AI").[36] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room#cite_note-FOOTNOTEHauser20068-48) Biological naturalism is similar to identity theory (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identity_theory_of_mind) (the position that mental states are "identical to" or "composed of" neurological events); however, Searle has specific technical objections to identity theory.[37] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room#cite_note-FOOTNOTESearle1992chpt._5-49)[m] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room#cite_note-50) Searle's biological naturalism and strong AI are both opposed to Cartesian dualism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartesian_dualism),[36] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room#cite_note-FOOTNOTEHauser20068-48) the classical idea that the brain and mind are made of different "substances". Indeed, Searle accuses strong AI of dualism, writing that "strong AI only makes sense given the dualistic assumption that, where the mind is concerned, the brain doesn't matter."[25] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room#cite_note-FOOTNOTESearle198013-33)

From Wikipedia, a summary of the arguments for both cases can be found. Philosophers and some people who have an idea of what technology is debated it using a philosophical thought experiment. I read it casually one day, when researching thought experiments of philosophers. But you can see that an engineer would have some objections, but what about a biologist, who has a biological stance on life?

TL Murphy
November 3rd, 2018, 04:54 AM
Glass, both arguments are interesting proposals and the science is way over my head but I get the gist enough to recognize that both proposals, while interesting, are speculative. Nobody knows this shit one way or the other. The second argument does border on the metaphysical in that the final difference between a biological brain and a mechanical brain seems to hinge on some unknown and possibly unknowable factors that can’t be physically accounted for. The purely secular will likely discount the arguement based on that one premise alone but that still doesn’t prove it wrong. We simply don’t know what the true state of the universe is. An element of primordial intent that underlies the nuts and bolts and synaptic connections of existence cannot be discounted. Whether a machine based on mathematical algorithms can ever really perceive that state of intuition is impossible to say until we actually see it happen. My guess is that it can’t. But I’m just a poet.

JustRob
November 3rd, 2018, 04:19 PM
Perhaps we should try approaching the question from a different direction. Is there an algorithm that a computer can employ to determine whether a piece of text is a poem or not and if so how good a poem it is? In order to instruct a computer to write poetry one must first define what poetry is in terms that a computer can comprehend. Looking at the examples posted here on WF and elsewhere I clearly have no idea what constitutes poetry. A while back I received a school magazine from my old school which contained the top poems written by pupils in a poetry competition and I didn't even recognise their works as what I would consider poetry, but then I'm not a poet or regular reader of poetry. Knowing the generally high academic standards that the school maintains I had to assume that these were good examples of modern poetry but I had no idea why they were.

The approach that an AI computer would need to take would reasonably follow the one that a human writer would, i.e. writing a draft and then reading it back to find ways of developing it further. Given the right criteria a computer could potentially take any randomly generated sequence of words and develop that into something that passed the test for good poetry through countless reiterations and references to source material prompted by the original words. If there isn't actually any defined test for good poetry then the computer would have no way of knowing when it had succeeded and AI must fundamentally have a way of determining its own success as feedback is the key to evolution.

I understand that modern music is often created by something like the technique that I describe above. A computer is used to generate random musical sequences with a particular fractal dimension according to the style required, from the extremely rule-based compositions by Bach to the virtually random ones favoured by Stockhausen. A (usually human) composer listening to these sequences can then pick parts to form the basis of a work that fits the current conventions and fashions of music.

The principle there is that a monkey with a typewriter may not write a recognisable work of art but it can at least provide the inspiration for an artist to create one from what it does write. It's all about defining the criteria for measuring success.

Let's approach it from yet another direction. In a debate between a human and an AI computer about the quality of a poem which would "win"? If the AI and the human had different ideas about what constituted good poetry neither would. So, what if the question had been whether a computer could write a valid critique of a poem written by a human? I think that puts the matter in the right perspective.

TL Murphy
November 3rd, 2018, 09:04 PM
You could be right Rob. But it's difficult to say what a good poem is or even to define poetry. I've participated in exhaustive discussions that never came to any firm resolution about it. An experienced poet knows a good poem when he hears it or reads it and I don't know that there is much better criteria than that. The internet is full of what I consider terrible poetry, but many love it. So quality is subjective. I also read a lot of celebrated poetry and I honestly don't know why it's considered good. It's also quite possible to throw random words together and impress people with it. I can't say if that's talent or fraud. Maybe it's both. This is also what makes poetry hard to write well and hard to appreciate - it's so amorphous. As soon as you make a rule, someone breaks it and starts a movement or a new sub-genre. Maybe there is a sub-genre for computer generated poetry. Will it will catch on? I don't know. Maybe other computers will like it. That seems to be the way these things go.

