As robots create art, can they replace humans?

Writers fret about many things. In fact, agonizing over something, anything, is a writer’s natural state, a condition that can feed the muse but also kill inspiration. Writers worry about writing, of course — the quality and the quantity, the rhythm of the words and the structure of the piece. We worry about readership. We worry about the publishing industry. We worry about money. And now we have to worry about automation. It’s quite probable that within my lifetime this mentally strenuous, nerve-wrecking, binge-inducing job of stringing words into sentences and sentences into meaning will be done by a computer. Blasphemy! Sacrilege! That’s what I thought after reading about an artificial intelligence program that co-authored a novel for the Nikkei Hoshi Shinichi Literary Award in Japan. True, this AI program…


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