news/updates – mid-April
I kept meaning to point this out: discourse.cpp (pdf), a bunch of generated poems put together by a computational linguistics postdoc; here’s a bit of background. Looks like she’s using automatic parsing to build a shallow semantics and using selections from that, manually arranged in free- or concrete-verse form. Anyway, props for the appendices with info on generation methods and for releasing it free under a Creative Commons license! A little less admirable is the foreword, which personifies programs as authors (she’s just an “editor”, see?) and describes an “experiment” submitting articles to a poetry journal. Anyway, I came across this in a book review by Lori Emerson which was published in the journal Computational Linguistics, of all places…
ITEM: As I mentioned in comments, our pal Funkhouser recently wrote a seminar article in which he talked a bit about Gnoetry, Gnoetry Daily, and ePoGeeS. Check out pages 112-115 of the pdf which collects the conference essays. Sample quote:
As a discursive community, Gnoetry readers and practitioners function not unlike any group of social scientists poised to examine, within whatever confines their respective disciplines warrant, the possibilities of lexical objects.
ITEM: I was watching the 1954 BBC version of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and was greeted by the following notion of what a text-generator might look like:
As I remember, Orwell talks about automated generation in the book but doesn’t describe it in depth; the 1954 BBC production (but not the 1984 theater release) actually shows a novel-writing machine in action! “This machine can turn out 20 pornographic novels a day!” (to keep the proles in line, natch…) “All phrases and thought sequences were built in during assembly, so that it has its own distinctive style.” They also show the operator “adjusting the situation kaleidoscope, which varies the six basic plots”:
(A couple of minutes later, Julia’s hand gets caught in the machine while “adjusting the kaleidoscope for chapter 2” and on the way to the infirmary she passes Winston…) Anyway, you can see this around 46:11 on youtube: