Can a computer write a sonnet that's indistinguishable from what a human can produce? Computer scientists at Dartmouth College tried to answer that question with a competition that NPR's Joe Palca reported on as part of his series, Joe's Big Idea.
It might actually tell you a lot more about what it's like to be human than ... about what it's like to be a machine trying to be a human.
NPR's Robert Siegel, host of All Things Considered, served as one of the judges of the competition. Each judge was asked to read 10 sonnets and decide whether they were written by man or machine. None of the judges was fooled by the poetic computers.
Now's your chance to be the judge! Here are six poems. Try to figure if they are written by a human or machine. Are you as good as Robert Siegel? Take the quiz below to find out!
This is the same harsh angle of the sun,
this is the same so deadly humid heat
I felt that week your ending had begun,
reflecting from the glass along the street,
the shattered bits of accidents or trash,
the careless cost of greed obsessed with speed,
the same damned world that made your system crash
and sprout that cancer like a roadside weed.
I walked those mornings to the hospital,
eyes downcast, sweating, breathing in the fumes
of fast Columbus traffic, senses dull,
or so I thought, but now this heat exhumes
the body of that grief. I saw, I heard,
and I remember, Mother. Every word
The dirty rusty wooden dresser drawer.
A couple million people wearing drawers,
Or looking through a lonely oven door,
Flowers covered under marble floors.
And lying sleeping on an open bed.
And I remember having started tripping,
Or any angel hanging overhead,
Without another cup of coffee dripping.
Surrounded by a pretty little sergeant,
Another morning at an early crawl.
And from the other side of my apartment,
An empty room behind the inner wall.
A thousand pictures on the kitchen floor,
Talked about a hundred years or more.
Read more here: www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/06/27/480639265/human-or-machine-can-you-tell-who-wrote-these-poems