Artificial Intelligence: Now Taking The Words Right Out Of Our Mouths I enjoy poetry, both reading and writing it, though I find a fair amount of it insufferable, including a fair amount of my own.

A lot of poetic ideas begin as dreck (as they must, or they won’t begin at all). But — this is the secret — if you somehow strike the balance of stifling your inner editor while still powering through revisions, eventually you might end up with something that truly sparkles and surprises: the musicality of language and the expression of a feeling or experience that no straightforward telling can approximate.

Or sometimes it happens on the first try.

In any case, I was interested to read this week in Vox about public access ( to a new version of a synthetic-language system developed by OpenAI, a founder of which was Elon Musk. Artificial intelligence is designed to construct coherent paragraphs by adapting “to the style and content of the conditioning test.”

I was game for an experiment. But I wasn’t about to volunteer writing I like, so I dug up some literally navel-gazing dreck I once thought up in the shower, then entered it into the engine.

Here’s me, kicking things off:

Water from the shower head,

willed from the tap,

spatters off my body as I scrub.

Rivulets scamper

the shower door,

down the simplest

path allowed.

And here’s AI, completing the thought:

We’ve found a good place,

to live without any rules,

no expectations.

I say, “You’ve got to pay with your life.”

You say, “If you’re a free mind, it means you’re not worth anything.”

I’ll never let it go this way,

I know that there must be something that can kill me.

The thought of death

will send me into another wave.