I want to say that if we could define poetry then it wouldn't be poetry. It' indefinable nature makes it something shapeless, like wind or trying to hold water in your hand. That is why I don't think computers can write poetry. The element of creativity is not something that can be written into an algorithm. You can certainly throw out a bunch of rules and parameters that a computer could follow, and within that format the computer could generate something comprehensible. Is that a poem? I guess it depends on if there's any feeling in it. Poems are about feelings. Can a computer feel anything?

kunox
November 4th, 2018, 11:01 PM
What's next? Novels?


"In the year 2525, if man is still alive..."

Zager and Evans :stupid:

short answer is yes...


https://youtu.be/6rEkKWXCcR4

the long answer is they were probably doing a Turing test. it was just to see if you could foul someone that the computer is a person. at least that's what I get out of it so far but I haven't read it all. I was just scanning through and saw your statement.

TL Murphy
November 5th, 2018, 05:29 AM
Kunox, you could be right that all it takes for a computer to write a poem is to fool someone (anyone) into thinking the poem was written by a human. But I think the question deserves deeper consideration than that, as this thread has demonstrated. We rounded that dog-leg about 100 comments ago.

kunox
November 5th, 2018, 12:06 PM
I wasn't saying that's al it took. I was just saying that what they were trying to do probably. ty anyways. subject dually noted.

Goldwriter
November 6th, 2018, 10:50 PM
Yes. But it can't write a Bukowski.

Olly Buckle
November 6th, 2018, 10:56 PM
A Poem.

There you go, written on my computer :)

TuesdayEve
November 7th, 2018, 12:20 AM
Bukowski would say, Bukowski can’t write f***ing
Bukowski

TL Murphy
November 7th, 2018, 06:46 AM
Bukowski's dead.

TL Murphy
November 7th, 2018, 06:51 AM
A Poem.

There you go, written on my computer :)


Nice try, Olly. And my hammer built my house.

Hill.T.Manner
November 13th, 2018, 08:31 PM
Little late to this party, In terms of whether or not it's considered poetry; I suppose that would be best left to the reader.

Dictionary.com translates Poetry in one of the following ways.

noun

the art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative, orelevated thoughts.
literary work in metrical form; verse.
prose with poetic (https://dictionary.com/browse/poetic) qualities.


At no point does it mention that it has to be written by a human. So, I mean chock one win up for the our future robot overlords.

TL Murphy
November 14th, 2018, 02:27 AM
I don't think the rules of baseball state that a player can't be a robot either but I think it would be frowned upon if it hit a home run every time it swung the bat. Seriously, I don't think we're talking about whether robots are allowed to write poetry but whether a computer can assume those human qualities that make poetry a unique art. That is, if you believe that poetry necessarily expresses unique human qualities. I guess what you are saying is that the answer to the original question is subjective, depending on what you consider poetry. I can't argue with that. So, in that case, the answer would be yes and no.

However, having said all that, if you've read a lot of poetry it's quite east to spot bad poetry. It's much easier than spotting good poetry. Most of the poetry on the internet is bad. And most of that is very bad. A small amount of the poetry on the internet is not bad and of that, some is probably good and a few are very good. It's in those last catagories that the recognition of good poetry and great poetry gets tricky and there is a lot of discussion about it. Of course, one may be of the opinion that there is no such thing as bad poetry, I am not one of those. And I would say that all of the computer generated poetry I've seen, while I might be able to believe that some of it is poetry, I have yet to see any that was anything other than bad poetry.

dither
December 2nd, 2018, 02:28 PM
Yes. But it can't write a Bukowski.

I don't know why but I looked.
And then I clicked on the "like" tab to a comment from an "X"member.
Potentially, a computer sees all and knows all.
Surely the foundations for what could, in the final analysis, be the ultimate ( final, I wonder ) poem.

Well there you go sci-fi writers.

The final epitaph might well be composed and written by a computer.
The very last.... goodbye.

dither
December 2nd, 2018, 02:55 PM
Bullshit is poetry, presented in a logical manner, all bullshit makes great poetry...if you can avoid the stench.

