Rise of the machines: can computers learn how to write?

Machine learning might just be the solution to the lost art of letter writing. Researchers at University College London (UCL) have developed an algorithm that can take a sample of anyone’s handwriting and reproduce the exact penmanship. This means you won’t have to worry about intelligent software taking over the world because it will be too busy writing thank you notes and doing your Christmas cards for you. Whimsical images aside – were you imagining a little robot with a pen in its hand? – the machine learning software used to replicate something as unique as an individual’s handwriting is quite complex. Dr Oisín Mac Aodha, one of the researchers working on the My Text in Your Handwriting project that yielded this software, says: “First of all there was the…


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