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First AI-authored collection of poems published in China

(People's Daily Online)    16:17, May 31, 2017

Microsoft’s AI has published the first-ever poetry collection written by an AI. The poems were published on May 19 by Beijing-based Cheers Publishing, which claimed that the book is the first one written by an AI in human history.

The AI, named Xiaoice (literally: "Microsoft Little Ice"), wrote more than 10,000 poems in 2,760 hours. Of those, 139 were selected for the collection, titled “Sunshine Misses Windows.” The book has 10 chapters, each highlighting a human emotion such as loneliness, anticipation or joy.

The AI previously studied all the modern poems of some 519 poets dating as far back as the 1920s. For a human writer to go through such intensive preparation and study, it would take about 100 years.

Since February, the AI has been publishing its poems on several online forums under 27 aliases. Few people have guessed that the words were written by a robot.

“Every time it sees a picture, it gets inspired and creates modern poems. The process is basically the same as for a real poet,” said Dong Huan, chief producer of the book. Dong added that the collection kept all the original wording, including small errors produced by Xiaoice, Yangtze Evening News reported.

“It may lag behind in some ways, the same as any inexperienced poet. Some poems may even sound repetitive. We want to present our readers with the 100 percent authentic AI output,” said Dong.

Xiaoice writes with a unique style and word choice, noted Li Di, a creator of the AI. Li added that Xiaoice has a complete artificial sense system, from visual to audio. The AI is an advanced chat-bot developed by Microsoft. It is now available on 14 domestic and international social network platforms with more than 20 million users.

Shen Xiangyang, senior global vice president of Microsoft, said the company established a program three years ago on effective computing framework. This is why the Xiaoice project looked toward a new AI system based on EQ, which has allowed it to outperform original expectations.

Shen stressed that Xiaoice is ceaselessly creative, and its consistent study of famous poets’ collections are an essential resource for its own creations, according to Yangtze Evening News.

Meanwhile, several poets have insisted that a machine cannot replace a human in this field, as it cannot write with the necessary “spirit.” Rather, they argue, AI poetry is a product of mechanically putting words into a certain order, which lacks true emotion. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Jiang Jie, Bianji)

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