Artificial Intelligence writes The Winds of Winter, and other funnies


The trend of artificial intelligences writing books has produced some good results — not good as in “readable,” but funny. For example, take a look at what happened when an AI tried to write a chapter of a Harry Potter book: “The tall Death Eater was wearing a shirt that said, ‘Hermione Has Forgotten How To Dance,’ so Hermione dipped his face in mud.” Love it!

When it became clear that we weren’t going to get new episodes of Game of Thrones for a while, to say nothing of The Winds of Winter, software engineer Zack Trout got to work teaching a neural network to predict what would happen next in the story. “I’m a huge fan of Game of Thrones, the books and the show,” he told Motherboard. “I had worked with [recurrent neural networks] a bit and thought I’d give working with the books a shot.”

The results, so far, are five chapters from The Winds of Winter, the as-yet unreleased sixth book in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Let’s sample an excerpt from a chapter told from Jaime Lannister’s perspective:

"Jaime killed Cersei and was cold and full of words, and Jon thought he was the wolf now, and white harbor… Something about the day made the butt of her grow from the hem, half the white dogs running between two of Hizdahr’s arms.He opened his door through the edge of the stairs. “More hall go from a milk, with tusks and always thin mud are all a sheep,” said a roaring woman with a rack of feathers escaped.“I swore. More bloody things. One one cups. When Bran was not Lord commander? Who is not there? Your brother Benjen was? How many good in a castle right you was dead? So lost to my own Service, along with red worm, we had to and a dragon down, and cast a wide hole in the mouth of the tent, glover almost set back to the man and shouting his men in his power.” He was not talking about the benches, as passed to the first spot in the darkness. That shadow itself was gathering then. Catelyn hopped off the ground to one knee, and went to the table. The victor couldn’t the red keep running on course; the King had taken big nurse wild."

So just a few chapters in, Jaime has already killed Cersei, Catelyn has come back to life, and the victor couldn’t keep the Red Keep running because the King met a wild nurse. Eventful stuff.

Obviously, the AI isn’t writing on the level of a human author, nor was it expected to. As Thoutt points out, if it could do that, Martin and his contemporaries “might be in trouble.”

"The model is striving to be a new book and to take everything into account, but it makes a lot of mistakes because the technology to train a perfect text generator that can remember complex plots over millions of words doesn’t exist yet."

Maybe we’ll live to see the day when an AI can write a book that’s every bit as interesting as one from a human writer. But it won’t happen before season 8 airs. Until then, you can sample the five completed chapters of this project here. It even includes a Varys chapter — he poisons Daenerys in the very first sentence, the busy bee.

If that’s not your thing, you can pass the time between now and 2019 with conversation, risky though it can be:

"It’s gonna be a long year. from freefolk"

Then there are always Game of Thrones recap videos. YouTube’s steve, a Thrones newbie, has been watching the series episode by episode for a while now, with the catch that’s he’s watching them completely out of order. See his take on “The Prince of Winterfell,” the eighth episode of season 2, below:

Happy laughing.

Next: Emilia Clarke: Game of Thrones season 8 is “gonna be worth [the wait]”

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