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Abulafia 2.0! Some progress...

I am trying to rewrite my xml/rss parser and add new functionality to it. I am using a lot of the algorithms that spambots use to cut and shuffle text. This is the most coherent output I've gotten thus far:

Between the high and the low, in this night, laying a ghost, Jeannette and the spirit became one. They whirled snow heaped up by whirled snow, and off the white smoke swims. Choices. Mère and Père, undreaming even of fields of gold. The weight of being born into exile is lifted. Mère and Père are walking away from the desert. Smeerenburg and the Whale-Oil Rush, a pallid yellow lingers beyond the frame of glided twilight. Père and Mère could be in conversation, searching for a fox whose den I cannot find.

Appendices. Whiteness. Those impediments that rise like an old soldier, wakeful, in his tent!
A salamander scuttles across the quiet to restaurants for Early Bird Specials. The food will melt the spirit; his mouth will distend.

Trying to get computer to write stuff for you is really hard work. I was at this goddamned fundie site this weekend that I stumbled across looking for code snippets, which basically was trying to debunk evolution via mutation via showing how character changes in a sentence do not lead to readable text. It made me angry.

To coach a computer into making words that make sense, you have to teach it the boundaries of language. The same way that a mutant fish with no legs that suddenly grew lungs and no gills would never reproduce, words without vowels and parseable context would not survive. However, words with slightly different spellings or nuance, which change meaning or use over time - those are the real snapper turtles.

What I am trying to do is get the algorithm to spit back meaningful sentences, made from snippets within the text warehouse. Eventually, I want it to be able to answer questions with self-written passages. I'm basically trying to make an electronic oracle. It is a longstanding project of mine, which has existed, in one form or another, since I read Foucault's Pendulum in 1990.

Even though I think Eco stole some from the Illuminati Trilogy, he took it in an original direction. Pendulum changed my life. I hope, someday, Abulafia will too.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 29th, 2007 10:28 pm (UTC)
Anything that helps people see the fnords is a good thing.

Jan. 30th, 2007 04:23 am (UTC)
best dutch WOW guild ever: for the fnords
Jan. 29th, 2007 10:56 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure I didn't understand a single sentence in this post.
Jan. 30th, 2007 04:22 am (UTC)
c'mon you mighta gotten some of it!
basically, i am writing a program that takes text from all sorts of sources and recombines it into new text that is readable by a human being.

i got the idea from a book written about 20 years ago.
the end.
Jan. 30th, 2007 03:40 pm (UTC)
Re: aw
I read Foucault's Pendalum, but obviously not that carefully cause I can't think of what inspired you.

I understood this sentence "Trying to get computer to write stuff for you is really hard work. " Although, as a grad student, trying to get me to write stuff for me is really hard work, so I wasn't that impressed by this evaluation. Although the rest of it seemed very complex.
Jan. 30th, 2007 03:45 pm (UTC)
where did The Plan come from?
In FP, one of the protagonists uses his computer to write text for them. His computer is named abulafia. It is where they get the idea, ultimately, for "the plan".

Trying to get computers to write is like getting a verbose illiterate to learn to read. They already know too much to make it easy, but not enough to help in any way.
Jan. 30th, 2007 04:54 pm (UTC)
Re: where did The Plan come from?
Ah yes. I had forgotten that obviously central part of the story. Well, good luck with that project.
Jan. 30th, 2007 12:41 am (UTC)
you shouldn't lay ghosts. bad mistake. speaking of fox spirits, i had what i'm pretty sure was an encounter with a kitsune about a month and a half ago. it was in the guise of a sixteen year old girl who did everything she could to try to get me to, uh, give her some. exceedingly odd situation. i'm going to post something about it sooner or later.

i don't use computer-generated text when writing, but stichomancy has come in very handy at times. you can get some uncanny material just flipping through books. and funnily enough, f.'s p. seems to be one of my standbys.
Jan. 30th, 2007 04:21 am (UTC)
you coulda had little spirit kitlings!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


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