Poetry for robots
Poetry for Robots, a newly released site from Neologic Labs, Webvisions, and the Arizona State University Center for Science and the Imagination, asks “What if we used poetry and metaphor as metadata? Would a search for ‘eyes’ return images of stars?”
Envisioned as a digital humanities experiment, Poetry for Robots displays a set of images on its landing page. Users who click on one of these images are taken to a new page where they are informed of their participation in an experiment in metaphor and metadata and invited to contribute poetry of twenty words or 150 characters to the site, using the image as a prompt. At Webvisions Chicago 2015, the creators will analyze what the algorithms (i.e. the robots) have learned from poetry contributed to the site, using search operations.
This project takes as its premise the idea that poetry and metaphor are the domains of the human. However, it raises the question of what robots might do if given poetry instead of standard metadata. For example, what kind of search results would an algorithm return if the data it has been fed is metaphorical. The implications of a project like this are the stuff of science fiction: might the robots be able to spontaneously generate poetry? Submit short poems to Poetry for Robots to find out more.