Recently the seventh season of Game of Thrones concluded, attracting nearly 17 million viewers. The final season won’t come until 2019, and there is no release date for the sixth book in the series, The Winds of Winter.
So, a software engineer named Zack Thoutt decided to get creative in the meantime, using artificial intelligence to write an alternate story for the next book. As a good work of art can inspire more art to be created, this is one of the first truly interesting things I’ve seen about artificial intelligence.
He programmed an RNN (recurrent neural network) to predict the events of the final book by feeding it all the other books. Apparently the “machine learning algorithm” is modeled after the human brain to remember thousands of details in the story, to quickly analyze and digest text.
The RNN is also (in theory?) trained not to repeat events or just spit out the same info that was put into it, so the result would be more original.
According to the Observer:
“Thoutt uploaded the first five Game of Thrones books to the RNN so it could write its own version of The Winds of Winter. And while in some cases the network wrote about characters who had already died, overall it kept the thread of the story intact.”
The engineer said he started every chapter by giving the RNN a character name like Jaime or Tyrion, and then a word count to remain within the frame of.
“There is no editing other than supplying the network that first prime word,” he said. The honest, uncut result might be more interesting than a polished one, because the RNN develops phrases such as “winesink” or “onion concubine.” It might break the rules of grammar and say things like “I miss for it.”
The RNN created a completely new character named Greenbeard, a “big blind bearded pimple.” It predicted that Daenerys would be poisoned, Jaime Lannister would kill Cersei, and that Jon Snow would mount a dragon.
In my opinion, the more decentralized and non-institutionally connected an AI project is, the better.
The arts are the place for far out technologies and things like artificial intelligence in my opinion. In a peaceful world, these technologies might be used for fun, for artistic endeavors and creative expression instead of for mass surveillance, marketing, or manipulation of people as entities wielding AI research are suspected to be after.
(Featured image: John Snow, Episode: “Beyond the Wall” Screenshot, HBO)