An AI's Novella Passes First Round of Japanese Literary Contest

An AI's Novella Passes First Round of Japanese Literary Contest
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Writers aren’t out of a job just yet.

But the time may come soon since an AI recently impressed judges of a Japanese literary prize.

The novella, The Day a Computer Writes a Novel, was co-written and edited by a team of humans. The story itself follows a computer program as it recognizes its talent for writing and leaves behind its preprogrammed duties.

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Initially, the book was included in the group of 11 AI-authored submissions allowed to enter the contest for the Hoshi Shinichi Literary Award, according to Smithsonianmag.com. Though the submission didn’t make it past round two out of four, the judges were still fairly impressed with the novella.

“I was surprised at the work because it was a well-structured novel,” Satoshi Hase, a writer and judge, said at a press conference, the Yomiuri Shimbun reports. “But there are still some problems [to overcome] to win the prize, such as character descriptions.”

There’s clearly some room to grow for “aspiring” AI novelists, especially since the program that wrote The Day a Computer Writes a Novel wasn’t exactly independent. In fact, the novel was first written by humans before they entered it into the program for the AI to analyze and create its own version of the story.

Just last week, Microsoft's AI Tay took to Twitter to learn how to interact. That experiment ended in disaster after a day when trolls taught the program to be racist and sexist.

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So maybe author and social-media marketer aren't future careers for artificial intelligence programs. Still, the machines are definitely coming for our jobs. Businesses are already laying the groundwork for bots to take over deliveries and the hotel concierge desk.

Is your job next? Maybe, but futurist Ray Kurzweil isn't worried. Leave the anxiety to Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates, who all have voiced misgivings over AI, especially in the military.

Luckily, it appears we’ve got some time until AI programs develop a mind of their own -- if ever.