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Humanist Archives: Feb. 14, 2022, 6:37 a.m. Humanist 35.526 - GPT-3 and generated poetry

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 35, No. 526.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
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        Date: 2022-02-13 00:13:59+00:00
        From: Mark Wolff <>
        Subject: GPT-3 and generated poetry

I'm sure most folks on this list are familiar with GPT-3 from OpenAI that
responds to prompts in "plain" English with results that were not
explicitly intended in the construction of the language model. On a lark I
submitted the following input: "Write a short poem about dogs that rhymes."
Here's the output:

Dogs are the best friends that you could ever find
They’re always happy to see you, no matter what the time
They’ll always be there to listen, with a wagging tail
And they’ll never forget your birthday, or when you’re feeling frail

Dogs are the perfect companions, through thick and thin
And we can’t imagine life without them, our furry best friends

OK, this is fun but rather unsophisticated in meaning: it's full of cliches
that one can surely find in the 45TB of the corpora used to build the
language model. So I then input the following: "Write a poem like Tristan
Tzara." And here's the output:

I do not know what I am saying
The world is spinning round
I am dizzy and I cannot see
I want to sleep
And when I wake up
I will see things more clearly

IMHO this is a pretty good summary of Tzara's poetry.

I'm not sure what to make of this. Thoughts?

Mark B. Wolff, Ph.D.
Professor of French
Chair, Modern Languages
One Hartwick Drive
Hartwick College
Oneonta, NY  13820
(607) 431-4615

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