As someone who loves the belief that poetry is a form of communication, I am inclined to see its authenticity threatened by the emergence of automated poem generators. I am aware that strong AI will be among us within a few decades from now, if we believe the predictions of researchers in the field, but from my vantage point that doesn’t depress me as much as it perhaps should. I am curious how machines will generate poetry that will be virtually indistinguishable from human verse and often indeed be judged more ‘authentic’, ‘heartfelt’ and – human.
I am not the only one. There are a lot of poetry generator tools on the Internet. I found this silly online poem generator today, that among other things allows you to create a sonnet based on some words you enter in an online form. I typed in ‘music’ along with some verbs and adjectives that came to my mind. This is the generated result after 3 attempts, which bears the obvious signs of the machine’s non-comprehension:
Ode to the Music
My bright music, you inspire me to write.
I love the way you echo, stop and sound,
Invading my mind day and through the night,
Always dreaming about the ultrasound.
Let me compare you to a cool buffoon?
You are more quiet and more fantastic.
Cute sun heats the peaceful peaches of June,
And summertime has the big monastic.
How do I love you? Let me count the ways.
I love your calm rhythm, timbre and notes.
Thinking of your bold timbre fills my days.
My love for you is the soft petticoats.
Now I must away with a splendid heart,
Remember my strange words whilst we’re apart.
When I did the same for free verse, I can still quickly discern the mark of the machine, but it becomes easier to imagine myself tricked:
How happy is the quiet sound!
Down, down, down into the darkness of the sound,
Gently it goes – the tranquil, the restful, the noisy.
How happy are lovely tunes!
Now lovable is just the thing,
To get me wondering if tunes are endearing.
How happy is the fat pop!
A pop is double-chinned. a pop is rich,
a pop is profitable, however.