Thursday, September 20, 2007

pattern recognition circa 2003

By the age of 28, Ray Kurzweil had invented a print-to-speech reading machine for the blind that caught the attention of Stevie Wonder.

In November 2003, Kurzweil and John Keklak, an engineer, received patent No. 6,647,395, covering what Mr. Kurzweil calls a cybernetic poet. Essentially, it is software that allows a computer to create poetry by imitating but not plagiarizing the styles and vocabularies of human poets.

It works something like a cyberblender.

Here is a poem the cybernetic poet wrote after "reading" poems by Wendy Dennis, a poet employed by Mr. Kurzweil:

Sashay down the page
through the lioness
nestled in my soul.

While other poetry-generating software exists, Mr. Kurzweil said, it is less sophisticated than his. "Those are fixed, fill-in-the-blank approaches that resemble the Mad Libs game," he said. "They are not really trying to create new patterns based on a more flexible pattern structure."

"The real power of human thinking is based on recognizing patterns."

From a New York Times article.