Synthetic Poetry


A robot taxi driver.

I've been experimenting with Amazon's Polly service. It's their fancy text-to-sort-of-human-style-speech system. Think "Alexa" but with a variety of voices, genders, and accents. Here's "Brian" - their English, male, received pronunciation voice - reading John Betjeman's poem "Slough": The pronunciation of all the words is incredibly lifelike. If you heard it on the radio, it […]

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A Turing Test For Self-Driving Cars


Imagine that you are sat, blindfolded, in the back of a taxi. How could you tell if you were being driven by a human or an autonomous vehicle? If you've not read Alan Turing's The Imitation Game, I can highly recommend it. The paper is short, well written, and contains a whole world of ideas. […]

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Quoting Page Numbers from eBooks Considered Harmful


It emerged this morning* that the Guardian newspaper has realised that the way it writes is unsuitable for the web. *Source: Guardian Newspaper, 18/11/2011, page http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/mind-your-language/2011/feb/18/mind-your-language-day-date-time By using non-specific language, I have introduced a degree of ambiguity which makes it hard for reader - both in the present day and the future - to understand […]

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