Computer-Generated Writing

By Marius Watz - Mail to: Last updated: January 7th 1997 (created August 3rd 1994)

The writing of texts has always been a domain dominated by humans, for obvious reasons. Even computers, data-processors by nature, have been hard put to invade this field. The data made up of human text is highly codified and convoluted meanings. One might argue that human language is fractal, since every word has mappings into other parts of the language, often self-referential or relying on a real-life context, making "dumb" translation of the map difficult.

But even though making the computer understand human codes is hard, making it manipulate them is not. The approach of letting the computer manipulate texts as symbols is interesting both from a literary and philosophical point of view. One use of this approach is interactive text generation in order to simulate dialogue, as seen in the arch-typical Eliza type of programs or any program attempting to brave the Turing test.

Another approach is to use software to produce text, either by synthesizing from pre-existing text or by using dictionaries and rules for sentence construction. The result may often resemble cut-up techniques such as those employed by the Dadaists or W.S.Burroughs, or they may pose as texts somehow created by alien modes of intelligence, vaguely familiar yet profoundly puzzling. Either way, the use of the computer to generate texts challenges the very nature of the text and the role of the author. But the texts in themselves can also be beautiful.

This page is meant to be a storing space for computer-generated writing (CGW) and information about the field in general. All contributions are more than welcome, since there is so little information easily available. Pointers to material or texts can be sent to me, I am maintaining this page out of sheer curiosity, and I would be delighted to see what you have to show and share.

Computer-Generated Texts

Resources Related to Computer-Generated Writing

Software for Computer-Generated Writing

Thanks for Forrest Richey for providing a lot of the programs found here. Pointers to more of the same are received with gratefulness.

Note that I make no guarantees that any given piece of software that can be downloaded from thee pages will work on your machine. I have only experimented with a few of them, and your mileage may vary...

World Wide Web

CGW is well suited to the WWW, where script-generated text can be delivered on-the-fly. If there are more such scripts around than are listed here, please report them to me.



DOS Software

All these programs come compressed in the ZIP format.

Mac Software

A very good source of text-processing programs is the info-mac archive of text utilities. Check out their hypertext interface.

All the following programs have been BinHex'ed. Some are compressed with Compactor Pro in addition, to reduce size.


Last updated: January 7th 1997 (created August 3rd 1994)

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