Ever wanted to pick the brain of Sir Isaac Newton, Mary Shelley, or Benjamin Franklin? Now you can (kinda), thanks to a new experiment by magician and novelist Andrew Mayne.
The project — called AI|Writer — uses OpenAI's new text generator API to create simulated conversations with virtual historical figures or fictional characters. The system first works out the purpose of the message and the intended recipient by searching for patterns in the text. It then uses the API's internal knowledge of that person to guess how they would respond in their written voice.
The digitized characters can answer questions about their work, explain scientific theories, or offer their opinions. For example, Marie Curie gave a lesson on radiation, H.G. Wells revealed his inspiration for The Time Machine, while Alfred Hitchcock compared Christopher Nolan's Interstellar to Stanley Kubrick's 2001.
As well as historical figures, the system can respond in the voice of fictional characters. In fact, Mayne says the most "touching" message he's received was this reply from the Incredible Hulk.
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