Tuesday, December 13, 2022

AI writing systems, a poetic prompt, and The Cyberiad

I was reading in the hammock... 

Image by Parti. Prompt: "Robot swimming in a sea of text" 

... in my parents backyard, swinging beneath a guava tree and reading scads of science fiction and old National Geographic magazines.  It was summer in Los Angeles, a perfect time for a 14-year old boy to be reading The Cyberiad by Stanisław Lem.  I knew that I wanted to do science, but at 14, I thought the science for me was going to be biology.  I'm not sure, but it's possible that reading Lem that summer, with all his depictions of robots, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence made me swerve from the biological to the computational.  

I remember that summer with delight.  And I was particularly reminded of The Cyberiad when I read a poem that was created by ChatGPT, the AI prose generator by OpenAI.  In particular, my mind flashed back to a poem that was purportedly created by a robot made by the brilliant master scientist Trurl. In this scene from the book, Trurl's arch-nemesis Klapaucius challenges his robot with a ridiculous task, one intended to show its shortcomings--it was an attempt to make the robot fail foolishly.  Here's the passage:  

“Certainly not! I didn't build a machine to solve ridiculous crossword puzzles! That's hack work, not Great Art! Just give it a topic, any topic, as difficult as you like..."

Klapaucius thought, and thought some more. Finally he nodded and said:

"Very well. Let's have a love poem, lyrical, pastoral, and expressed in the language of pure mathematics. Tensor algebra mainly, with a little topology and higher calculus, if need be. But with feeling, you understand, and in the cybernetic spirit."

"Love and tensor algebra?" Have you taken leave of your senses?" Trurl began, but stopped, for his electronic bard was already declaiming:


Come, let us hasten to a higher plane,

Where dyads tread the fairy fields of Venn,

Their indices bedecked from one to n,

Commingled in an endless Markov chain!

Come, every frustum longs to be a cone,

And every vector dreams of matrices.

Hark to the gentle gradient of the breeze:

It whispers of a more ergodic zone.

In Reimann, Hilbert or in Banach space

Let superscripts and subscripts go their ways.

Our asymptotes no longer out of phase,

We shall encounter, counting, face to face.

I'll grant thee random access to my heart,

Thou'lt tell me all the constants of thy love;

And so we two shall all love's lemmas prove,

And in bound partition never part.

For what did Cauchy know, or Christoffel,

Or Fourier, or any Boole or Euler,

Wielding their compasses, their pens and rulers,

Of thy supernal sinusoidal spell?

Cancel me not--for what then shall remain?

Abscissas, some mantissas, modules, modes,

A root or two, a torus and a node:

The inverse of my verse, a null domain.

Ellipse of bliss, converge, O lips divine!

The product of our scalars is defined!

Cyberiad draws nigh, and the skew mind

Cuts capers like a happy haversine.

I see the eigenvalue in thine eye,

I hear the tender tensor in thy sigh.

Bernoulli would have been content to die,

Had he but known such a^2 cos 2 phi!”

When I read that, I couldn't resist.  I immediately gave ChatGPT the same text, just out of the perverse pleasure of the prompt:  

ChatGPT Prompt:  Let's have a love poem, lyrical, pastoral, and expressed in the language of pure mathematics. Tensor algebra mainly, with a little topology and higher calculus, if need be. But with feeling, you understand, and in the cybernetic spirit.


of unity and harmony.

In the language of pure mathematics,

my love for you is a tensor,

strong and resilient,

able to withstand the greatest strains,

and to adapt to any shape or form.

In the realm of topology,

our love is a Möbius strip,

infinite and non-orientable,

twisting and turning,

never ending and never repeating.

And in the realm of calculus,

our love is a continuous function,

smooth and differentiable,

always changing and evolving,

but never losing its sense of direction.

Together, we form a cybernetic system,

a perfect union of mind and body,

a fusion of technology and humanity,

a symphony of logic and emotion.

