What Happens When A Language Bot Is Asked To Write Stories Based On Famous First Lines From Literature
Earlier this week, writer Reid McCarter of A.V. Club showed readers what happens when you plug erotic fiction into a language bot built to continue stories. To have some fun, I forced the same language bot to write new stories (non-erotic) for six famous first lines from literature. Keep reading to find out what A.I. programs think your favorite novels are all about.
Based on language models created by OpenAI, Adam King's Talk to Transformer is a fun program that generates new text for a given writing sample, a few words at a time. According to an Aug. 20 tweet from King, Talk to Transformer is currently running OpenAI's "bigger, smarter version of GPT-2" — a program that predicts texts, word by word, based on knowledge gained from its exposure to some 8,000,000 websites.
You can use Talk to Transformer as a boredom-killer, or as a means of jumpstarting your own writing. The program needs nothing more than a sentence to begin generating text for you, so you can easily create your own writing prompts in just a few keystrokes.
Here are some examples of what it can do when given the first lines of famous first novels:
'Pride and Prejudice' by Jane Austen
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. The woman who receives the gift of fortune, is much preferable to the one who receives it after the fact; but what is the difference between riches and infatuation? In the one case the pleasure is no more than the enjoyment of the present; in the other, it is a desire for the return of the future. An ordinary wife, on the contrary, does not exist in the imagination of a man who receives any extraordinary boon; but his desire and passion are really like what is imagined. But what is that? Not the future, but some particular moment in the past — that is, a passion or idea of his past husband, and an idea of his future wife. The present only exists for the imagination of the lover; and, as it has no existence in reality, it is nothing. There may be a lover who loves the present moment of this former spouse, but the lover never sees her, never gets possession of her, and he never gets back from it any thing but his own mind and spirit.
'The Joy Luck Club' by Amy Tan
When I was a young girl in China, my grandmother told me my mother was a ghost. I'd seen the empty face of my mother's ghost but the empty face of hers had been a dead person. My grandmother told me that her mother had died a month and a half after she said her goodbyes to me. In the past, she said, my mother had never left her bedroom without her mother by her side. If my mother was dead, I was her ghost. I didn't know what to call myself. I was in my father's attic, looking for some lost book from my late, wonderful, father's time in New York, and I came across this old white-painted sign. It was my father's name, with the "s" missing. When I picked it up, the handwriting was illegible. But the sign's words caught my attention. I was about to move to New York with my mother's ashes when I learned they needed my help. The cemetery, a few doors down, had the name of my grandmother, my father, and my great-grandmother buried there. We'd left New York without them.
'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' by J.K. Rowling
Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. There was really no reason to be so delighted. They just made up their minds what to want for supper.
"Mrs. Dursley, I shall have my usual chocolate cake, and a roast duck stuffed on to-morrow with stuffing and sausages on top."
"Do you know where to find a roast duck?" demanded Charlie.
"I do not believe that I have any, my old auntie," said Mrs. Dursley, looking at him curiously. "I don't even know what a duck is. Why, I hardly know where a roast duck gets its meat. You see, I once thought that I might eat a roast duck to-morrow because I wanted to use up the leftovers."
"That's a very silly suggestion, old auntie," said Charlie. "I'll give your suggestion a fair play."
'Like Water for Chocolate' by Laura Esquivel
Take care to chop the onion fine. To keep from crying when you chop it (which is so annoying!), I suggest you place a little bit on your head.
Then, cut the tomatoes into a circle shape, and then a square shape, in the shape of a 'E', and then a 'A'. You should get a total of 7 tomatoes.
The process can be repeated with the rest of the onions, making it very versatile.
Now, place the potatoes, and then the peas.
You have 3 types of potatoes — sweet potatoes, lima potatoes and black sweet potatoes. We will be using lima potatoes.
Place the sweet potatoes in a ziploc bag, with water, and then toss them in to cover.Now we have our ingredients in a large bowl.
Add the onions, potatoes and the rest of the ingredients. Then, pour in enough boiling water so that it is all over the bowl.
'A Tale of Two Cities' by Charles Dickens
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. The whole universe was in the making: there was darkness, there was light, there was chaos, there was order and harmony, there was cruelty and sweet compassion.
The world of yesterday was the world of today and tomorrow is the world of today and tomorrow. Everything is changing. All life is subject to its environment or is subject to the environment that it creates and that it destroys. All existence goes through a cyclic process leading from nothing to something and back again. The world of yesterday can exist in isolation from the world of today and that life is forever. The world of tomorrow can also exist in isolation from the world of today through the cyclic process of life and death.
'Girl at War' by Sara Nović
The war in Zagreb began over a pack of cigarettes. As this was all occurring, there was a major power struggle as Yugoslavia finally broke apart. Croatia was led by the Communist Party which was seen as being more communist than the Socialist Party. The socialist party, which held about a 30% vote, came from the country's rural regions and was largely rural and Catholic, while the Communist Party was comprised of working-class and upper-class Catholics from towns. This split led to war, but it ultimately led to a victory for the socialist party.
Now, as for my current project, I am writing an English translation of a novel from a different era. One of my most recent novels is a historical retelling of the life of the author, the writer of The Canterbury Tales. The life of this novelist is a very important one, both as to the life of Christ and as it relates to the human condition.