This snow-edged morning I rolled up the lacy flared sleeves of my 70's-inspired crimson dress and read poems written by AI bots, curled up by a faux electric fireplace. I felt as though parts of me belonged to the past, present, and future all at once.
I cupped a porcelain mug of sencha green tea infused with Italian orange in one hand as my index finger hovered over the "bot" or "human" button options on botpoet.com. Bot or Not presents you with poems and you, all-seeing, all-loving judge, must guess whether the poem was written by an AI or human poet (it's a Turing test for poetry). I found it an entertaining way to intake morning poetry and correctly guessed 7 of 10.
Warmth emanated from the electric heater at my feet which mimicked the movement of real flames. It almost felt real, and warmed me either way.
The process made me ponder what the seedling of a poem is, what makes it sprout, take root in our souls? What makes it more than just a clever collection of phrasings and innovating imagery? What lovingly nudges it up to the pedestal of a poem, something we can instinctually recognize in our guts and simultaneously worship?
I wondered too whether or not the human experience was a necessary aspect of composing a poem, deciding that simple sentience seemed sufficient. There have been auspicious and vast improvements in the arena of artificial intelligence but I'm most curious as to what they may one day feel.
I've yet to discover an AI poem that makes my heart swoon, but will continue to hunt/be patient for that. I even submitted some of my poems for consideration on Bot or Not, so who knows, you may be seeing my words besides those penned by a robot one day.
Secretly I hope you know it's me.