Dartmouth Contest Shows Computers Aren't Such Good Poets [New York Times, AP]
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESSMAY 19, 2016, 1:58 P.M. E.D.T.
HANOVER, N.H. — Computers are pretty good at stocking shelves and operating cars, but are not so great at writing poetry.
Scientists in a Dartmouth College competition reached that conclusion after designing artificial intelligence algorithms that could produce sonnets. Judges compared the results with poems written by humans to see if they could tell the difference.
In every instance, the judges were able to find the sonnet produced by a computer program.
The yearlong competition was a variation of the "Turing Test," named for British computer scientist Alan Turing, who in 1950 proposed an experiment to determine if computers could have humanlike intelligence. Results were announced Wednesday night.
A three-judge panel that included Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louis Menand was asked to read 10 submissions — six produced by humans and four by two different algorithms. The machines were given nouns — including "wave," ''tourist" and "floor"— and programmed to produce a sonnet. The software packages didn't have the flow or narrative of a good poem.