An AI-Written Play Was Performed For The First Time. It Was More NSFW Than You'd Expect

The AI used for the project was created by Elon Musk's company OpenAI, and named GPT-2. Image credit: Czech Centre London/YouTube release

Poor playwrights. As if it weren't bad enough that the world's theaters have been shut for much of the pandemic, they now have to cope with the idea of Artificial Intelligence (AI) taking over their jobs.

A play written entirely by AI – following a brief intervention from humans to let the algorithm know the basic setup – has debuted on the stage for the first time. The 60-minute play, performed by Prague’s Švanda Theatre in collaboration with The Czech Centre London, was described as "telling a story of joy and sorrow of everyday life from a robot’s point of view".

The AI used for the project, named GPT-2, was created by the company OpenAI, which was co-founded by Elon Musk. The algorithm generates text based on prompts from a computer, or other AI-generated sentences, and has been put to tasks such as generating poetry and writing fake articles. 

On this, it has mixed results, generating stories that are written in the style of real articles, but with a few obvious clues that all is not right. For instance, when we typed in the headline After Hitting His Taint, A Man Ended Up In Hospital For 9 Days With A Grade 4 Erection, the generator (which you can and should try for yourself) came back with the following story:

A young man in Australia was allegedly walking home from the pub and lost his erection for a while.

The man, who has been identified only as Daniel, was too drunk when he lost his erection, hence his mother had to rush him to hospital to get a dose of Viagra. Daniel was seen on CCTV falling over in his hometown of Sydney, and going through the door and down the stairs of his home, when he ran out of breath.

Yeah. 

Turning its algorithm equivalent of a quill to writing a play, the AI showed that it's not quite ready to take over that task from humans either. 

The dialogue for the play had a strange quality to it, even before it got oddly sexual. In one scene, a boy asks the robot to tell him a joke, to which the robot responds: 

"Okay... good. When you're dead. When your children are dead, too. Even your grandchildren, I'll still be alive."

Which you could argue is funny from the robot's perspective. The play took place last week, and the reviews are in, stating that it was... weirdly horny.

The robot goes on to chat up women with lines such as "I wish my binary self had a body like that,” and telling a masseuse "My god. Your lips are like warm honey. They're so soft," and “I’ll make love to you all over your body.”

Later, in an unrelated scene, a man pulls down his trousers and tells the robot “You’ve got a finger in my butt."

If the career in the theater doesn't work out, maybe it could try pornography. It also had problems making a coherent and interesting play, despite including the butt stuff.

"Sometimes it swapped female and male characters or clung to something irrelevant so the dialogue lost its meaning," Drama expert David Košťák said in a statement. "And there is one more obstacle the robot is having difficulties with so far – the subtext. The play is not only about what the character says, but also about what he or she actually thinks.’

Nevertheless, it does have some advantages over humans.

"The difference between a living author and artificial intelligence is that artificial intelligence does not contradict and is obedient," the director said in a video. "While authors sometimes have hard times giving up their ideas, AI starts writing again after it gets a signal and it just does it with no complaints."

 

Comments

If you liked this story, you'll love these

This website uses cookies

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By continuing to use our website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.