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The Next Hot Job in Silicon Valley Is For Poets (washingtonpost.com) 58

An anonymous reader shares an article on Washington Post: As tech behemoths and a wave of start-ups double down on virtual assistants that can chat with human beings, writing for AI is becoming a hot job in Silicon Valley. Behind Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana are not just software engineers. Increasingly, there are poets, comedians, fiction writers, and other artistic types charged with engineering the personalities for a fast-growing crop of artificial intelligence tools. A new crop of virtual assistant start-ups, whose products will soon flood the market, have in mind more ambitious bots that can interact seamlessly with human beings. Because this wave of technology is distinguished by the ability to chat, writers for AI must focus on making the conversation feel natural. Designers for Amazon's Alexa have built humanizing "hmms," and "ums" into her responses to questions. Apple's Siri assistant is known for her wry jokes, as well as her ability to beatbox upon request.
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The Next Hot Job in Silicon Valley Is For Poets

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  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Friday April 08, 2016 @10:44AM (#51867707)

    Hi

    Bob: robot wait that can't be right.

    robot: that is my real name and I'm a real person.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    As AI puts lawyers, doctors, and other highly paid professionals out of business ... suddenly liberal arts majors are in high demand. At what point did I fall down that rabbit hole?
    • As AI puts lawyers, doctors, and other highly paid professionals out of business ... suddenly liberal arts majors are in high demand. At what point did I fall down that rabbit hole?

      ...it's almost as if there's some tangible, real-world value in a liberal arts education that's been neglected in tech circles through years of derision and mockery...

      • [...] tangible, real-world value in a liberal arts education [...]

        It's called being a well-rounded human being.

      • by EvilSS ( 557649 )

        As AI puts lawyers, doctors, and other highly paid professionals out of business ... suddenly liberal arts majors are in high demand. At what point did I fall down that rabbit hole?

        ...it's almost as if there's some tangible, real-world value in a liberal arts education that's been neglected in tech circles through years of derision and mockery...

        No, I'm pretty sure that can't be right...

      • That would be the 'A' in 'STEM' [ufl.edu].

  • ... I've always wanted Patrick Stewart to be my personal assistant.

  • I'm already looking forward to a new set of Shakespeare's sonnets.

  • by American AC in Paris ( 230456 ) on Friday April 08, 2016 @10:53AM (#51867781) Homepage
    There once was a poet from Kansas
    Who landed a job for her stanzas
    But all joy departed
    The moment rent started
    To burn massive holes in her pantses
  • I never forgot the perl haiku contest a few yrs ago. My favorite one cuz it made me laugh for a week.

    http://developers.slashdot.org... [slashdot.org]

    fp.pl? (Score:5, Funny)
    by CptChipJew ( 301983 ) Alter Relationship on Friday January 23, 2004 @12:24AM (#8062958) Homepage Journal

    open(heart_to_perl);
    content-type: haiku/firstpost;
    or die "i fail it";

  • by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Friday April 08, 2016 @10:56AM (#51867811) Homepage Journal
    Again: Siri,etc is NOT AI. It is just voice recognition attached to a database.
  • Does that also mean ending phrases with "So..." and "stuff like that"?
  • by mi ( 197448 ) <slashdot-2017q4@virtual-estates.net> on Friday April 08, 2016 @11:13AM (#51867905) Homepage Journal

    For ages and generations an artist (writer, composer, singer, dancer, painter, what have you) had to be either independently wealthy or have a rich sponsor to create.

    Cheap replication (coupled with strong copyrights and intellectual property laws) have helped, but it still requires a strong business acumen in addition to artistic talent for an artist to prosper.

    If, indeed, computers and robots [medium.com] take up more of the drudgery in the next industrial revolution, the creative jobs may proliferate... And I don't mean simply people majoring in Arts, who then "sell out" to earn more [insidehighered.com] — the actual artists. People, who want to be musicians today, but are (mediocre) programmers instead, because music does not pay... Maybe, it will?

    Supposedly, AIs will be able to create art [wired.com] too, but I suspect, people will eventually treat such creations — deservingly or not — the way art-reproductions are treated today.

    (To spoil the impression this post may have created in your mind, I'll point out, that this all may happen just as the people pushed to STEM by government [ed.gov] enter the workforce...)

    • That we'll see mass unemployment and social unrest. A lot of people don't want to be thinkers and creators. Also very few people have the raw talent to create art good enough for an audience. It's one thing to post your sketch to deviant art and have 12 people comment on it, it's another thing entirely to make a living off it. To put it another way, when the next industrial revolution starts putting people out of work where are we gonna get the money to pay all these so-so artists? Look at how hard getting
      • by mi ( 197448 )

        It's one thing to post your sketch to deviant art and have 12 people comment on it, it's another thing entirely to make a living off it.

        Sure. But the art of computer programming is not for everyone either. And yet, countless thousands of mediocre programmers are reasonably well-off because of demand. A similar spike in demand may explode the ranks of artists. And, sure, many will be quite mediocre — but, perhaps, not quite as many. Because business acumen will not be as important for "living off it",

  • "Poetry is nobody's business except the poet's," wrote Philip Larkin, "and everybody else can fuck off."

    Poets like Walt Whitman don't exist any more. Did they suddenly change recently and become pro-human? Or are they still hostile elitists who despise ordinary Americans?

    • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

      Did they suddenly change recently and become pro-human? Or are they still hostile elitists who despise ordinary Americans?

      Absolutely not. They're actually hostile elitists who despise everyone, including themselves. And they like it. Which only increases their self-loathing.

  • Poets (Score:5, Funny)

    by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Friday April 08, 2016 @11:51AM (#51868213)

    Isn't that a coincidence - today is POETS day

    Piss Off Early, Tomorrow's Saturday

  • ...are you telling me you can be successful without a STEM degree?? Unpossible!

    Also, this pretty much double's down on the common wisdom that programmers suck at being human or relating to humans and can't translate 'human' into code. As much as their Aspie little hearts wish they could.

    • ...are you telling me you can be successful without a STEM degree?

      How do you define successful? I consider myself to be successful by living a modest lifestyle in Silicon Valley. My brother, 30 miles away in Morgan Hill, considers me a loser because I don't have a big house, multiple cars and designer jeans.

  • That explains a lot of the work coming out of Redmond.

  • Man, now I want to go back and read the Watchmen graphic novel again.

  • There once was a man from Nantucket...

    Hey, if we can teach the Microsoft bot bad things in a few days, imagine what we could do with a full-time job!

  • My Loreum your Ipsum input not found, you dolor.
  • A I is coming - Welcome robot Overlord - Now metal is flesh
  • http://qz.com/657433/donald-tr... [qz.com]

    No, the article does not condone him. Just explain his method and style fits more with poetry than logic.

  • Unless it helps us and actively seeks out the productive redeployment of the displaced, just kill it.

    Since AI is being used against humans (due to its job destruction speed being faster than any same-level human creation speed), there is no place for it in this day and age.

  • A young lad wanted to be a great writer when he grew up. To write things that millions of people would actually read. Things that would make the think, make them cry, make them howl with range.

    So he got a job writing Excel error messages.

    (Substitute something more modern for Excel if you like, but that is how I heard it originally.)

  • This is funny because my first job in San francisco was for a software robot company; the founder had exactly that idea: we make the chatterbot, and then we hire a room full of English Majors to program the chatterbots.

    So we had a room full of people who knew nothing about computers, essentially programming using a weird, proprietary scripting language. It was a disaster. Eventually they were programming frameworks and math libraries in chatterbot script.... it was spaghetti to the ceiling.

    The company went

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