Bot or not; what a man can do, computers can do better

Written by
  • 8 years ago
  • Posted: February 20, 2014 at 4:05 pm

What can computers do better than man? IBM have showed us, with Watson, that computers can play highly complex language games like Jeopardy or even highly complex mathematical games like Chess and beat their human opponents.

Computers have come of age and today they can not only talk with us, give us directions, and connect us with friends but they can also write. Not only can they write in natural language but they can write good poetry too. And they have written really good poetry.

Computers that do automated tasks on the web are called bots. Such tasks include sending messages (spam) or even collecting online users’ data (phishing). Added to the list is the generation of complete poems indistinguishable from poems written by man – and so someone has created a game for you to play titled bot or not.

Your work in bot or not is to decide whether a poem was written by a computer (a bot) or not a computer (human). This is the guide as posted on

This website is a Turing test for poetry. You, the judge, have to guess whether the poem you’re reading is written by a human or by a computer. If you think a poem was written by a computer, choose ‘bot’. If you think it was written by a human, choose ‘not’.

I thought that’s easy so I clicked on Free Play and was taken to this poem:

All pirates command lively, rainy clouds.
Where is the small cloud?
Die quietly like a old sailor.
Wave swiftly like a small captain.

Should I choose bot or not? What are the clues that the the poem is written by a computer? I thought “a old” is grammatically incorrect so I chose bot, just like 66% of other users…and I was right.

See also  22 Year old techie walks away with 500,000 in Mobile App Competition

After the choice I followed the link to the procedure of how the poem was written.The poem above titled Pirates was written by ThinkZone Poetry Generator which “randomly selects sentence patterns. Then, wherever the pattern has a number, it randomly selects a word from one of the numbered word lists. You can either choose one of the sample sets of words and sentence patterns, or you can enter your own words and sentence patterns.”

You too can generate a poem using ThinkZone here.

So yes, it’s a fun game. Bot or not? Play the game by following this link and tell me know how you fair in your predictions.

I played one more time and got lucky as as opposed to 79% of players who got it wrong, I said it’s not a bot that wrote this poem by Edgar Allan Poe

From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.


What is your opinion on the topic?
Article Categories: