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    Automatic writing

    Published on 15/10/2014 by David Birkett

    Technological advances have made a profound impact on most aspects of the book trade.  E-books, digital printing, print-on-demand and other developments are transforming the way books are printed and sold, but (so far) the business of creating the content for books has remained within the human province.  An interesting project called The What-If Machine (WHIM), aims to ‘build a software system able to invent, evaluate and present fictional ideas with real cultural value for artefacts such as stories, jokes, films, paintings and advertisements’.  Their website explains the project and allows visitors to construct their own ‘What if’ questions as narrative ideas.  George Orwell, among others, foresaw this idea in 1984:  ‘Julia was twenty-six years old... and she worked, as he had guessed, on the novel-writing machines in the Fiction Department.’

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