Poetic automata [workshop]

Soraya Braz and Fabio FON · Workshop-laboratory · 2016-2019

Award-winning workshop-laboratory offers simple artificial intelligence tools to poets and writers to create experiments in chatbots.

Poetic automata (Autômatos Poéticos, title in Portuguese) by Soraya Braz and Fabio FON was a workshop-laboratory coordinated by artists with the purpose of bringing together creators of the word – poets, writers, writers – and the technologies and practices of chatbots (also called chatterbots). Chatbots are systems that simulate a conversation, like those established between human beings. These conversations can be text-based and have dynamics similar to Internet chats. The project, then, consists of a workshop aimed at the development of creative experiments using tools and construction practices of these chatbots, adding to creative writing and the construction of a persona or character that constitutes the robot.

The project was initially carried out at the Casa das Rosas Museum – Espaço Haroldo de Campos de Poesia e Literatura, in the city of São Paulo, Brazil, in the first half of 2016, with the support of the Cultural Action Program (PROAC) award from the São Paulo state government. The workshop aimed to make each participant able to develop a proposal using the tools for building conversation robots. Starting from the spirit of the “do-it-yourself” culture, each one assimilated the syntax involved in the construction of the typical associations of these robots through the Artificial Intelligence Marking Language (AIML), as well as, experimented with different interpretation modules during the design of their experiment. During the workshop, each participant created a different creature, all of them having a strong literary bias, distancing themselves from the everyday context of this technology – as a rule, conversation robots are used as agents for educational and commercial purposes, acting as virtual attendants, being able to indicate simple guidelines or some information for visitors and customers.

Later on, also in 2016, the project was also carried out in Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, at SESC Arsenal; it was also presented as a workshop at SESC Campinas, in the interior of São Paulo. In 2019, it was again held in Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, at SESC Arsenal.

Automatic translation of the original page in Portuguese.