Can a computer replace J.K. Rowling?

Spread the love

Not yet.

As you know, JK Rowling is the author of the famous Harry Potter series of books (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, etc.), and more recently, of a series of really excellent crime novels (if you’ve not read them, you need to: The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm, and Career of Evil, with a fourth book on the way, I hear).

Intuit’s Max Deutsch fed the seven Harry Potter books to a computer and told it to write a new chapter. It did. It came out as gibberish.

However, it isn’t just random gibberish. When you read the new text, you can see that the dialog for each character is styled somewhat like Rowling’s original characters. The fact that a large number of the sentences make no sense at all, and that many are agrammatical, kinda ruins the flow. It might have been a good idea to run the output from this computer through a grammar checker.

And, of course, other than the random novelty one gets when flipping coins, there is nothing new, no interesting plot elements, new characters, or novel magical tropes in this new text.

Here is an example:

“He’s cheer to their advantage,” Moody retorted suddenly.

“Sorry,” Harry shouted, panicking?—?“I’ll leave those brooms in London, are they?”

“No idea,” said Nearly Headless Nick, casting low close by Cedric, carrying the last bit of treacle Charms, from Harry’s shoulder, and to answer him the common room perched upon it, four arms held a shining knob from when the spider hadn’t felt it seemed. He reached the teams too.

“You believe if we’ve got friendly to come down and out of the library. I think I’ve found out Potter, I asked you he had . . . me. I think he’s not telling Dobby if yeh get with our Hogwarts …”

“What are you doing, Harry?” said Hermione, staring down at her. “Would Malfoy let me easier?”

“Professor Karkaroff slipped down the steps to get the second row of silver hair?”

Harry stared at the shadowy clearing, and pointing to a long, old grin. But she had been many times more like having cards, standing all around and began to sob down the steps over the brakes and Control of Magical Creatures class just pushed with gold.

I think J.K. Rowling gets to keep her job for a while longer…

Have you read the breakthrough novel of the year? When you are done with that, try:

In Search of Sungudogo by Greg Laden, now in Kindle or Paperback
*Please note:
Links to books and other items on this page and elsewhere on Greg Ladens' blog may send you to Amazon, where I am a registered affiliate. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, which helps to fund this site.

Spread the love

8 thoughts on “Can a computer replace J.K. Rowling?

  1. OTOH, some may find the computer’s output more engrossing reading… Certainly is unpredictable and commands more attention. (I’m dying to read the outcome of your excerpt!)

    Seriously, the grammatical issues alone tell us that the software Deutsch used is (by today’s Deep Learning AI standards) substandard.

    I wouldn’t write off the AI angle quite yet… There’s too much unexpressed potential there. J.K. Rowling may get to keep her job, certainly. But she may soon have some decent competition chasing her at it.

  2. Ok: What Max Deutsch did, was really a simple job: Put some Harry Potters into a fly brain and look, what will happen.

    Deep learning is not so extreme simple. If you hope you will get a better result, so you have to analyse a bit more: how could the data go through a human brain in order to bring a good result?

    1) You have to divide the brain into separate parts. Which parts and which structure between these parts, this is the most important task!

    2) A grammar part network has to sort the learning information into a logical lane.

    3) Maybe there is an understanding task. A subtask could be to understand this as a picture story.

    4) There have to be a logic level: Find the most valid value for a structure of all objects and all persons.

    … and so on.

    I think: All single steps of such a task can be solved by deep Neural Networks. But for Learning, you need also such networks to prepare the information as a lerning information. (Learning is one task. Creation of new content is another task.)

    The next level, what should be not really complicate, is to connect these single system parts as a learning and content creation system.

    Google shows step by step in the monthes of the last 12 months, that it is possible to bring software neural networks in a state of creation of new content. Maybe as a picture based on a set of start pictures or some information as words. Or as the input of a Go play.

    What Max did, was too simple. But what Google does, that is fantastic and shocking in the same moment!

  3. Seriously, the grammatical issues alone tell us that the software Deutsch used is (by today’s Deep Learning AI standards) substandard.

    But it isn’t just the grammar. The phrase, “to answer him the common room perched upon it,” among others, is getting into “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously” territory.

  4. Oooooh didn’t know she was writing crime fiction under that name – just ordered all 3 – thanks Greg.

  5. And, of course, other than the random novelty one gets when flipping coins, there is nothing new, no interesting plot elements, new characters, or novel magical tropes in this new text.

    Well, there is the rather interesting twist that Harry has somehow changed genders and become a girl or trans :

    ““What are you doing, Harry?” said Hermione, staring down at her.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.