PREDICTIVE TEXT has got us into all manner of trouble; Chris Merriman once tried to order a pizza and ended up on a trip to Pisa; Carly Page tried to buy a sofa and ended up with IKEA software, and Roland Moore-Colyer…well the less said the better. (we'll tell you later - CM)
Supposedly trained to know what we want to write or hoover up our data and figure out our word preferences, predictive writing often works with some accuracy but a good bit of the time serves up bizarre results; for some reason our Pixel 2 XL likes to correct 'phone' to 'Phoenix', not that were are fantasy writers, or perhaps we will one day rise from the ashes of humanity as glorious INQ-branded robots.
But sometimes the lovely guessing games our phones play with our messaging can yield something beautiful, in this case, a Harry Potter chapter written entirely using predictive text. We shut you not.
Some boffins over at Botnik Studios, a community of smart folks doing odd things, came up with a predictive keyboard trained on the text from all seven of the Harry Potter books.
From there the keyboard was left to form a new chapter for the Harry Potter series using algorithmically constructed sentences.
Now the tech-savvy amongst you will already know where this is going; the keyboard served up something that was certainly a departure from JK Rowling's fantastical novels.
For a start the predictive keyboard dubbed the book Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash, we guess there are a lot more ash and burnt things in the book that we remember.
But things get more bizarre as the chapter begins with ginger-icon Ron Weasley devouring Hermione's family as if the Harry Potter films have been blended with Silence of the Lambs.
"Ron was standing there and doing a kind of frenzied tap dance. He saw Harry and immediately began to eat Hermione's family," the chapter explains.
The Death Eaters, the distinctly bad and we guess hungry guys in the books, decide to have a tender kissy moment.
That's before Hermione decides to stick one of their faces in the mud after he declares she has forgotten how to dance; a rather extreme reaction for what seems to be a bit of light-hearted banter.
Other highlights in the chapter include: "Ron was going to be spiders", "Harry tore his eyes from his head and threw them into the forest", and "Magic: it was something that Harry Potter thought was very good".
The chapter is certainly a wild ride of emotions and physical activity, though we'd question the narrative flow and plot beats, which seem to channel part Rowling and part Salvador Dali's surrealism. It's worth noting that human writers were tasked with making the text a little less insane but the gist of it was not removed.
Clearly, a project that embodies the idea of fun, Botnick Studio's artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm shows that despite the fears of tech luminaries like Elon Musk and poo-water chugging Bill Gates, AIs have some way to go before they can replicate human writing, emotions and simple understanding of the world.
This is particularly good news for us as we don't want robot writers to nick our jobs…….[initiate wry journalism mode]. µ
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