“you need a bit of unpredictability” – Poetry Society director Judith Palmer on AI poetry on talkRADIO

Recent AI efforts to write poetry and emulate Shakespeare’s sonnets, as part of research conducted by IBM and the Universities of Melbourne and Toronto, have had some success, reportedly leaving some members of the public unable to distinguish the two.  Addressing the question of whether computers had managed to create convincing (and good) poetry, Judith Palmer, director of The Poetry Society, spoke with Jamie East on talkRADIO this afternoon.

While the computer-generated poetry demonstrated a certain technical skill, Judith argued that AI wasn’t able to deliver a crucial element of surprise, saying “a good poem has a bit of mystery about it, AI can understand the rules [but]… you need a bit of unpredictability” and pointing to the fact that when assessing the best poetry, judges of The Poetry Society’s major competitions, including the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award and the National Poetry Competition, would repeatedly indicate that they look for qualities like invention, freshness and the unexpected.  Judith added “The computer can’t add anything of its own, it can only draw from the repertoire of what it has read”.

Listen to the full interview on talkRADIO here in the 2.30-3.00pm slot (the interview aired at around 2.45pm).

Enter the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award (deadline July 31st) here

Enter the National Poetry Competition (deadline October 31st) here

July 31st 2018