It's happening: Machines are taking over more and more human jobs. But robots won't soon replace creative geniuses like writers, novelists and poets, right? Don't be so sure. I'd like to believe that you could tell the difference between my writing and a computer's best work, but researchers are constantly working toward perfecting writer-bots, and they're getting closer.
Bonus: See how a computer named Watson can beat human players on the TV game show Jeopardy.
That being said, I think I have some measure of job security - at least for now. I recently came across some writing samples from artificial intelligences in development and they leave a lot to be desired. Check out this excerpt from a story written by a computer program called "Scheherazade:"
When the person before John had finished, John slowly walked up to Sally. The teller said, "Hello, my name is Sally, how can I help you?" Sally got scared when John approached because he looked suspicious. John pulled out a handgun that was concealed in his jacket pocket. John wore a stern stare as he pointed the gun at Sally. Sally was very scared and screamed out of fear for her life. In a rough, coarse voice, John demanded the money. John threw the empty bag onto the counter. John watched as Sally loaded the bag and then grabbed it from her once she had filled it.
Apparently Scheherazade hasn't quite mastered the use of pronouns. It sounds stilted and awkward, but it actually tells a story in a way that sounds vaguely genuine. But if you're a writer, don't despair. These computer programs could actually be your best friend.