We already have robots stealing the jobs of hard-working reporters, and now those crafty algorithms could soon be edging us fleshy types out of fiction.
A team of researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are working on an artificial intelligence program named “Scheherazade-IF,” which is being trained to write its very own Choose Your Own Adventure stories. Initial tests have been promising, and as Gizmodo notes, human readers found stories created by the robot to be coherent and actually engaging. So, yeah, not only can this thing write — it’s actually pretty decent, too.
The programming scheme is very crafty, and Scheherazade-IF’s specialties are stories about date nights at the movies and bank robberies. Why those, specifically? Because the designers of the AI are “teaching” it by having it read hundreds of stories on those two topics. The AI obviously doesn’t understand exactly what’s happening, but it is able to recognize the major story beats. From there, it can figure out things that happen in these two scenarios, and frame a story (with options!) around them.
The team detailed the project in a paper presented at the Foundations of Digital Games Conference, and had a test audience rank the AI-generated stories alongside other stories (some by humans) to figure out which ones they liked and found to be coherent. The AI was graded well, and easily beat stories created by random story generators.
Welcome to the future — where your favorite book might eventually be written by Skynet.