That's a bit harsh imo.
I prefer to think of poetry as an expression of [ sometimes, deeply intense ] feelings emotions hopes dreams and desires. Happy sad whatever.

JustRob
December 3rd, 2018, 12:21 PM
Someone recently emailed me about my website on my reproduction vintage computer project, so I looked at his website and discovered that he was interested in linguistics in the context of computers understanding them. I wrote back to him suggesting that he join WF and take a look at this thread.

Harvey, where are you? I'm waiting.

Teijal
November 18th, 2019, 09:31 PM
If poetry is bullshit,everything is bullshit. Do you want to live in a world of crap ?

Irwin
November 18th, 2019, 10:27 PM
If you use a line in your own poem from one that's computer generated, is that a copyright violation?

Just wondering. I was playing around with a lyrics generator and some of what it created could be used as kind of a rough draft to be used for a song.

TL Murphy
November 19th, 2019, 12:30 AM
If you use a line in your own poem from one that's computer generated, is that a copyright violation?

Just wondering. I was playing around with a lyrics generator and some of what it created could be used as kind of a rough draft to be used for a song.

Why would you want to? Poets should write their own poems. But there is nothing wrong with using it as a prompt. But keep this in mind, a thousand AI poem generators working night and day would eventually write every poem that can be written. So, if you happen to write the same thing as one line, it isn't plagiarism. Not only that, computers aren't people. Laws apply to people and sometimes animals. Computers don't have rights or property. That's a good thing to remember if you ever find yourself in court facing a law suit filed by a machine.

Mish
November 19th, 2019, 12:47 AM
GLaDOS wrote some pretty decent poetry :)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxTNqYAWISs

Jp
May 20th, 2020, 01:48 PM
Interesting. I wish that they would have done this with purely metrical poetry and form being added. One day there will an A.I. with human like intellect and if that entity is not given or taught the same tools as we for understanding ourselves I worry. Before such an intelligence is let loose onto the internet I hope that it learns to sing, perhaps develops something close to tears, and is give an ability to forget, because those are essential to intelligent life. It is a scary being that does not forget, how could it not judge us?

TL Murphy
May 21st, 2020, 04:00 AM
Those are all good questions JP and they scare the shit out of me.

SaveAGinger
August 7th, 2020, 01:51 AM
This is... fascinating. Our progress with AI is scary at times.

Gumby
August 10th, 2020, 05:32 PM
I've seen some poems that "almost" hang together, written by computers. It is amazing to think how far they've come with this. But for most of them, you really have to be able to make some leaps to get the whole poem to work. Usually it is only a few lines that hold up before it goes off the tracks.

epimetheus
August 10th, 2020, 06:53 PM
OpenAI have just developed GPT3, a 175 billion parameter language model. I heard that in a blind test only 52% of humans were able to distinguish human vs GPT3 written poetry. I find the weirdest aspect to be that it has also somehow learned simple arithmetic. You can check out some of it's creative work here (https://www.gwern.net/GPT-3#the-owl-and-the-pussycat-leer).

TL Murphy
August 10th, 2020, 07:16 PM
OpenAI have just developed GPT3, a 175 billion parameter language model. I heard that in a blind test only 52% of humans were able to distinguish human vs GPT3 written poetry. I find the weirdest aspect to be that it has also somehow learned simple arithmetic. You can check out some of it's creative work here (https://www.gwern.net/GPT-3#the-owl-and-the-pussycat-leer).

52% of humans is not a convincing number when you consider that 50% of humans are below average intelligence and 90% believe that if it rhymes it must be a poem.

epimetheus
August 10th, 2020, 07:22 PM
52% of humans is not a convincing number when you consider that 50% of humans are below average intelligence and 90% believe that if it rhymes it must be a poem.

I only heard this through the grapevine so i'm not sure exactly how they designed the tests - and the model is going commercial so it might be a while before we really know - but at least some of the humans were poets.

Do you think you have to be above average intelligence to appreciate poetry?

TL Murphy
August 10th, 2020, 07:26 PM
I only heard this through the grapevine so i'm not sure exactly how they designed the tests - and the model is going commercial so it might be a while before we really know - but at least some of the humans were poets.

Do you think you have to be above average intelligence to appreciate poetry?

To appreciate poetry? No, not at all. But you might have to be above average intelligence to tell the difference between a poem written by a human and a poem written by a cleverly programmed machine.

