Experiments in AI-generated Writing

Over the past few years there has been a lot of attention devoted to the idea that AI — artificial intelligence —  will eventually be writing fiction. There’s tons of example in the Twitter and YouTube communities, mostly due to the efforts of comedy writer Keaton Patti, who uses predictive text to compose random, hilarious bits of writing based on infomercials, Hallmark movies, and the like. They’re entertaining, but often attributed to a bot forced to watched movies or TV commercials.  Nothing could be further than the truth. Predictive text as exists on a cell phone and a neural network trained to read, and generate, text are two different things. Neural network text tends to meander off topic, according to Janelle Shane, and shows a lack of meaning and context. In other words, it doesn’t quite all fit together. At the present point, anything it generates still needs human tweaking to become readable, and amusing, and not a random word salad.

Before InferKit went to pay-only ($20 a month to use the engine, which I can’t afford) I generated a ton of random nonsense. Every once in a while the neural network came through out something unexpected. Like this bit of a top-secret memo.

To: RvB-Scot

Just remember the following; His Majesty’s Air Force bombed CERBERUS to bring her up to Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). And being a Black Uncle Tom, it worked brilliantly.

… or this piece of literary fiction (tweaked by me.)

All over, the redwood forests are burning. Woods are stripped and harvests burned; I saw the sun fall like a dragon’s breath. The sound of the fire makes me paralyzed and the whup whup whup of burning wood, some flames with faces like babies.

I was able to string a group of thematically connected phrases into song lyrics that could have been written by the Canadian rock group Rush.


Hopelessly lost on the moon,
Few like ourselves left,
Full connection, stretch right.
Natural force rewarding power.
The laws of magic are with us.
The stars ride with us.

Mostly, though, the random pieces — paragraphs and sentences standing out in a list — were parts of reviews for movies, albums, books, or DVDs.

On the Slopes also features songs such as “A Lighter Shade of Blue,” “Sweet Simple Kettle,” “Moon to Go Blue” and “Let Me Take Your Picture.” During this trilogy of 5 discs, the Twilight movies will only appear on one side of the disc. However, each (side) of the 1 disc is an animated horror movie.


In a scene worthy of a filmmaker’s wildest imagination, the cousins marvel as the hypnotic beings merge into a grinning formation: Three dwarfs, a gothic crossdresser, a recently deceased mermaid and a magician.


Scenes from the author’s experiences of living with and, increasingly, alongside the disabled.

The review below was as long as it got.

Teach Me to Read It  comes from Scottish author Ewan Morrison (my usual fave.) It’s a historical tale of swordfighter Ewan Marnin, who goes on a treasure hunt around the world. This limited edition features scenes from all the books, though here I only saw the action from Journey to the Sunset in particular (maybe it was because it was the one I read first?)

Predictive text generates more coherent pieces. Using the Harry Potter keyboard from the robotnik.com site, I generated this short Harry Potter chapter, which sort of makes sense if you squint at it sideways.

Harry is not quiet with his magic

Harry looked sideways. Hermione said, “Ron ‘s hair seems down in the middle. ”

Harry said, “Ron is just finished.” Simpering like a child, he added, “You know the worst thing he had picked was bangs.”

Then Ron angrily shook his hands. “You think poorly of magical theory.”

Harry stared. Snape silkily said, “So, Harry, again you shouldn’t believe in every detail. ”

Ron had never been touched by Professor Snape. He turned quickly and there were the dementors!

Harry quickly reached for his wand and tapping it lightly, he cast a dark twinkling.

Ron attacked and pulled out fistfuls of cards from his pocket. Snape looked positively petrified.

The dementors were closing in. Once Harry had seen the flash, he felt empty. Harry said to the ceiling, “Come out of earshot.” His scar seared and he flung his robes, loosely. A large chunk of parchment soared into the air and the three dementors curled up and then turned into solid wood.

Ron said, “Harry, you should do something very quietly once again.”

Harry stepped up. He looked delighted. His wand pointing straight at Ron, he said, “You need a short pause.”

Meanwhile Professor Snape was trying to restrain himself without enthusiasm. He asked, “What did you do?”

Harry said, “Nothing whatsoever.”

Snape took Harry by his feet and walked him to the kitchen. At the table a little pink feather quill had appeared. Harry felt overwhelmed and his head was pounding grimly. Did Snape look at him? Snape whispered, “You had never managed to find the right words of magic.”

Harry said, “Professor Mcgonagall suddenly understood I was trying desperately to be able to make tea, so she opened her fingers to indicate the kitchen.”

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