Creative writing robots will steal authors’ jobs in the near future

Robots have in fact produced entire novels, using advanced algorithms that are only getting better through human appreciation and with our determination to improve on them. (Mirko Tobias Schäfer/Flickr Creative Commons)

We live in the era of robots. Instead of using that big dusty book we call a dictionary, we search up the internet for the answers and definitions. Road maps have been discarded as huge paper napkins or kleenexes in the glove compartment, replaced by (and I thank the inventors of it everyday) the GPS navigational system. I’m pretty sure we all talk to Siri more about our problems than our significant other or our family members.

These highly technological robots have been improved to even replicate advanced human tasks; tasks that we actually wake up to do in the morning and perform nearly all day. So what happens when there’s a supercomputer that can arrange all the finances of your clients before you can even bat an eye? Well, I can honestly say that you might be clearing your office.

The fact is machines will be taking over hundreds more jobs (since they’ve already conquered some already) and surprisingly, they’re jobs that many would think of as way too human to be done synthetically. Those folks who are in disbelief receive an unpleasant surprise: machines are being built and improved by the day, performing creative tasks such as journalistic writing and even for creativity.

But how could robots be able to produce the humanely artistic prose or poetry that rivals Shakespeare or Hemingway? Or how could they possibly come up with attention-grabber story prose that combats Stephen King, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child? The answer is with a lot of science, and that’s what we have today, progressing forward at an alarming rate. In a report written by Hephzibah Anderson, who interviewed futurologist Kevin Warwick, software systems can produce a fair amount of work in the fine arts. This software can tell jokes and flirt lines and even compose music. One particular compositional software program, a robot known as Emily, can produce about 5,000 pieces in a single morning.

Robots have in fact produced entire novels, using advanced algorithms that are only getting better through human appreciation and with our determination to improve on them. The novels these systems create are not the most interesting; as an example, one consisted of a plot describing a cat who sleeps comfortably on a chair but give it a few more years and you may not want to put it down due to its calculating suspenseful subplots and in-depth characters. Fiction is their biggest struggle to master so far, but through time they’ll have human creativity down as easy as having an electronic voice telling you the definition of the word “jeopardize” from a small square tablet.

With these robots taking over the jobs of writers, what does that say about inspiring creativity? With robots doing all the artistic thinking, how would that affect human writing skills? The answer to these questions is similar to a question of whether one should write out long division: why do it all out when you can type it on a calculator? Why even bother writing something unique when a supercomputer can beat you to it? In the report by Warwick, these programs are already well taught in reporting news. Think of all the trips that would save the news industry and how it would damage reporters’ careers. What would be the point of doing any research or investigating news coverage when the robots got them beat?


Joseph Frare is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at joseph.frare@uconn.edu