Artistic NLP Projects,
mostly using AI
An Introduction for Artists
from Google Arts & Culture Creative Lab
Lynn Cherny, Ph.D., ML Artist in Residence
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my background bio
- Linguistics PhD from Stanford University
- Worked in user interface design (not visual, functionality!) and user research for 18 years at many well-known companies (including Adobe, Autodesk...)
- Occasional professor of data science (3 years at 2 universities)
- AI, data science, NLP consultant based in France
- newsletter on AI art tools/storytelling/NLP
Big Picture Topics
- Text Generation: Story vs. Poetry
- Examples, story - AI and non-AI
- Examples, poetry - AI and non-AI (data-driven)
- Multimodal - Images with Text
- Machine Translation
- Other NLP topics for art
TECH ALERTS - If you want to know more later...
Text Generation: Story and Poem
Story vs. Poem, first...
Narrative vs. Poetry
- Longer, complete sentences or dialogue
- Coherence over long sections
- Coreference - pronouns to names and entities
- Discourse structure: Arc of the story, rising action, etc.
- May mix dialogue and exposition
- Multi-characters/scene etc.
- Depending on type, may be "freer" or more restrictive than text
- Rhyme patterns are a constraint
- Metrical structure - iambic pentameter, haiku etc.
- Topical coherence may be less important
- Allow people to "read in" metaphor and synonymy etc.
Some AI collaboration books exist... e.g.:
By K Allado-McDowell (and GPT-3)
Narrative Text: Try It!
AI assisted writing startups, e.g SudoWrite
Our demo output btw :)
Story Telling Game Products: AI Dungeon, NovelAI
Collaborative story generation with a model trained on genre fiction, or game play
Lots of Research on Story Generation!
See, e.g., challenges in Automatic Story Gen (article)
Also lots of articles on text gen tools in general, e.g., A Robot Wrote This Entire Article. Are You Scared Yet, Human? (The Guardian)
And recent Verge piece on independent writers and SudoWrite / JasperAI
GPT-3 / GPT-2 / Relatives (autoregressive language models)
Text Generation via Procedural Methods
not AI models (but could be combined)!
"Slot" filling - "MAD libs"
Tracery, a tool by Kate Compton
Rules define combinations (see "sentence" above) and the output can be many variations of these words.
Dwarf Fortress Stories from Data Using Tracery
a project of mine... written up.
Interactive fiction game engines
A Twine game
tools that help you write a branching game without coding
Another classic text "game"
"National Novel Generation Month" (2021 link)
Write a novel using generative text, post the code and output. (Mix of AI and non-AI methods used.)
Related but professional: A procedurally generated book in which no two copies are the same: Subcutanean by Aaron A Reed
"Some Dim, Random Way"
Kevan Davis's entry of Moby Dick as a CYOA game (link)
First, AI and Machine Learning Poetry....
Many methods for poetry, too...
- Autoregressive Language Models like GPT2, GPT3
- Using Machine Learning or Embeddings as data input to poetry - providing words or themes
- Entirely procedural, using algorithms and choice lists
Language model approaches...
TECH: Uses an LSTM model, 2016-17, trained on 19th c. poetry
Also in Lions in Trafalgar Square exhibit for London Design Festival 2018
Es Devlin's Installations of Generated Poetry
Es Devlin's UK Dubai 2020 (2021) Pavilion
TECH: Uses a GPT-2 model, much improved over LSTM, trained on 19th + modern poetry
GPT-2 Model training aside
We trained on poetry reformatted as:
<keyword>: 2 lines containing <keyword> somewhere
So that the model would take an input word from a person and generate a couplet containing it.
Text input: "shuttle"
Ross Goodwin's captions
(using LSTM generation and image recognition)
TECH: LSTMs (older than GPT2/3)
Poetic "captions": generate poetry from images
the code no longer runs
but it could be replicated with
Allison Parrish - other ML models
"Reconstructions" uses a VQAE model to generate "chiasmus"
"Compasses", words generated in the phonetic space between 4 real words
See also GAC Nonsense Laboratory
Poety generated via image recognition - words provided for search / generation
TECH: Image recognition algorithms
word2vec / embeddings
& other similarity methods
An embedding results in giving you words (or sentences, or images) that are "similar" in some way, such as context of usage
Color represents a normalized distance between the original word (random "nouny"*-words) and its next closest relative in the embedding model.
Blue: Closer, Pink: Further Away. (So, options for "sound" are going to be more different.)
Click on a colored word like "sound"... pick a replacement from it's nearest neighbors in the model....
and you edited the poem :)
Original haiku by Bashō:
With a different embedding model:
tech: word2vec / embeddings
AI Poetry Research - More and More Languages and Forms
Chinese (Classical, Modern, Lyrics...), Urdu and Hindi, Finnish, Japanese, .... (see my page here)
"AfriKI: Machine-in-the-Loop Afrikaans Poetry Generation" - trained model on fiction by South African novelist Etienne van Heerden in Afrikaans to generate poetry (LSTM)
A person chooses and orders the lines generated, in a co-collaboration. Like the word2vec edits.
Sample online AI poetry generators
Other Digital Poetry Experiments
Based on data, interactions, etc.
Open Street Map Haiku (not AI) by Satellite Studio - based on data in the map location
Every Thing Every Time - Naho Matsudo (Manchester, Newcastle..)
"Watch the live story of Newcastle unfold with an installation that turns city smart data into a constantly changing poem outside the Theatre Royal."
the web site is dead now, which makes me very sad.
