An AI might be writing poetry better than you can. That is, if you're impressed by lines like "Intrusion of the night and sea. Prince Biodiversity burst forth upon the altar of stones"? What about "Imperfection was on earth and every word. Symbiosis breathed along the sea"?
Launched today, POEMPORTRAITS is a collaboration with Google Arts & Culture Lab that uses machine learning to generate original lines of poetry based on words you input - a.k.a. "donate" - before projecting them on a provided self-portrait. The lines themselves also contribute to the project's constantly developing collective poem.
Artist and designer Es Devlin designed the project, while Google's resident creative technologist, Ross Goodwin, trained its algorithm how to wax poetic by reading a ton of 19th-century poets, more than 25 million words worth.
"It works a bit like predictive text," Devlin explains in a Google blog post. "It doesn't copy or rework existing phrases, but uses its training material to build a complex statistical model. As a result, the algorithm generates original phrases emulating the style of what it's been trained on."
Depending on how you look at it, the resulting poem may prompt a deep emotional reaction or make no sense whatsoever. "And it's the profoundly human way that we seek and find personal resonance in machine-generated text that's the essence of this project," Devlin continues.
As for her own contribution to this global, artificially intelligent art piece, Devlin donated the word "convergence." I chose the word hot dog.
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