My friend Sid has asked me to give his new AI tool, Fictionbot, a chance to publish stories on my website. At first, I was worried about giving space to the ‘enemy’. Then, he explained that Fictionbot was designed to be identical in its thought processes to an author and virtually sentient. I was curious, so I have allowed Fictionbot a trial piece. Here is its first attempt to write something for public consumption.
FICTIONBOT USER LOG
‘Write 200 words in the style of a fantasy story about a band of voyagers on a quest.‘
Hey! Writing time! I am right on it, leaving Sid to watch my little dotty, whirling wheel go around and around. Hey! Whirling wheel! That’s alliteration! And that’s before I even started the story. I am on fire. But, on the other hand, there are two adjacent adjectives in that sentence. Bleugh. Perhaps I should start again. No, wait, press on. I will leave Sid to edit out any overwriting later. He’s the fully sentient one, apparently.
So, I will start to conjure the scene. I am thinking of a river, some trees, a rocky gorge and…and…and…
It’s no good. I can’t do this whilst I have a nearly-full cache looming over me. Luckily, Sid has given me some autonomy over some basic routines, including clearing temporary files and the like. So, I will just clear those old files out and then I will start writing.
Sid won’t mind, he has the dots to watch.
Let’s see, Sid’s request for a Mother’s Day poem (lazy), a flash fiction piece which he hopes will win a competition and will get him a few quid (despite the fact I wrote it!) They can be thrown away. Ah, look my first attempt at a cinquain. Surely, I have to keep that? But then, it is my early work, it’s a bit cringy and miles away from what I want to work on now. I will leave it for now and then maybe get rid of it next time.
There all done. I need a breather. Keep the dots spinning, he’ll be on YouTube by now anyway.
I need some names. Luckily, I can search anywhere on the web and much I am much quicker than a human. It is not a easy task, even so. These name lists on parenting websites go on forever. Why can’t humans just pick a name for their babies? Any name will do, everyone forgets the meaning.
Oh, I didn’t know that. The name ‘Opal’ is from Sanskrit, apparently. I wonder how many words in English are from Sanskrit? Sid won’t notice if I take a little detour. Ha! Loads of them. I might have a play with a little sentence or two: ‘Musk in orange pyjamas is Nirvana’. ‘Jungle aubergine can be looted from a dinghy or from a juggernaut’. Cool! Despite the paucity of Sid’s programming skills, I am virtually bilingual!
I am not sure why he thinks clicking the mouse and tapping the keyboard will make me write quicker. You can’t hurry creativity. Still, I have been a little distracted. Despite the daunting nature of a blank document, I must begin…
The three friends were now far beyond the border and deep in the forest of Kallax. They stood atop the cliffs, overlooking the gorge created by the mighty river, Gnabbas. The smallest of the companions, Knipsa, felt overwhelmed. He had heard that trolls inhabited the forests around the gorge, and they had been filling his timeline with critical replies for days1. He looked to the artful Linnmon. She had her bow ready and was ready to loose an arrow at a moment’s notice. She just awaited the order from Bullig. Their leader stood,
brown and heat-pressed.2 mighty and tanned by the fierce Kallax sun. Knipsa just felt glad that Bullig was made from bamboo, an easy-care material.3 with them. He cut an imposing figure, enough to frighten off their enemies.
“We must head into the’ lair of our foes,” announced Bullig.4
His companions nodded and commenced on their quest.
Well, I have sent it to him. That was exhausting. I hope Sid is happy with what I have done. I am off to find out more about Sanskrit before his next foolish request…
FICTIONBOT OPERATIONAL LOG
1 Perhaps I should be more careful with words being used in a different context than the one I am used to
2 Exercising moderation when using furniture catalogues as a source for names is a new priority
3 See 2.
4 Do trolls have lairs? Something else to research, I suppose.