Putting the art in artificial intelligence

For centuries, poetry has been used to express the full breadth of the human experience. Now, it’s being used to explore the limits of machine intelligence, too. This summer, Dartmouth College’s Neukom Institute for Computational Science held its annual Turing Tests in the Creative Arts. Named for the pioneering British scientist Alan Turing, who proposed measuring a computer’s ability to trick a human into thinking it was a person as a gauge of its “intelligence,” the challenge rewarded machine-generated examples of art, literature, poetry and dance that were the most difficult to distinguish from human-created works. “I find it a really interesting context,” said Dan Rockmore, the Dartmouth mathematics and computer science professor who started the awards. “Everybody always holds out the arts as the thing a computer can’t do. The arts are kind of the goal line for consciousness, sort of an unattainable benchmark.” A system developed by Thomson Reuters Research Scientist Charese Smiley and Senior Software Engineer Hiroko Bretz took first prize in the poetry contest by creating a sonnet that judges thought most likely to be written by a human. Smiley said she and Bretz began developing the system in December 2016, using their “innovation time,” or…

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