November 22, 2004

Computer authors

by Michael Mateas · , 3:58 pm

The New York Times today has an article on story generation: Computers as Authors? Literary Luddites Unite! The article mentions several well known systems, including Selmer Bringsjord’s Brutus and Callaway’s and Lester’s Storybook. The most amusing single line: “Still, what has been accomplished so far is scary enough, and surely there is more to come, thanks to rapid advances in computing power and the rise of “narratology” (how stories are told) as an academic field of study, among other unwholesome trends that are making the novelist’s life ever more perilous.” I particularly like the scare quotes around “narratology”, especially given the infamous debate that never happened.

3 Responses to “Computer authors”


  1. nick Says:

    Foiled again. I’ve had that NYT article open all day, along with a Grand Text Auto “Create New Post” window.

    It’s an amusing essay, and again makes me wish that the articles in The New York Times were placed on the Web (not behind a registration wall) and left accessible for readers.

  2. Aaron Says:

    Shoddy reporting — he didn’t talk to any experts or practitioners in this area, only a (famous) psychologist.

  3. nick Says:

    Pinker doesn’t really strike me as an authority on the subject of computer-generated literature, but I wasn’t under the impression that this article was a piece of reporting. It says “an essay” up at the top, Akst is a novelist, and it appears in the “Books” section. I’m glad he took a look at the topic and wrote something about it, even if it’s not as deep a look as Selmer Bringsjord and David Ferrucci have been taking.

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