1 min read

An AI Helped Write This Poem

"By your house on that Himalayan hill,
You let the neighbours run and mill
On good land. There's no doubt
We'll never have the farm you have.
We are too many at home by birth,
Dwelling instead by brook not earth—
But you can find the water if you,
As you were, follow the lines of fern."

I used Verse by Verse by Google, "an experiment in human-AI collaboration for writing poetry."
Here's how it works:
1. You choose your "muse" from poets that the AI has been "trained on".
2. You select the poem's structure.
3. You write the first line.
4. The "muse" "suggests" multiple options as the following line.
5. You choose one and repeat, ad infinitum (you can edit language on the fly).

But when are things as easy as they seem?
After my fifth attempt, I was left with twenty lines disguised as a poem (but which, to be fair, is most fifth drafts).
Cue significant edits and rewrites.

It was like trying to write poetry by committee, with imagination replaced by options.
It neither felt right nor fun.
Wake me up when the "A" in "AI" turns "Artistic" or "Amusing"!

"In the age of the algorithm, humans have never been more important."
—Hannah Fry