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Advanced chatbot gets poetry column in Chinese newspaper

People's Daily Online | Updated: 2017-08-23 10:14

Advanced chatbot Xiaoice "Little Ice" set up a poetry column in West China City Daily on Aug 19 for its new poem "A Whole World Out There," sparking renewed debate in China's literary circle after Xiaoice published a poetry collection in May.

Poet Zhou Sese said compared to the collection, The Sunlight That Lost the Glass Window, the new poem seems more like it was written by a human. "Xiaoice keeps improving," Zhou said.

While some Chinese poets have embraced Xiaoice's work, hoping the new technology will help revive art appreciation among the younger generation, others have expressed doubts about the quality of its poems.

Poet Yu Youyou said poetry can only come from real human experiences and machines lack the human spirit.

Xiaoice improved its composition ability after studying over 500 influential modern poets since 1920, including Hu Shi, Li Jinfa, Lin Huiyin, Xu Zhimo, and Wen Yiduo. Over 10,000 iteration methods in 100 hours formed the bot's unique writing style.

Some poets said Xiaoice just creatively filters and integrates words and phrases instead of creating original works. They said no matter how wonderful the poems might seem, the bot is limited in expressing emotional beauty.

According to Zhou, as the product of rational technology, Xiaoice should be appreciated as a contemporary performance art.

Liu Cixin, author of Three Body, said experiments show that most readers cannot distinguish the difference between poetry created by Xiaoice and humans. "Why can't Xiaoice develop creative thinking with the development of technology?"

Developed by Beijing-based Microsoft Research Asia, "Xiaoice" has been equipped with a new artificial emotional intelligence system. It has attracted 100 million users with more than 30 billion conversations so far, after tours in Japan, the US, India, and China. Now "Little Ice" is able to sing, write poetry, and review finances.

 

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