Take heed fellow humans, the age of Skynet is upon us. Ok, maybe it isn’t here yet, but we may be witnessing it in its infancy, as an artificial intelligence unit has written the next installment in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. According to Motherboard, software engineer Zack Thouhtt has instructed a recurrent neural network or an RNN to take a shot at writing the sixth book in the novel series.
“I’m a huge fan of Game of Thrones, the books and the show. I had worked with RNNs a bit in that class and thought I’d give working with the books a shot.”
The programmer added the previous five books in the series to the system, and gives a prompt at the beginning of every chapter, which are the names of characters. The AI has written five chapters so far.
“I start each chapter by giving it a prime word, which I always used as a character name, and tell it how many words after that to generate. I wanted to do chapters for specific characters like in the books, so I always used one of the character names as the prime word … there is no editing other than supplying the network that first prime word.”
I find this fascinating, and yet at the same time I am also sort of creeped out by it, both by the RNN’s ability to write a novel in the style of George R.R. Martin and by what it actually wrote down. Some of the sentences it throws together are really strange, and while most of the text is readable, it doesn’t make much sense. However, some of it eerily references known fan theories, such as Jamie being the one who eventually kills Cersei. You can check out the first chapter of book here.
I am not trying to downplay what Troutt has accomplished, it is pretty amazing, but the technology isn’t quite there yet. There are still some things robots cannot do as well as us humans, and writing novels appears to be one of them. Fans have waited for “The Winds of Winter” for about as long as show watchers have waited for Winter to come to Westeros, and Zack Troutt became tired of waiting and decided to do something about it.
How long do you think it will take the machines to conquer us? Let us know in the comments down below!
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