American killjoys like Elon Musk thrive on cultivating anti-robot racism, but Japan knows what’s up: robots are awesome and can do anything worth doing. They can kiss people, herd sheep, cook salmon, be salmon, and can even write novels. Just like space aliens and animals can, according to South Africa’s Mail and Guardian:
The Hoshi prize, the Japanese science fiction award set up last year, hopes that next year’s competition will see stories created by artificial intelligences (AIs) going up against those written by humans, with judges to be unaware of who – or what – wrote an entry until the winner is chosen.
Hoshi’s daughter, Marina Hoshi Whyte, said that, alongside human competitors, the prize would accept entries from computers as well as “from other nonhumans, such as space aliens and animals, as long as they are written in Japanese”. “It is sort of a joke, but for real,” she said.
See, it’s that can-do, equal-opportunity spirit that makes us love Japan so much. We also take heart in knowing that as per the article’s title — “If Dan Brown Can Write, So Can Robots” — everybody, regardless of nation, race, color, or creed, can unite under the knowledge that Dan Brown sucks.
Who else would it be more efficient to replace with a robot, we wonder?
Nicholas Sparks is an affable schmaltz factory. His plots are all carefully calculated to make you feel warm gentle yearning feelings. The end result’s the literary equivalent of a one-night stand: it felt so good at the time, but leaves you filled with quiet shame and regret afterward. His books are all carefully crafted, but nonetheless we feel fairly sure any self-respecting AI could devise and carry out an algorithm to make you feel twice as good, and then four times as dirty.
Stephen R. Donaldson
Award-winning fantasy and science fiction novelist Stephen R. Donaldson does not understand that flawed, realistic characters still need to be likeable. His characters are famously a bunch of toxic, violent, irritable, whiny, self-pitying sociopaths. Even a cold, heartless, emotionless robot author with no understanding of virtue or ethics can provide its readers with occasional moments of kindness or empathy, we trust.
L. Ron Hubbard
Cult founder and hack author L. Ron Hubbard strung together information about as well as any semi-random data generator could. A decently clever AI could put together a plot better than some bombastic pulp nonsense about nine-foot aliens called Psychlos. And look at this excerpt from his 1961 Scientology screed “Clean Hands Make A Happy Life”, which reads suspiciously like something from Google Translate, rather than anything an operating Thetan would write:
All mankind lives and each man strives by codes of conduct mutually agreed. Perhaps these codes are good, perhaps they’re bad, it’s only evident they’re codes. Mores bind the race. Co-action then occurs. Thought and motion in accord. A oneness then of purpose and survival so results. But now against that code there is transgression. And so because the code was held, whatever code it was, and man sought comfort in man’s company, he held back his deed and so entered then the bourne in which no being laughs or has a freedom in his heart.
Just like one of any number of spiteful computers out to get Captain Kirk, professional hate-spigot Ayn Rand believed she was the most rational being alive. Her characters engage in rote, bewildering romances with each other, typified by use of violent force and breathless praise of the size of John Galt’s financial endowments. No, the more we think about it, the more we feel fairly certain the Randroid was already inhuman. And she’d probably be flattered to hear us say that.
We staff writers here at Bitter Empire look forward to our inevitable John Henry-esque snark-off between us and the site’s brand-new Sarcasmo(TM) Listicle Generator 3000. We’ll all go down in flames, we’re sure, least of all because there’ll probably be Predator drones involved. (It’s only rational to cheat.) But oh, think of the clickthroughs!