I am not a fan of Xmas music. Indeed, one of the few benefits of being in never-ending quarantine has been that I have not set foot in a single shop playing an endless loop of carols or, worse, muzak carols. (Negative props to ‘Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer’ and its ilk, none of which improves with repetition either.)
But I liked this one. And I don’t think it’s just because it has pedant appeal:
When it comes to US 1 Radio/FM 104’s “Ed Scales Show” — a weekly trove of 60s, 70s, and 80s classic hits — there’s more than meets the ear. Most listeners know the eponymous host for his encyclopedic knowledge of all things Rolling Stones, Beatles, The Who, and a pantheon of guitar gods led by Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. But what most listeners don’t know is that “Ed Scales” is Third District Court of Appeal Judge Edwin A. Scales III.
An experiment at the boundaries of AI and human collaboration.
We are all invited to
Donate a word to become part of an ever evolving collective poem and create your own POEMPORTRAIT.
So I went to try it. It starts by asking you to “donate” a word. At that point, philistine that I am, all I could think of was Groucho Marx on the old game show ‘You Bet Your Life’, which always began with Groucho telling contestants that “Say the secret word and a duck will come down and give you 100 dollars.” (Shockingly, there seems to be no ringtone online with Grouch saying that. So here’s a video clip instead:)
Anyway, back to Google. I gave it my word (“Discourse” of course) and it announced that “An algorithm trained on over 20 million words of 19th century poetry is generating your unique POEMPORTRAIT.” I declined the offer to have my picture taken, and…voilà:
The poem was
That discourse of the word,
Spellbind the corn, sighing and streaming.
It offered me a chance to save the ‘portrait’ so I did. But this is how it came out:
I’m reassured to see that AI’s too can be dyslexic.