Pulse
August 10th, 2020, 07:29 PM
https://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poem/computers-first-christmas-card/
1968

epimetheus
August 10th, 2020, 07:37 PM
To appreciate poetry? No, not at all. But you might have to be above average intelligence to tell the difference between a poem written by a human and a poem written by a cleverly programmed machine.

Do you think it's a function of intelligence? For instance would PhD. mathematicians trying to intuit the author of a poem necessarily have more insight?

What do you think would be a fair test of such an AI? Having a panel of poets trying to tell the difference between human and AI writers?

Pulse
August 10th, 2020, 10:16 PM
I reckon if there is artificial intelligence, we should not overlook artificial stupidity, which may not be worth aspiring to.

TL Murphy
August 11th, 2020, 08:20 PM
Good point Katrina. Never underestimate the power of stupidity.

TL Murphy
August 11th, 2020, 08:33 PM
Do you think it's a function of intelligence? For instance would PhD. mathematicians trying to intuit the author of a poem necessarily have more insight?

What do you think would be a fair test of such an AI? Having a panel of poets trying to tell the difference between human and AI writers?

E, that's called a "False Authority" argument:

an argument that states that we should listen to the opinion of an authority figure outside the field of the topic being discussed, who is framed as a credible authority on the topic being discussed.

I would not expect a mathematics professor to be a judge of good poetry any more that I would expect a poetry professor to offer expertise on mathematics. But it clearly takes intelligence to be an authority on either. I would say that to tell the difference between good poetry written by humans and poetry written by a deep algorithm, you would probably have to have a solid foundation in what poetry actually is. That takes more than average intelligence because the idea of poetry is not easy to grasp. I mean bad poetry can be written by a monkey at a keyboard, but good poetry like anything else takes proficiency, practice and innate intelligence.

epimetheus
August 11th, 2020, 08:57 PM
E, that's called a "False Authority" argument:

an argument that states that we should listen to the opinion of an authority figure outside the field of the topic being discussed, who is framed as a credible authority on the topic being discussed.

I would not expect a mathematics professor to be a judge of good poetry any more that I would expect a poetry professor to offer expertise on mathematics. But it clearly takes intelligence to be an authority on either. I would say that to tell the difference between good poetry written by humans and poetry written by a deep algorithm, you would probably have to have a solid foundation in what poetry actually is. That takes more than average intelligence because the idea of poetry is not easy to grasp. I mean bad poetry can be written by a monkey at a keyboard, but good poetry like anything else takes proficiency, practice and innate intelligence.


That's all well and good, but i still wonder how you think the verisimilitude of AI poetry should be judged. It's not a rhetorical question, some AI networks have pretty much reached the point that lay people can't distinguish it from human written poetry. Would you advocate a panel of experts put together based on some criterion?

TL Murphy
August 11th, 2020, 10:17 PM
I think that AI poetry should be judged by the same criteria that any other poetry is judged on. It's merit as poetry. Of course there is a vast array of criteria that varies depending on who is judging and I doubt you would ever get universal agreement. But there are a number of reputable poetry journals that would no doubt serve the purpose. There are various established institutions like like the Pulitzer, The Giller, Nobel etc. , who all bring notable authority to the field and various presses, New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, Arc. These are all recognized authorities and I'm sure their are others, who collectively recognize the best poetry. So.try getting a poem written by a computer into the New Yorker or Poetry Magazine, or win the Pulitzer. That would be convincing.

Pulse
August 11th, 2020, 10:23 PM
. . . authorities at the mercy of programmers . . . get back in the box.:confusion:

TL Murphy
August 11th, 2020, 10:33 PM
Let me put it another way. I'm a pretty good carpenter. I've been building quality homes for 35 years. I know that I can build a crappy house and put a lot of lipstick on it like fancy floors or a shiny kitchen and fool any layman. But that's why we have building codes and engineers and inspectors and industry standards and testing labs, so that the average person doesn't get swindled by what looks on the surface to be a good house. The layman doesn't have a clue what it takes to build a good house even though they can recognize a pretty door or enjoy a hot bath. That's just the tip of the iceberg. The real quality is often invisible to the untrained eye.

epimetheus
August 11th, 2020, 11:05 PM
That would be convincing.

Presumably the entry would need to be blinded to avoid biases? I think that would be a fair test.

