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Computer or poet? Humans win this round of poetry contest

Researchers at Dartmouth College designed an artificial intelligence algorithms that could produce sonnets. How good were they?

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The Bot or Not website bills itself as a Turing test for poetry. You, the judge, have to guess whether the poem you’re reading is written by a human or by a computer.

Botpoet.com

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Computers are pretty good at stocking shelves and operating cars, but are not so good at writing poetry.

Scientists in a Dartmouth College competition reached that conclusion after designing artificial intelligence algorithms that could produce sonnets.

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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 competition was a variation of the "Turing Test," named for British computer scientist Alan Turing, who in 1950 proposed an experiment to determine if a computer could have humanlike intelligence.

The results, announced Wednesday night, also included a short story competition and one involving competing computer and human DJs.

This wasn't the first time poetry has been used as a test of the progress of artificial intelligence. The website Bot or Not has been offering up its algorithm to challenge readers to discern the difference. 

As CNet reported in 2014 that "the line between human and AI poets is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish, as demonstrated by the site's leaderboards, which display the most human-like human poets and the most computer-like computer poets, as well as the most human-like computer poets and vice versa."

Indeed, more people thought this poem "Vowels" by Canadian poet Christian Bök on the Bot or Not website was written by a computer than a human.

we seelove solve losselse we seelove sow woe
selves we woowe loselosses we leveewe owe
we sellloose vowsso we loveless well
so lowso levelwolves evolve


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