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Turns out, computers suck at writing poems

Could you tell the difference between a poem written by a computer versus one by a human? Based on a contest at Dartmouth, the answer is a resounding yes.


Your computer might talk back to you but don't expect it to write you a sonnet.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Computers might be able to beat you in board games, but they still have a long way to go before they can outdo you in poetry. That's what we learned from a competition conducted by scientists at Dartmouth College.

The competition took place at the college's Digital Arts Expo, where computers were put through a variation on the "Turing Test," named after British computer scientist Alan Turing. In this test, judges were asked to compare poems written by computers and those by humans to see if they could tell them apart. A $3,000 prize would be awarded to the creator of the computer whose poem was mistaken for being the work of a human. The story was first reported Thursday by the Associated Press.

In the end, the prize was unclaimed. No computer taking part in the contest was able to create a poem that was comparable to one by a person.

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