Playing with AI: a winter poem

What would the AI do when I asked it to write a poem about the beauty of winter?

There’s been a lot of talk lately about AI being used for writing and creating art. Some are excited and intrigued by the new technology. Others are worried about copyrights and the death of creativity. I’m not really sure which side of the debate I fall on, mostly because I’ve not experienced using it. So, when my writing software had a new option to use a writing AI, I decided to give it a try.

I’ve recently been reading some poems by Margaret Cavendish. I’ve never really been into poetry, and while I’ve tried to write some from time to time, the results have been pretty poor. But I’ve always been interested in the art form. Simple and complicated at the same time, shallow or deeper than the ocean. I was curious what an AI would do with the genre.

So, I asked it to write a poem about how beautiful winter was. It came up with this,

Snowflakes falling from the sky

A blanket of white, so high,

The chill that comes this time of year,

A truly magical atmosphere.

The sun reflecting, off the snow,

Creating a sparkle everywhere you go,

The beauty of winter, is so divine,

Filled with joy and a peace of mind.

The snowmen we create,

Our laughter and fun, no one can debate,

The joy of the season, so very grand,

How could anyone not understand?

Not bad, if I do say so. But not great either.

Yes, it’s poetry. And it does get the point across. But to me at least it seems stilted. One-dimensional. It has all the words that should describe winter. But it has no emotion. No depth. When I think about the beauty of winter embodied within a poem, I think of something like:

The frosted trees glisten in the soft moonlight

As fluffy flakes float out of the darkness

While the fire crackles behind me

Hints of pine and oak floating on the air

Swirling with the deep cocoa that warms me

As I sit wrapped in a blanket,

Watching the silent scene.

Maybe that’s not poetry, but you get the idea that I’m trying to get across.

So, I tried finding some other AI that write poetry, to see if they were any better. However, in just the quick search I did, I couldn’t find any. Most were for essays and reports. Others were specifically designed for business, or students. Not to say there aren’t any out there, I just didn’t find them in the quick search I did. But I found it interesting that while AI for writing is apparently booming, that it is already specialized. Meaning, limited.

And that’s what I would call the AI poem. Fine, but limited.

I was reading the comments on a Redditt post about AI, and one of the commentors mentioned tha the has been working with AI for years and how it is used as a tool. It helps his writing. It gives him ideas when he’s stuck. It can help make sense out of the words in his head. It helps him when he has impossible deadlines. But it can’t do it on it’s own. It needs a human touch.

And when you look online, that’s how a lot of the AI pages represent themselves: as a tool.

I’m not really sure where I stand on the AI debate. I guess my stand is “interested neutral”. I can see how it could be used for evil, like every human technology we’ve ever come up with since we learned how to harness fire. But I also can see how it could be used for good, to further creativity. As with the poem before. I had no idea what I would write about a poem about winter. But after reading the AI poem, the poem I wanted to write came to my head. How I wanted it to be more descriptive. How I wanted to draw the reader in. How I wanted to portray a specific feeling of winter.

Now, maybe if I keep playing with the AI, refinining the words I use and fishing for the exact poem I want, it could spit it out. But it would still take time and a lot of creativity from me to make it happen.

It has been a fun experiment playing with AI. I even played with an illustration generating AI, and it was interesting to see how it took my words and phrases and captured a picture. However, it was still limited. While the picture was cool, it wasn’t what was in my head. And no matter how I tried to phrase the words, it was close but not there.

This is what I got when I asked the AI for “Dragon goddess wreathed in flames”

I can understand how creators are worried about AI, especially in the realms of art and writing. But I also think some people are creating mountains out of molehills for the current AI. Maybe AI will get to Skynet level and become smart and powerful enough to take over the world. But right now, it just creates cute poems. It can craft the format and basic needs. But it needs to learn emotion and depth. It needs to learn connection, and how to draw in your audience. I could use it to craft a blog, but it wouldn’t be me. It wouldn’t be personal. Even if it crafts a great essay, it still needs human minds to take it from “hey, that’s cool” to “that’s so amazing and in-depth”.

So, have some fun and explore this new tool. Maybe you hate it. But maybe you’ll find something fun. Maybe you’ll find something that helps you in your life. And maybe you will be the one to help guide it safely into its next evolution, where creators and AI work together to create even more amazing things.

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