There are 139 Chinese poems in the new book “The Sunlight that Lost the Glass Window,” and the fact they’re all written by one artificially intelligent bot doesn’t make local scholars too pleased.
“It disgusted me with its slippery tone and rhythm,” poet Yu Jian told local newspaper China Youth Daily, according to the South China Morning Post. “The sentences were aimless and superficial, lacking the inner logic for emotional expression.”
Others said computers couldn’t create poetry because they weren’t alive, and that the work could “kill our beloved art.”
The book’s contentious author is Xiaoice, a natural-language chat bot developed by Microsoft in 2014. It debuted to great fanfare on the Chinese blogging site Weibo and has since interacted with tens of millions of users both online and in the app.
Xiaoice’s breakout book was met with mixed reviews, however. Some praised the technology’s innovative leap from conversation to creative efforts, including one professor who embraced the new take on the art form.
“This is what we call a poetic jump,” Zhang Zonggang, of Nanjing University, told the SCMP.
But there were also purists who wholeheartedly rejected the premise that poetry could come from AI.
“A computer that has not lived life cannot write a poem,” Shanghai-based poet Ding Shaoguo told the SCMP.
Here is one of Xiaoice’s poems, if you want to judge for yourself:
The rain is blowing through the sea/ A bird in the sky/ A night of light and calm/ Sunlight/ Now in the sky/ Cool heart/ The savage north wind/ When I found a new world.