Ghost Fictions: Automatic Writing in the Age of Machine Learning

20 May 2021, 10:30 - 14:30


Computational techniques for generating ‘natural’ language through statistical models created using huge datasets in conjunction with neural networks have advanced rapidly in recent years. These ‘Large Language Models’, such as GPT-3 and BERT, can be used for a wide range of tasks with little or no modification, including writing short stories, answering philosophical questions and apparently proposing potential medical treatments -- although GPT-3 did have some difficulty with the question “how many eyes does a horse have?”

This workshop will delve into the production of such ‘synthetic’ or ‘ghost-written’ texts combining insights from speculative fiction, computer science and digital humanities, through a combination of demonstrations, discussion and hands-on experimentation with automated text generation. 

No knowledge of programming is required. Participants who wish to take part in the practical experiments will need a Google account. 



Jo Walton
Anne Alexander
Caroline Bassett
Alan Blackwell 



Live session 1: 11.30am - 1pm
Lunch break / experimentation lab: 1 - 2.30pm
Live session 2: 2.30 - 3.30pm 



This event is part of CRASSH's 20th anniversary programme on the theme of 'Global Conversations'.