Pulse
August 11th, 2020, 11:12 PM
I'll let computers make that judgement. They're sure to know.

TL Murphy
August 11th, 2020, 11:20 PM
Yes, a blind test. I can see that the new Yorker might publish a poem by a computer as a novelty if it new the piece was computer generated, but the only viable test is to appeal to the best in they world and see if they can tell the difference.

Back to the house analogy. I can see that someday my job may be replaced by a robot and entire houses might be built by robots. But there will always be a human element involved because people can't live in an environment that doesn't have some recognizable human touch without losing their humanity. If it came to that, we would all be the Borg, living in grey cubes with video screens instead of windows.

Pulse
August 11th, 2020, 11:41 PM
Only computers can afford a mortgage, Tim.

TL Murphy
August 12th, 2020, 01:13 AM
Only computers can afford a mortgage, Tim.

You obviously haven't read Christopher Alexander - "A Timeless Way of Building" and "Pattern Language". There are healthy alternatives to what seem to be entrenched, oppressive standards. The world would be a different place if we built the way this guy advocates.

Pulse
August 12th, 2020, 01:15 AM
or you could switch your client base to house the robots

my house was built in 1826

epimetheus
August 12th, 2020, 12:53 PM
Back to the house analogy. I can see that someday my job may be replaced by a robot and entire houses might be built by robots. But there will always be a human element involved because people can't live in an environment that doesn't have some recognizable human touch without losing their humanity. If it came to that, we would all be the Borg, living in grey cubes with video screens instead of windows.

But that's begging the question isn't it? The test, in this case, would be whether an AI can design and build a house that even the most discerning human cannot distinguish from those of humans. As far as i'm aware such an AI does not yet exist.

We simply don't know what the limits of AI are until we test them. Maybe i'm confusing the issue because i'm more concerned with what AI might achieve as opposed to what is has achieved - although with GPT3 we might see some results in the domain of poetry fairly soon. Maybe there will always be some intractable elements AI will never be able model, maybe it will be trivial for a sufficiently designed network to produce works that satisfy human experts. Can we know before we even try?

TL Murphy
August 12th, 2020, 02:34 PM
I guess the point I’ve been trying to make through this whole discussion is that even if a computer could write something that fooled an expert into believing it was poetry, it would still be an imitation of poetry because it wasn’t written by a human. Back a few pages there was some discussion about whether a computer could be sentient, and I suppose one could. But I still don’t think anything it wrote could be more than an imitation of poetry since I believe that poetry is something innately human. At best it would take a machine which could imagine, and then it would imagine how a human would write a good poem. Of course it would use algorithms to do this. So what, exactly, is imagination?

epimetheus
August 12th, 2020, 04:39 PM
I guess the point I’ve been trying to make through this whole discussion is that even if a computer could write something that fooled an expert into believing it was poetry, it would still be an imitation of poetry because it wasn’t written by a human. Back a few pages there was some discussion about whether a computer could be sentient, and I suppose one could. But I still don’t think anything it wrote could be more than an imitation of poetry since I believe that poetry is something innately human. At best it would take a machine which could imagine, and then it would imagine how a human would write a good poem. Of course it would use algorithms to do this. So what, exactly, is imagination?

The good questions are always tough. We're unlikely to solve the mystery of consciousness that has eluded humanity for millenia so i'll try to keep my answer narrow.

We know that humans have internal representations of the external world. They're not perfect, for instance numerous experiments show that we don't see colours objectively, but they can be changed in the brain to be different colours. We also know that what we perceive is heavily influenced by pre-existing representations. It's why liberals and conservatives can see the same information about the world and form completely different representations of it - they can literally see things differently.

I would say imagination is using this internal representations to make sense and explore the external world and our relationship to it.

If we define poetry, or any art, as an expression of some internal representation, then we could say that anything without an internal representation could not produce art.

So, does AI have internal representations? I think some probably already do, albeit somewhere on the scale of a jellyfish (some networked AIs display behaviours about as complex as very simple insects). A self driving car is constantly building up a model of the world around it and acting upon it. I would say its acting on an internal representation. However, it is not yet imagining potential scenarios as it drives. However, some visual AIs can display the workings of their deeper layers with psychedelic effects (few below). If an AI were enabled to explore this space in order to update its internal representations, maybe that would qualify as imagination? It'll be interesting to see if these 'dreams' become more human, or at least in some sense 'human level' even if qualitatively different.

