Tag Archives: technology

I Flick Through Contacts On My Mobile Phone

I flick through
Contacts on my mobile phone.
True they
Make it easy to
Keep in touch by phone
Or text,
Although it does vex
Me that technology
Renders memory
Unnecessary, for why keep
In your head
Numbers stored on the cold phone?
And you sleep
Forever in a house of stone,
Your number, dead,
On my useless phone.

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When Men Reach The Stars

When men
Reach the stars
And girls lose their bras
At the click of a mouse.
And men
Can be
Whatever they wish to be
In the virtual house,
I wonder will we
Be happy
Or free.

Researchers Trained Computers To Write Poetry

Researchers have developed a bot capable of writing poetry. Having been fed a good deal of verse, the programme is, apparently capable of tricking humans and has come up with many poems, including the example below:

“With joyous gambols gay and still array
No longer when he twas, while in his day
At first to pass in all delightful ways
Around him, charming and of all his days”.

The New York Post describes the above as “not bad”. While I would agree that this sample of verse is interesting, I wouldn’t describe it as “not bad”. To me it reads rather like a computer programme had been fed the complete poetic works of the humorous poet Edward Lear and come up with this short poem. The verse is, for me also reminiscent of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky.

Poetry is, in the final analysis an expression of human emotion, whether sadness, happiness, anger or a combination of various emotions. At present only humans can feel emotion (as opposed to being able to simulate it), so what the researches have created is a clever programme capable of soaking up the poetry produced by others and using its “knowledge”? to produce it’s own attempts at poetry. The programme is producing nothing original, although it has, admittedly knitted together the poetic cannon to produce some interesting results.

To read the article please follow this link, https://nypost.com/2018/08/08/researchers-trained-robots-to-write-poetry/.

I Sit in Quietude

I sit in quietude
With no
Tech to intrude.
I know
The inanity
And vanity
Of all
This stuff.
Birds call
Yet most men hear not
For the white hot
Heat of technology beckons.
I count the cost
Of countless seconds
Lost
In this screen
Dream
Where you and I
Fly, but never see the sky.

We are a nation of scrollers not readers, and tech billionaires are to blame

An article in The Guardian’s opinion section argues that we (in the UK) are a nation of scrollers rather than readers, and that the blame for this lies at the door of the tech billionaires, (see https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/may/08/nation-scrollers-readers-read-netflix-twitter-books-mark-zuckerberg).

Its very easy to blame others for one’s own shortcomings methinks . . .

Will People Still Read Poetry In 100 Years Time?

“Will people still read poetry in 100 years time?”, my friend Toby said as we sat in a pub in central London. “Yes” I replied.

We live in a world obsessed with material things. Whether one is watching a production of “Wuthering Heights” on commercial television or a trashy talent show, the advertisements are sure to interrupt one’s viewing with tedious regularity. Beautiful women imply that if men purchase certain products they will obtain the girl of their dreams, while other comercials exhort us to buy the latest gadgets (even though those we own are hardly out of their packaging and work perfectly well). Given this world of plastic smiles, where the sun always shines, its tempting to think that poetry is irrelevant as we find ourselves through endless consumption of products.

The idea that we are drowning in a sea of vapid consumerism is far from new. Take, for example William Wordsworth’s 19th-century poem “The World Is Too Much With us”:

“The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn”.
(https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45564/the-world-is-too-much-with-us).

Wordsworth is right when he says “getting and spending, we lay waste our powers”. Indeed in this age of the internet and 24-hour television his poem is, perhaps even more relevant than when he penned it. However, modernity which as brought us TV shows where the foolish and the inadequate make fools of themselves for the enjoyment of the viewers, has also ushered in a plethora of high quality classic serials (and full length dramatisations) in which the great works of literature fill our screens. Technology now exists which allows the recording of programmes while disregarding the commercial break. Tech is, indeed a double-edged sword!

The internet is full of vapid celebrities living “perfect” lives. It is, however also replete with websites and blogs which furnish everything from William Wordsworth to William Shakespeare. The web also allows poets who might otherwise have languished unread to gain a following (and perhaps fame) in the digital age.

So in answer to my friend Toby, I conclude by saying that the glass is neither full nor empty. It is somewhere between those two states. Advertising may drive us bonkers (this is certainly true with me), however one can find solace in poetry which proliferates both in print and online.

As always I would be interested in the perspectives of my readers.

Kevin