Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Can a Computer "Write" a Novel?

Apparently ...

As if that's not enough to wrap your mind around, the title of the novel is "True Love," which would seem to imply that the computer would be familiar enough with the subject matter to carry on about affairs of the heart at some length:

The book, published by the city’s Astrel SPb publishing company, is the work of a computer program, created by a team of IT specialists and language experts.

The 320-page novel, called “True Love,” is a variation on Leo Tolstoy’s 1877 classic “Anna Karenina” but written in the style of Japanese author Haruki Murakami.

It is based on 17 famous literary works that were uploaded onto the program. Within 72 hours, the computer generated its novel about true love.

Personally, this development creates a string of rather profound questions that something like a chess-playing computer doesn't inspire: Is the book any good? Is it literary? Did the computer actually "write" this book or merely synthesize the other books into one format? Will the book have an emotional impact on the reader? Did the computer learn anything during the process of "writing" the book? And so forth ...

I hope there's much more to this story to come.

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