1 the Road

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The AI emulates a neural network

1 the Road is a novel of sixty million words, marketed as the first novel to be written by an artificial intelligence.[1] In an attempt to emulate novelist Jack Kerouacs On the Road, novelist Ross Goodwin set off across the United States in a Cadillac, from New York to New Orleans, with an artificial intelligence in a laptop hooked up to various sensors such as camera and microphone. The artificial intelligence was in the form of an LSTM (long short-term memory) recurrent neural network (RNN). The resulting book does not make complete human sense. The story begins with the time of day and the phrase "the house was heavy". The artificial intelligence was hooked up to a global positioning system (GPS) and consequently used much of the book to describe the exact coordinates of things in latitude and longitude, such as weeds in the garden.

The novel was printed on rolls of receipt paper


The AI program (artificial intelligence program), was trained to sample fiction, in preparation for the journey and novel. The AI's creation was printed on rolls of receipt paper. Goodwin works with Google for Artists and Machine Intelligence. He believes the AI is capable of writing literature, but still feels responsible for the guidance and ownership of the content. The finished publication was unedited and contains typos. Goodwin says his main purpose for this novel is to reveal the way machines create words. "In the future when this text becomes more sophisticated it's a warning. If you see patterns like this, it may not have been written by a human".[2]


Goodwin was a ghostwriter for the Obama administration. He has used neural network simulation to create poetry and screenplays. The trip was supported by friends, colleagues, and a film crew.[3]


Quotes from the book include:[3][2]

  • "All the time the sun / Is wheeling out of a dark bright ground".
  • "The time was one minute past midnight. But he was the only one who had to sit on his way back. The time was one minute after midnight and the wind was still standing on the counter and the little patch of straw was still still and the street was open".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thomas Hornigold (25 October 2018). "The First Novel Written by AI Is Here—and It's as Weird as You'd Expect It to Be". Singularity Hub. Archived from the original on 29 October 2018. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b CBC Radio (14 October 2018). "An AI and an artist go on the road. "The idea was to write a novel with a car."". CBC Radio.
  3. ^ a b BRIAN MERCHANT (1 October 2018). "When an AI Goes Full Jack Kerouac". The Atlantic.