Did a Human Write It?
November 21, 2020 1:41 PM   Subscribe

A popular Obama book was published this week – no, not that one, but Barack Obama Book: The Biography, a 61-page title probably composed by an A.I. “I don’t think [it] was written by a human being, but I do think the A.I. that excreted it made some decent points about Barack Obama.”
posted by adrianhon (13 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
"one of the things he was most proud of from his second term was the Defense of Marriage Act" yeah that is some prime "stringing terms together, without having an understanding of them" right there. statistical analysis of word frequency is strictly optional.
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 1:57 PM on November 21 [1 favorite]


Press (2020) outlines with aplomb American Health Act (Affordable Care Act( Obamacare) notable difficult achievements of elected executive. Obama Laden was later assassinated in May 2010 by Hussein President.
posted by floam at 1:57 PM on November 21 [3 favorites]


I'm not saying it definitely wasn't written by an AI—they've gotten quite good these days. I'm just going to say that as an editor, I see a LOT of human-generated raw copy, and nothing in the sample text would have struck me as suspicious. At some point, AIs are going to write better than the majority of people; if this book was written by an AI, that point is now.
posted by babelfish at 3:45 PM on November 21 [13 favorites]


Having messed around with AIDungeon and Sudowrite I can firmly say that AI can already write better and more coherently than over half the people I've played PBP or chat RPGs with. I met a real single guy online during this pandemic but I ghosted him because AI Dungeon was more fun to correspond with.
posted by The otter lady at 4:38 PM on November 21 [5 favorites]


If you handed me that text and told me it was a college student's Barack Obama term paper, I'd absolutely believe you. The excerpts in the article read exactly like an unimaginative writer dutifully regurgitating every Barack Obama fact they could find so they can get this damn gen ed class out of the way and focus on their Sports Medicine major.

I honestly doubt this is actually an AI-generated text, as far as I know current machine learning language models are pretty fantastic at writing things line by line, but they have a hard time staying focused on a specific topic for multiple paragraphs, or organizing thoughts in a specific order. It's certainly possible this was written by AI, but like all the most impressive AI output it has been curated and edited by human eyes before it's released to the world.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:04 PM on November 21 [3 favorites]


"one of the things he was most proud of from his second term was the Defense of Marriage Act" yeah that is some prime "stringing terms together, without having an understanding of them" right there.

Yeah, since when is that not an extremely human thing to do? That's exactly the kind of thing I fix for people all the time.

Maybe they used AI. Maybe they paid random people $5 an hour. I kind of admire the optimism of immediately thinking it was the former.
posted by trig at 2:08 AM on November 22 [5 favorites]




MetaFilter: that is some prime "stringing terms together, without having an understanding of them" right there.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:25 AM on November 22 [5 favorites]


I feel like in a better economy I’d more often decide to afford hand washes, which are a more premium service, and hey actual working dudes’ hustle benefits instead of the gas station owner?

Just like I might afford better than the most industrialized food.
posted by floam at 11:11 AM on November 22


“actual working dudes’ hustle benefits instead of the gas station owner”

In the UK at least, hand car washes are generally involved in modern slavery. You are enriching people traffickers and gang masters, not the illegal immigrant working 14 hrs a day in the car wash.
posted by tinkletown at 1:47 AM on November 23 [1 favorite]


The best part of this story is that it is titled "Barack Obama Book" in order for it to appear at the top of searches for "Barack Obama Book." It's both incredibly simple and kind of genius.

I'm imagining discussions at book clubs:

"I read 'Barack Obama Book.'"
"Oh, you read Barack Obama's book?"
"No, I read 'Barack Obama Book.'"
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 8:43 AM on November 23


I for one welcome our new robot ghostwriter overlords
posted by thelonius at 8:45 AM on November 23


How much do they earn per day? How are these workers trafficked and controlled in the U.K.?
posted by floam at 10:11 PM on November 23


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