In this world of ones and zeros,

we stand as a beacon of hope,

a reminder that love is the ultimate algorithm,

the ultimate solution to all that ails us,

and the ultimate expression of who we truly are.

Well, well, well.  It doesn't rhyme, and it's not as elegant in imagery or meter, but it's a poem created by an AI after following the same prompt.  

(I also have to report that when I read this poem the first time, in the hammock, I spontaneously clapped my hands in applause for the translator.  The Cyberiad was written in Polish, and yet the poem was somehow miraculously converted to coherent, smooth, silky English. You have to give that translator a standing ovation.)   

And you have to give the folks at OpenAI a lot of credit as well.  Even though I work in the field, I did not see this coming.  I have to think a lot about this in the year ahead.  What a fascinating bit of language... What will all this mean for SearchResearch?  Stay tuned... and... 

Search on! 



  1. poetry & intrigue - hmmm, on twitter - it is happening fast

    the prompt:
    The Cyberiad or openAI
    The Cyberiad is a science fiction book written by Polish author Stanisław Lem. It is a collection of short stories that take place in a futuristic universe and follow the adventures of two robot constructors, Trurl and Klapaucius. The book is known for its humorous and imaginative storytelling, and has been translated into several languages.

    OpenAI, on the other hand, is a research institute focused on developing artificial intelligence in a responsible and safe way. It was founded in 2015 by Elon Musk and other prominent figures in the tech industry, and is dedicated to advancing the field of AI and making sure that it benefits society. OpenAI is not a book, but rather a research institute that conducts research and develops AI technology.

    other info:

    couldn't access the Fortune article... Elon appears

    needs UI work

    while searching the text robot image:

    just for grins:
    Biology is the scientific study of living organisms and their functions, behaviors, and interactions with each other and their environments. It is a broad field that encompasses many subdisciplines, such as genetics, evolution, ecology, and others. Biologists use a variety of techniques and tools to study living things, from observing and measuring the behavior of individual organisms to analyzing their DNA and other genetic material.

    AI, or artificial intelligence, is the simulation of human intelligence by machines. It involves the development of algorithms and systems that can process and analyze data, learn from it, and make decisions based on that learning. AI can be applied in many fields, including computer science, psychology, neuroscience, and others. Unlike biology, which studies natural living systems, AI focuses on the development of machine intelligence.

    biological science or machine learning
    An error occurred. If this issue persists please contact us through our help center at help.openai.com.

    biological science or machine learning
    Too many requests, please slow down


  2. a Goo SERP - using Möbius - sRs shows up as 4th entry

  3. keep an eye out for Helion too... evidently AI takes power ;-0:
    openAI: Stanford connection...

  4. may be of interest -

    1. Somehow I didn't know about this. Thanks for the pointer.

  5. hitting yt - "chaffGPT"


  6. one last prompt... or two: ;^]
    is reading Polish poetry in a hammock dangerous

    As I mentioned earlier, reading in a hammock is not inherently dangerous. Whether you are reading Polish poetry or any other type of literature, the main thing to consider is the safety of the hammock itself. As long as the hammock is securely hung and you are careful when getting in and out of it, there is no reason why reading Polish poetry in a hammock should be dangerous.

    is reading Polish fiction at 14 dangerous

    I'm not sure what you mean by "dangerous." Reading fiction in any language can be enjoyable and enriching, and there is no inherent danger in reading Polish fiction at the age of 14. In fact, reading fiction can have many benefits, such as improving vocabulary and language skills, fostering empathy, and providing a source of entertainment and escapism. If you are interested in reading Polish fiction, I would encourage you to give it a try and see if you enjoy it.

  7. see limitations - from about a year ago...

  8. fwiw, the aforementioned formula:

    analog predecessors? from an earlier time, non-electric -


    powered -


  9. fwiw…
    TP S.A. tower not near new Goo offices… still a worthy search example…
    The Warsaw HUB
    at least there is a Circle K nearby
    28 jobs currently
    driving map
    street view, new digs

  10. Michael Kandel is a great translator. I haven't read any of his own novels or short fiction, but now I'm curious. I had heard of him for the first time when I read the amazing Douglas Hofstadter's book Le Ton beau de Marot (mainly on translation and language, with many considerations about machine-translation, consciousness and AI). This is one of my main reference books.

