Tuesday, September 27

How to write a novel and finish it in 3 days with the help of an AI


The world of literature has begun to use artificial intelligence to finish novels… or start them. The potential of predictive texts managed by an AI is so tremendous that there are already books in which their contributions appear.

Linguistic models like the GPT-3 are word prediction machines. Fed with a huge amount of text, the model adjusts its billions of initially random mathematical parameters until, when presented with new text, it does its job.

This method goes surprisingly far. By training on much more text and using many more parameters than previous models, GPT-3 gained the partial ability to perform basic arithmetic, translate languages, write functional code… and much more.

But ultimately everyone in GPT-3 is words or, to be more precise, mathematical representations of common sequences of characters called tokens, and that can cause it to behave strangely, experts explain.

It may happen that he gives sensible answers when asked about something about which people have written abundantly and correctly. But if asked which is heavier, a goldfish or a whale, he will say a goldfish.

Or ask what Napoleon said about hamburgers, and he’ll say, “Burgers are the food of the gods.” You’re just making an educated guess based on statistical patterns in the language, and that may or may not have any correlation to the world as humans understand it.

As a good liar, he is better in form and style than in substance. Even when writing fiction, where reality is less important, there is an art to getting it to do what you want. And that’s where the writers are taking advantage of this technology.

Artificial intelligence

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Researcher and writer Gwern Branwen calls it “fast programming,” a term that has been adopted by writers using AI. For example, ask GPT-3 to write Harry Potter in the style of Ernest Hemingway, like Branwen did, and can produce profane criticism or a Chinese plot summary or outright nonsense.

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Nevertheless, if you write a few lines of a novel about the wizard Potter in the style of Hemingway, the model seems to understand what is meant by “style” and moves on. He can then go on to write Harry Potter in the style of JRR Tolkien or whoever you ask.

It requires an uncanny degree of sympathy with the machine, thinking about how it works and how it might answer your query. Branwen explains that it’s a bit like trying to teach a super-intelligent cat tricks.

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In The Verge we find several examples of writers who use it on a daily basis for their novels, despite the fact that many believe that the technology is not there yet.

They believe that a more complete automation of fiction at the moment would produce novels that are too generic.channeled into the grooves of the most popular plots.

But based on the improvement they’ve seen over the past year, they have no doubt it will come. Not even without going very far. Readers, especially those of genre fiction, like the familiar, he said, the same basic form with a slightly different twist or setting.

And that is precisely the kind of thing that the AI ​​should be able to handle.

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