Krishna and Arjuna is a sci-fi story written by an algorithm



Novelist Stephen Marche used an algorithm to help him write a science fiction story. Talk about it in MIT Technology Review he writes: “Adam Hammond, an English teacher, and Julian Brooke, a computer scientist, had created a program called SciFiQ, and I provided them with 50 of my favorite sci-fi tunes to power their algorithm. In return, SciFiQ gave me a set of instructions on the story’s plot ”.


The idea was to see if algorithms can help creativity. Can an algorithm create its own distinct style or its own narrative ideas and can the result be science fiction? Stephen found the answers to all questions to be in the affirmative. A few years ago he created the ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ story, using the algorithm and called it an experiment based.

Then he created another sci-fi short story – Krishna and Arjuna. With this story, Stephen wanted to test if an algorithm can help a human generate new ideas.

“For ‘Krishna and Arjuna’, we focused on science fiction on the subject of my immediate fascination: robots and artificial intelligence. And instead of providing the AI ​​with my favorite robot stories, we gave it all the great robot stories ever written, many of which I haven’t read. It might sound like a technical detail, but it’s huge. As a writer I’m used to reading stories and internalizing those influences; in this case, I would be subject to the ‘influence’ of material that I had never even seen, ”writes Stephen for MIT Technology Review.

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Story of Krishna and Arjuna

For the record, Stephen didn’t buy into the algorithm suggestions. He used the program to see the rules but didn’t necessarily follow them. Stephen wanted to see if the computer code could identify what a “twist” is and instill it in history with other models.

“In ‘Krishna and Arjuna’ I wanted to delve as much as possible into what researchers call the ‘thematic modeling process’, which is the use of machine learning to analyze a body of text – in this case, the canon. robot stories – and choose its common themes or structures, ”he writes.

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Krishna and Arjuna science fiction story
Story of Krishna and Arjuna

The algorithm produced what Stephen calls “word clouds” of the most common themes. He had to figure out how to figure it out and finally he did. He found his robot persona and made sense of the language of the algorithm. “I used the machine to come up with thoughts that I wouldn’t have had otherwise,” he writes.

You can read the whole story here and see if it makes sense to you.

Is literature ready to think outside the human body? Do you think “algo stories” are the future?

Also Read: This Algorithm Written Game Of Thrones Script Is Better Than The Real Show Could Ever Be

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