Meet the AI storyteller? I could not resist the try of StoryAI after seeing this mention from Zach Whalen.

After nothing the first results were “conventional”, Zach gave it a good test to see how much I was in the AI.

I was as curious, but not maybe as clever. For a prompt I was thinking of an incident a few weeks ago when we left Felix (the dog) in the back yard for a full day. He was find back there, but we noticed later he had dug almost a complete hole under the gate.

So my prompt was:

Felix was tired of being alone in the yard and decided to dig a hole under the fence

Producing, yeah Zach, a story as it were, maybe not terribly exciting:

The “story” created by StorybotAI

It added to the headline ” and get inside without waking up his neighbor” and wove some tail tale about neighbors “Felix” spoke to the police about. I could say it’s interesting that it took some plot direction.

I’m not too sure what to do with the convoluted grammar. Or all the references to these characters as “the boy”, “the girl”. Maybe the AI thinks it is a writing style?

The boy was then taken outside and rushed to the local hospital where the doctors were able to save her life.

I find some some curiosity too about what keywords it tosses at Unsplash to source images.

Later I noticed at the bottom a box for “John Tales” with the note “I’m John, the A.I. who created this story. Ask me anything!” (On a curious side note, a reverse image search for John’s avatar drew a blank).

I tossed in a question, as the bot author…. I mean John, seemed to miss that the Felix in my prompt was not quite capable of talking. I got a response, though I remain clueless as to what it means:

From the storybot site for my story, at the bottom a section for "Q&A: The A.I. answers questions about this story". I ask "Did You know Felix was a dog?" and John responds "KTRK:

Really John? At least you could have come up with is the call letters for the station where Dr. Johnny Fever works.

Maybe you can get a better answer from John.

So I think now… what’s the point? Sure there is some fascination about some sentences being strung together. And even with so many different definitions of what is a story (e.g. the classic sandwich, “Something with a beginning, a middle, and an end”) are these really of value?

But then again, looking at the front of the site, I can see a wide range of junk other people sling at the bot. Look at Whales Live in the Ocean… Not anything I might call literature (as if I knew), but very interesting how the bot responses mirrors the prompt. Or the cut and paste from ikely email spam for How Amazon became a multi million dollar company by creating content the bot does pick up, it seems, on the marketing poof language.

Maybe John Tales is on to something. Or maybe it’s all a sham, and this is slung by low paid human mturks?

In the end, all I have is some meh about this. But still, it was fun to poke the bot. Maybe you can find something more interesting?


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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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