The bots are coming. And they have poems.


Yet in a circle pallid as it flow
by this bright sun, that with his light display,
roll’d from the sands, and half the buds of snow,
and calmly on him shall infold away

Deep-speare’s creation is nonsensical when you read it closely, but it certainly “scans well,” as an English teacher would say—its rhythm, rhyme scheme, and the basic grammar of its individual lines all seem fine at first glance. As our research team discovered when we showed our AI’s poetry to the world, that’s enough to fool quite a lot of people; most readers couldn’t distinguish the AI-generated poetry from human-written works.

Our team, composed of three machine-learning researchers and one scholar of literature, trained our AI poet using about 2,700 sonnets taken from the online library Project Gutenberg. Our “poet” learned how to compose poetry on its own, using the AI approach known as deep learning—it cranked through the poems in its training database, trying again and again to create lines of poetry that matched the examples. We didn’t give it rhyming dictionaries, pronunciation dictionaries, or other resources, as has often been the case in previous computer-generated poetry projects. Instead, Deep-speare independently learned three sets of rules that pertain to sonnet writing: rhythm, rhyme scheme, and the fundamentals of natural language (which words go together). —IEEE Spectrum, “This AI Poet Mastered Rhythm, Rhyme, and Natural Language to Write Like Shakespeare