JR Carpenter's "This is a Picture of the Wind"
Digitally remixed poetry, depends on the weather report (multi-award winning plus book)
Color Name Poems
Ranjit Bhagnar's Pentametron, a twitter bot that got a lot of press in 2012+ for creating iambic pentameter poetry composed of found tweets.
Lots of tools/libs online to make it, e.g.
Pre-AI Inspirations: Oulipo
One Hundred Thousand Billion Poems by Raymond Queneau
(could be made with code easily)
Choose Your Own Adventure Poetry
Google "search" poems
since 2013... or earlier (link)
Search for rhyming lines in a
corpus of poems / text
"Search" by keyword & generation
input a word, get a couplet containing it, and build up a poem doing this.
TECH: ElasticSearch db
A Few Refs: Digital Poets
- Passage Tomb - Irish AI generated poetry and art
- Gwern's GPT poetry links
- Angel Carmona - Poemas V2
- Nick Montfort - curator/editor and experimental poet
- David Jhave Johnston - ReRites (collab with AI model)
- Sam Riviere and his press
- James Ryan's press Aleator - experimental works
- Sasha Stiles for the NFT Poetry movement and works
- Works in various digital experimental lit journals like Dead Alive and Taper
- For historical works, you can search the Electronic Literature Org's archives too
Multimodal AI - Images and Text Models
text2image and image2text, primarily
Try yourself, in open beta now.
Artists Are Using Text2Image Tools
- Comics / graphic novels
- Textures - Blender guy
- Character design / concept design for games, movies
Other Tools for Text2Image, Less Sophisticated
Multimodal artistic Search: Writing With Open Access - by Jono Brandel
search maybe uses the CLIP algorithm in text2image models
- Question Answering
- Content / Poetry generation
A "novel" constructed of image caption/descriptions in a video
Story gen from Images
"MAGIC" Demo site
1. Starting prompt: "A lonely traveler walked by a lake"
2. Generate image using text with a code tool
3. Caption by an image2text app
4. Write out the story.
From my Wordplay invited talk
How it starts
my input text is on 0; the top caption is the prompt for 1
A grid view of the prompt used to generate each image, and the image. Each prompt is the top caption of the previous image. In a perfect AI model world, there would be no drift at all in contents/images.
How it ends...
"Frankenstein's Telephone" by J. Rosenbaum
link, and see thread of recent attempts with non-binary persons imagined by Midjourney and Dalle-2... which follow:
The caption spawns an image, which is classified and divided into colored segments depending on what the neural network sees, another image is created using those abstract sections as a guide and a final caption is generated.
visualizing transgender and non-binary people
Joy Buolamwini: "AI, Ain't I A Woman?" (2018)
a very few examples, to stimulate some ideas?
Selections from IG poetry poster fossilisedflowers
Variation piece based on 47 translations into English of Dante’s opening lines of The Inferno.
Telephone Translation (mine)
listen: there is a good universe beside her; let's go listen: there is a good universe nearby; go listen: there's a damn good universe; gone Listen: Next door is a very good corner. So let's go Listen: The side door is a very good angle. Let's go listen: there is a damn good universe; go Please try listening. There is a very good universe around. go Please try to listen. There is a very nice corner on the side. Okay, let's go Listen: The side door is a very good corner. Let's go Listen: there is a very good environment. Let's go Listen: The neighbor has a very good angle. So let's go
English-Kurdish English-Albanian Kurdish-Finnish Belarusian-German Kurdish-Finnish German-Albanian Japanese-Albanian Japanese-Kurdish Somali-Kurdish Haitian Cr.-Kurdish German-Finnish
ee cummings "listen: there's a hell of a good universe next door; let's go"
universe → corner | corner → angle | next door → side door or neighbor | let's go → go...
Tech: Translation APIs
Other NLP applications of possible interest
"Sigana: Tales of Lawino"
telling immersive VR folk stories with multimodal AI conversational agents
(work by Melisa Allela)
Multimodal VR Storytelling With Chatbots
"The winding geometry’s angle and its base ascent are respectively driven by sampling a sentence from the book and by performing a sentiment analysis on it."
"Stendhal", by Damien Seguin
Is it positive, negative, neutral; happy, sad, excited, etc....
Style Transfer of Text
See also, Exercises in Style, Raymond Queneau
You might then use the facts in a new form, like a game!
Networks of relations in texts
and Text Art
See my links on text vis & art
A Few Afro-centric NLP Links - See Jade's Talk!
Towards Afrocentric NLP for African Languages: Where We Are and Where We Can Go (recent paper at ACL 2022)
An article on AI Art in Africa from AyaData by Luba Elliott
Sigana, Tales from Lawana by Melissa Link
Thanks... and I'm here to help
If you have tech stack questions, I can point you to tools or methods!
Tech Notes on AI Text Gen Models
- "State of the Art" for long text generation are large models like GPT-3 (proprietary), GPT-J (open-source), NEOX...
- In these models, you give a text prompt, and it "completes" it.
- They are hard or expensive to "tune" on different texts; usually they are "prompt-engineered" with examples to steer them.
- Awesome GPT-3 is a list of apps built on GPT-3
- Same class, but smaller, and more affordable: GPT-2. Can be fine-tuned and hosted for apps. Not as high quality.
- If you just want single words, BERT/T5 etc. can be used. Those will give you missing words in a sentence.
Artistic NLP Projects
By Lynn Cherny