Artificial Intelligence Novel Competition Award Winners
Will writers lose their jobs to technology?
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Only a few fear that artificial intelligence (AI) will annihilate mankind, but many do worry that it will replace their jobs. Some repetitive and analytical jobs such as writing sports or stock news have in fact been mostly replaced by algorithms. In this era, a team of Hanyang University undergraduate students have developed an AI that can write fiction.
Led by Ko Hyung-kwon (Mathematics, 4thyear), the team named Long Short-term Memory (LSTM), a type of network the team used to enable deep learning, won the silver medal from the KT Artificial Intelligence Novel Contest on August 17, 2018 with their novel titled, ‘The Rebel.’ LSTM was the only team to be composed of undergraduate engineering students among all other competitors.
Ko and three other team members, Lee Kyu-won (Industrial Engineering, 4th year), Jung Jae-eun (Industrial Engineering, 4th year), and Yoon Cheol-ju (Industrial Engineering, 4th year) met and formed their team in the IE Capstone Design class, where students must conduct group research on any topic. Ko originally recruited the team with the research focus on AI's writing poems but quickly changed the route to novels when they learned about the competition.
Working for about four months on the project beginning in March, the team had spent a lot of time studying what an AI is. “There are a lot of open source algorithms that can create stuff, but as we had no prior knowledge of AI, we had to start from scratch by studying,” reminisced Lee. The hardest part of studying was that there were not many available materials in Korean. Ko remarked, “as a team leader, I had to know more than my team members, so I took online courses from prestigious U.S. universities despite my poor English.”
On top of the industriously-acquired knowledge, the team built their algorithm in a quite innovative way. Realizing the inevitability of human intervention, the team tried to minimize it by coding the AI to recommend five possible sentences that follow the previous one. “To make the computer understand the characteristics of sentences, whether it is part of a dialogue or a descriptive sentence, we had to tag all the sentences in the input database,” Ko said. Therefore, ‘The Rebel,' a high school romance fiction, was created. “We had to utilize online fiction for copyright issues, and the vast majority of the available source for the sentences were romantic novels,” mentioned Jung.
To the question, ‘Is AI really life-threatening?’ All the team members crossed their heads. Yoon added, “I thought it would be, so I planned to take my career down that road. But as I learned more and struggled myself, I was able to feel the barrier still existing in many ways, especially in the creative work.” The team has now disbanded, and the members are expecting to graduate soon. They all have different plans, but the intense experience has influenced their career path to research or work in a related field.
Click to read 'The Rebel'
Kim So-yun firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Park Geun-hyung
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