Pour une histoire de l’IA #12 : Nick Montfort

© Chris Leggat via Unsplash

La douzième séance du séminaire Pour une histoire de l’IA accueillait Nick Montfort (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) le 19 décembre 2023 pour discuter de l’histoire des textes générés au cours d’une séance intitulée Computer-Generated Narrative’s Wild Ride since the 1960s . Ci-dessous, un court résumé de la séance ainsi que la biographie de notre invité suivie de la vidéo de rediffusion de la séance :

Computer-Generated Narrative’s Wild Ride since the 1960s

The discussion of computer-generated text has recently reached a fever pitch, but largely omits the long history of work in this area — text generation, as it happens, was not invented the other day in Silicon Valley. In “Computer-Generated Narrative’s Wild Ride Since the 1960s,” Nick Montfort turns the dial back to 1963 to look at how narrative generation has proceeded over six decades, relating the systems involved to formalist ideas of narrative.

First, however, Montfort inspects the original GPT-2 press release text closely, finding that this “fake news” is not only about things that are obviously not the case (talking unicorns) but is also riddled with obvious self-contradiction. Then, going back to the 1970s and 1980s, he traces through a history of very impressive real news generation — the production of narrative text based on underlying quantitative data — which has been used already, extensively, to generate news without the deficiencies of so-called generative AI.

After a prelude in the 1950s, Montfort considers English text-generation work related to narrative from the 1960s. While influential systems (with one exception) were developed by men of European descent, there were also complex global entanglements, with one of the first English story generation systems being developed in Mexico City in 1963 by a linguist seeking to learn about indigenous languages.

To conclude, Montfort first quotes from two poetry generators (which produce narrative verse) that were written by American women at the end of the 1980s. Then, he reads an excerpt from his computer-generated novel Hard West Turn, a book about gun violence in the United States from 2018.

Montfort’s discussion is far from comprehensive, skipping over some of the most well-known systems, such as SAGA, to generate scripts for TV Westerns, and the intricate TALE-SPIN. Texts generated by these and many other systems will be presented in Output: An Anthology of Computer Generated Text, 1953–2023, edited by Lillian-Yvonne Bertram & Nick Montfort, to be co-published by The MIT Press and Counterpath in August 2024.

The outputs in this anthology range over many types of creative writing, while they also include text generated by research systems along with reports and utilitarian texts, representing many general advances and experiments in text generation. The book is first and foremost a collection of outputs to be encountered by readers. In addition to an overall introduction, each of the excerpts is introduced individually and they are organized by fine-grain genre such as conversations, humor, letters, poetry, prose, sentences, and so on — each of which is also introduced. Each output also has a very brief contextualizing note at the beginning, and bibliographic references allow readers to learn more about outputs and systems that intrigue them.

As a poet and artist, Nick Montfort uses computation as his medium. His computer-generated books range from #!to Golem. His digital projects include the collaborations The Deletionist and Sea and Spar Between. Montfort is a scholar, researcher, and educator. His MIT Press publications include The New Media Reader(which he co-edited) and Twisty Little Passages, The Future, and Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities.He is professor of digital media at MIT and principal investigator in the Center for Digital Narrative at the University of Bergen. He directs a lab/studio, The Trope Tank, and lives in New York City.

Citer ce billet
Carla Marand (2024, 8 janvier). Pour une histoire de l’IA #12 : Nick Montfort. CulturIA. Consulté le 22 mai 2024, à l’adresse https://doi.org/10.58079/vjw9

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