AP Computer Science, Period 6
22 October 2018
Summary: A new sculpture has been placed in London that mimics the four lions around Nelson's Column. This new lion is bright red and uses an AI to generate poetry from words given to it by the public. It has a tablet screen labeled "Please Feed the Lions" on the front that lets users "feed" it a word, so it can take that word and use it to generate a couple of lines of poetry and then roar them back into the crowd. At night, it projects the poetry onto its surface and onto the column. The lion uses an AI technique called a long short-term memory recurrent neural network, or LSTM network, to use machine learning to improve its poetic skills.
Opinion: This is honestly my favorite use of AI. Forget self driving cars or Alexa or anything else; I want artificial poets. Not only does this give humanity a new source of introspective thought and wisdom, but it also gives computers something they had long been lacking: a soul. With this new technology, we can finally give voice to those devices we have so long neglected. I await with anticipation the day when I will come home to see that my desktop has composed a volume of epic verse entitled On the Web, and I, the Spider, which chronicles its journey across the internet as it tries to find its real father, Bill Gates. Perhaps one day AI will branch out into even more complex art forms. Maybe robots will learn to perform interpretive dance. Maybe Alexa will learn to write and sing full operas. One day, our computers may find a way to express their creative spirits in the language of ones and zeroes, the very essence of their being. When that day comes, it will surely be a glorious digital enlightenment, but until then, this poetic lion is surely a step in the right direction.
Citation: James Vincent, "THERE'S A LION IN LONDON'S TRAFALGAR SQUARE THAT EATS WORDS AND ROARS AI-GENERATED POETRY", The Verge, 19 September 2018, https://www.theverge.com/2018/9/19/17874722/please-feed-the-lions-ai-google-trafalgar-square-es-devlin