I agree that humans and AI will likely have quite different representations. I suspect even the tiniest difference in neuro-architecture will manifest as very different representations (we see that even in humans). Some AI researchers are specifically focused on emulating the human mind (more to understand humans than AI, but the interest is mutual), so they'll be the ones to watch in terms of 'true' human poetry. Myself, i'd rather see what an AI is imagining rather than have it guess at what we're imagining.




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TL Murphy
August 12th, 2020, 06:14 PM
Epimeteus, there are several threads in your last post. The first is a definition of poetry. There was another thread on WF a few years ago (or maybe I’m going back to Linkedin) that explored the question “What is poetry.” In months of discussion and hundreds of posts, no one was able to satisfactorily define poetry. Your definition that poetry is an expression of internal representation is certainly part of a larger definition, but it is very limited. In fact, any definition of poetry limits it, which seems to be the problem in defining it. There is a kind of boundlessness about poetry that makes it impossible to write rules about or create formulas for.

The other thread is, what is internal representation? Is there a sense of self? Is sense of self independent of everything else in the universe? And within that sense of self, is there the sense that this individual self is both independent of everything and at the same time connected and dependent on everything else (we might call this the soul)? That’s a paradox which poetry is well suited to address, perhaps better than any other form of expression. It takes two conflicting ideas and holds both to be true. Can a computer do that?

epimetheus
August 12th, 2020, 07:01 PM
Epimeteus, there several threads in your last post. The first is a definition of poetry. There was another thread on WF a few years ago (or maybe I’m going back to Linkedin) that explored the question “What is poetry.” In moths of discussion and hundreds of posts, no one was able to satisfactorily define poetry. Your definition that poetry is an expression of internal representation is certainly part of a larger definition, but it is very limited. In fact, any definition of poetry limits it, which seems to be the problem in defining it. There is a kind of boundlessness about poetry that makes it impossible to write rules about or create formulas for.

That's why i said i'd try to keep my answer narrow, these topics are by nature broad and defy definitions.

There's a feature of neural networks that normally gets glossed over: they don't just apply programmed rules to get an answer. Which is not to say there isn't a computational component, but there is also a computational component to how our brains work. Instead they learn by example. GPT3, for instance, was shown one trillion words of text from various sources. AI researchers gave up with the near infinite branching of if/then statements in the 90s. Now the focus is to let the network build whatever representation it thinks is pertinent by giving it examples and telling it if it did a good job or not. No one needs to write a rule or discover a formula for it. And no need to define poetry - we just have to be able to point to it and 'that's good poetry'.


The other thread is, what is internal representation? Is there a sense of self Is sense of self independent of everything else in the universe? And within that sene of self, is there the sense that this individual self is both independent of everything and at the same time connected and dependent on everything else (we might call this the soul)? That’s a paradox which poetry is well united to address, perhaps better than any other form of expression.

Any agent that is going to act in the world will benefit from being able to model itself in the world. Even automated cars need a concept that they are a thing that exists in a world (because no one is able to programme every eventuality it will ever meet on a road). Of course, that's not the same as a sense of self, but i don't see that we can rule out that it manifests with more advanced network architecture in the coming decades/centuries.


It takes two conflicting ideas and holds both to be true. Can a computer do that?

Not now. In the future? I don't see any reason to rule it out yet.

Pulse
August 12th, 2020, 07:14 PM
I doubt the best poems are written by point-scorers, which is what judges are looking for.

epimetheus
August 12th, 2020, 07:23 PM
I doubt the best poems are written by point-scorers, which is what judges are looking for.

Good point. It's why i was asking you guys about what you think is a good way to judge poetry. Getting published in top poetry journal seems good, no?. How do you guys judge the poetry challenges?

Pulse
August 12th, 2020, 07:57 PM
As far as I can see, art's judgement is subjective.

TL Murphy
August 12th, 2020, 08:02 PM
It's purely subjective, based on experiential learning but also on what we like. But we certainly look for what is innovative, original, imaginative, figurative, metaphorical, musical, intuitive, ironic, paradoxical, with flow and word-play and emotionally evocative, pushing the boundaries of rationality and form, among other things.

ozofeteam
August 22nd, 2020, 05:37 AM
You can also write poetry using calculators, by telephone, and on paper. You can stitch poetry into pictures in many ways these days.

