PhD Defence • Artificial Intelligence — TwitSong: A Current Events Computer Poet and the Thorny Problem of Assessment

Monday, October 22, 2018 4:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT (GMT -04:00)

Carolyn Lamb, PhD candidate
David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science

This thesis is driven by the question of how computers can generate poetry, and how that poetry can be evaluated. We survey existing work on computer-generated poetry and interdisciplinary work on how to evaluate this type of computer-generated creative product. 

We perform experiments illuminating issues in evaluation which are specific to poetry. Finally, we produce and evaluate three versions of our own generative poetry system, TwitSong, which generates poetry based on the news, evaluates the desired qualities of the lines that it chooses, and, in its final form, can make targeted and goal-directed edits to its own work. 

While TwitSong does not turn out to produce poetry comparable to that of a human, it represents an advancement on the state of the art in its genre of computer-generated poetry, particularly in its ability to edit for qualities like topicality and emotion.