The scientific and gaming worlds were rocked earlier this month as a computer defeated a world champion at the complex strategy game Go. It was a big deal, not least because it brings us one step closer to machines that have something like human intuition. Learn more about this historic event.
Of course, this isn't the first time computers have attempted to match humans in endeavors aside from raw computing. There have been computers programmed to generate new music, respond to passive-aggressive emails, hold conversations, create magic tricks and handle everyday jobs. However, could a computer write a novel?
That's what a team at Future University in Hakodate, Japan, decided to find out. They chose a gender for the protagonist, constructed a basic plot and chose keywords and phrases.
Then they fed this starting information into a computer and tasked it with creating a believable story. The result was "The Day a Computer Writes a Novel," about a computer that pursues its dream of becoming a writer.
To see how good it was, the team submitted the novel to the Hoshi Shinichi Literary Award. The computer's novel made it through the first of four rounds of judging. The judges said it was well structured, but the character development was lacking. There were 10 other submissions created by computers, but none of them won either.
Even though the early efforts weren't too successful, you never know what the next few years are going to bring. After all, scientists didn't expect a computer to beat a human at Go for at least 10 more years.
Do you think a computer could write the next great American novel, or are they still lacking true creativity? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.