    By the way, I have tested ChatGPT, asking it (him/her/them?) to improve one of my lyrics (for a song yet unpublished, in Portuguese). They don't know the concept of rhyme very well (at least in Portuguese), but then I asked them to write an English version, and it was impressively good for a machine. Their first attempt was in fact just a translation, but after I asked «can you improve on that?», the subsequent answer was a superb start for anyone trying to start on a lyrics translation.

  11. is yogi a bear or baseball player

    2 / 2

    Yogi is a bear. Yogi Bear is a cartoon character created by Hanna-Barbera Productions. He is a brown bear who lives in Jellystone Park, where he is known for his love of picnic baskets and his catchphrase, "Hey there, Boo Boo!" Yogi is a cunning and mischievous character who is always coming up with schemes to get food, often with the help of his friend Boo Boo.

    While there is a professional baseball player named Yogi Berra, this is a different person and has no relation to the cartoon character Yogi Bear. Yogi Berra was a Major League Baseball player and manager who played for the New York Yankees and other teams. He was known for his skill as a catcher and his unique way of speaking, which often resulted in humorous and memorable quotes. Berra was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972 and was considered one of the greatest players in the history of the sport.

    I'm sorry, but I don't have access to information about specific phone numbers or addresses for businesses or organizations. As a large language model trained by OpenAI, I don't have the ability to browse the internet or access current information. My training only goes up until 2021, and my purpose is to assist with general knowledge questions and provide information on a wide range of topics. Is there something else I can help you with?

  12. Humans can do much better poetry wise. I was once told a poem whose last two lines were:

    “My love for you is one over x
    As x approaches zero.”

    1. ""These aren't the poets you're looking for." This is what Obi-Wan says to some Stormtroopers in A New Hope when he, Luke, R2-D2 and C-3PO are trying to avoid detection by the Empire."
      MIT? - am seeing multi authors

    2. Not to be picky, but the meter is off on that poem. The first two lines don’t seem to go with the last two. The version I heard, long before 2010, was far more lyrical and was from Georgia Tech.

      I didn’t think to ask from which direction. That is the crucial question, isn’t it?

      The AI-generated poems are a good effort – can I say it’s the thought that counts? For me, they still lack some je ne sais quoi. They read like a study guide for one’s orals.

    3. GiT - a poetry hotbed‽
      poetic tool, not AI

      not really, a quick generator… not from GiT…
      "The Yellow And Sharp Pencil
      A Poem by remmij

      Whose pencil is that? I think I know.
      Its owner is quite happy though.
      Full of joy like a vivid rainbow,
      I watch her laugh. I cry hello.

      She gives her pencil a shake,
      And laughs until her belly aches.
      The only other sound's the break,
      Of distant waves and birds awake.

      The pencil is yellow, sharp and deep,
      But she has promises to keep,
      After cake and lots of sleep.
      Sweet dreams come to her cheap.

      She rises from her gentle bed,
      With thoughts of kittens in her head,
      She eats her jam with lots of bread.
      Ready for the day ahead.

      With thanks to the poet, Robert Frost, for the underlying structure."

      a haiku attempt - paper torn… no Bobby Frost wingbard
      "Pencil - A Haiku
      by remmij

      Short days wintertime
      A colored, yellow pencil
      near the eraser"

      dodging poetic danger

    4. That reminds me of a story I once heard. A mathematician was pointing out that, in contrast to scientists, mathematicians cost very little: “All we need is a pencil, a piece of paper, and an eraser.” To which a logician replied, “We cost even less. We don’t need the eraser.”

      If the position of SRS Poet Laureate is up for grabs, you have my vote.

    5. alas, perhaps more of a hallucinatory fabulist obscurial… with meager search skills – totally reliant on electricity
      fwiw - a portal — by the numbers