Lee Messer
August 22nd, 2020, 03:43 PM
I would posit this (I love that word... 'posit'), The brain is composed of synapses that have a number of dentrites that branch out. It is a finite number. Easily sequenced through computer programming by simulation. Can current computers compose (creatively generate poems)?

Yes, and no.

The ability to produce a logical thought process is non-specific. Think about that for a second.

The computer uses programming to complete processes. Are the processes themselves true? Easy... yes they are. If they weren't it would not be repeatable.
Thoughts and logic processes are synonymous.
What makes you think your brain is any different? Because you have extra in/out devices? (examples of in/out devices: eyes, ears, nose, tongue, turd-maker, baby-replicator)

The computer is manifesting primitive thought, or complex thought only limited by it's programming, and it is obviously not just echoeing as phrase.
A computer manifests fragmented thoughts compared to us. It's all relative.

TL Murphy
August 22nd, 2020, 04:12 PM
But are they thoughts or are they equations?

Poetry is not an exercise in equations. it’s a process of imaginary expansion. One thought leads to infinite possibilities.

epimetheus
August 22nd, 2020, 04:17 PM
Thoughts and logic processes are synonymous.


While popular amongst neuroscientists, and the most likely, the idea that the mind is entirely computational is still debated. There are theories such as the Penrose-Hameroff theory that model parts of the brain as a superposition, and hence non-computational.



What makes you think your brain is any different? Because you have extra in/out devices? (examples of in/out devices: eyes, ears, nose, tongue, turd-maker, baby-replicator)


Current AI architectures are not nearly as complex as the brain. In terms of raw weights the biggest networks are close to the number of neuronal connections - but raw numbers don't mean much. Counter-intuitively too many connections is probably the problem, hence the recent uptake of sparse models. We see this in babies - far denser networks than adults but can't even control their bowels, only when those connections are pruned do they manifest more sophisticated behaviours.


But are they thoughts or are they equations?


The question should be what is the human brain doing. There is growing evidence to suggest that it is 'running equations'; it is the prevalent view of neuroscientists. If so, then Lee has a point about the substrate being irrelevant.

Lee Messer
August 22nd, 2020, 05:43 PM
While popular amongst neuroscientists, and the most likely, the idea that the mind is entirely computational is still debated. There are theories such as the Penrose-Hameroff theory that model parts of the brain as a superposition, and hence non-computational.



Current AI architectures are not nearly as complex as the brain. In terms of raw weights the biggest networks are close to the number of neuronal connections - but raw numbers don't mean much. Counter-intuitively too many connections is probably the problem, hence the recent uptake of sparse models. We see this in babies - far denser networks than adults but can't even control their bowels, only when those connections are pruned do they manifest more sophisticated behaviours.



The question should be what is the human brain doing. There is growing evidence to suggest that it is 'running equations'; it is the prevalent view of neuroscientists. If so, then Lee has a point about the substrate being irrelevant.


Precisely, a bigger question that should blow your mind. Why is thought so prevalent in this reality? There are other realities, but this one seems to be tied closer to this manifestation. It's not uncommon. Hang out with a dog or a cat. Interact with them. I've even seen snakes and insects able to learn to not be aggressive depending the interaction. It's not all instinct. There's something there. Computers are programmed by such fleshly beings. Why would they be any different?

I mean if a computer was originally programmed by itself and abstract, it would be such. It's all in the logic, and logic is discovered, not created.

TL Murphy
August 22nd, 2020, 06:39 PM
logic is discovered, not created.

If a tree fell in the forest and no one heard it, would there still be logic? Ask a computer that question. It would probably say that the first part has nothing to do with the second part. But, of course, by association, it's the same question, but the mind leaps over the inconvenient part that logically makes the two parts appear to be different issues.

Lee Messer
August 22nd, 2020, 06:44 PM
Yes.

If there are two things, would you say that there are two things, and not just one thing, or even three or more things?

Is this statement true? If so, I'd say logic exists.

True things exist. Untrue is the definition of things that don't.

TL Murphy
August 22nd, 2020, 06:49 PM
The answer doesn't matter. It's the question that's important.

Lee Messer
August 22nd, 2020, 08:06 PM
Then we should program the computer to ask questions...

alpacinoutd
November 17th, 2020, 01:44 PM
I better hope a computer cannot write poems. It would be rather boring. Computers are devoid of emotion.