THERE'S A scene in Richard Linklater's 1995 film 'Before Sunrise' where the young lovers encounter what you might describe as a 'bum'.
He tells them that he doesn't want to beg for money, but rather he will write them a poem including a word of their choice, and they can pay whatever they feel its worth.
In reality, the resulting poem "Delusion Angel" was written for the film by poet David Jewell, but it seems that Google has captured the spirit of the scene with its latest experiment.
Poem Portraits allows you to select a word, which is wrangled into Google's machine learning algorithm, combined with a selfie (if you give it consent to take one) before spitting out a couple of lines of poetry.
I chose the word 'squirrel' and this, along with the worlds most unflattering selfie, was the result:
The supporting documentation explains: "Poem Portraits is not only at the cutting edge of poetry and machine learning collaboration, it is also one of the first in-browser selfie filters that responds to the shape of your face."
The AI has been trained on over 20 million words of 19th-century poetry, so there's a fair bet that unless your word is "Brexit" or "Zigbee" there's a good chance of coming up with something that's at least serviceable.
As well as getting your own poem, your word is added to a collective poem, generated from all the words that have been ‘donated' to create an ever-evolving user-generated work of word art.
The experiment, which is in itself a work of art, beyond the results in produces, has been produced by artists ES Devlin, known to many as one of the subjects of Netflix documentary ‘Abstract: The Art of Design'.
In terms of mind-blowing, world-changing use of artificial intelligence then jog on, but if you fancy killing 20 minutes in the quest for something beautiful, then this is a pretty nice way to do it. μ
Bad for shareholders, mildly good for the planet
YouTube on the Tube
Claims that it hasn't ever actually worked