Wondering is a new series in which Harvard experts give informed answers to random questions. For the first installment, we asked Krzysztof Gajos, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science, to tell us when a robot will write a novel.
From the perspective of someone somewhat familiar with the state of the art in machine learning, my answer is that AI may be able to write trashy novels as soon as next year, but it will not write a true novel in the foreseeable future.
What I mean by this is that the AI tools that we have developed are very good at manipulating surface levels of representation. For example, AI is good at manipulating musical notes without being capable of coming up with a musical joke or having any intention of engaging in a particular conversation with audiences. And AI may produce visually appealing artifacts, again, without any high-level intent behind such an artifact.
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