We’ve already seen robots that paint pictures and compose songs, so it only stands to reason that someone would attempt to get one to write a novel.

In this case, the exercise was a team effort between humans and an artificial intelligence (A.I.) program in an attempt to win Japan’s Nikkei Hoshi Shinichi Literary Award.

No, the human-assisted A.I. didn’t win the prize, but it came close — it passed the contest’s initial screening phase.

The human part of the team, led by Hitoshi Matsubara, a professor at Future University Hakodate, came up with the general framing of the story, including plot (the most important part), and the gender of the characters, according to the The Yomiuri Shimbun.

Afterwards, the A.I. cobbled the short novel together by selecting sentences created by the team of humans. So, in this case, the A.I. program needed quite a bit of help from humans to get anywhere close to a real novel.

But even these rudimentary steps are notable given that many have assumed that art — separate and apart from the heavy lifting of robotic auto factories and automated number crunching of data science — would somehow be immune from the rise of A.I. It now appears no sector of human endeavor will be spared the advances inherent in A.I.

Celebrated novelist Hugh Howey (author of Wool, which is set to become a movie) has…
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