Saturday, February 5, 2022

"Narrative Device," is a Fun Little Internet Gizmo

I was on the website Rockpapershotgun and they shared how they'd discovered a website called, "Narrative Device." Created by a Ph.D. student named Rodolfo Ocampo who is researching human-AI co-creativity, it is fun, simple, and silly. You enter two subjects, themes, whatever and it generates a paragraph. It has place guards to avoid anything raunchy or offensive but you can enter information and see what it comes up with. Sometimes it is spot on and other times it is a little wonky. Still, it is impressive to witness. For example, I entered how I wanted a story about an elephant and bacon and got this:

"Elephant and bacon were both having a great day. The elephant was eating lots of bacon, and the bacon was tasting so good that the elephant was smiling from ear to ear. The bacon even made the elephant's trunk look so happy."

Not too shabby. It has flaws though as shoes and cupcakes resulted in a story with nary a mention of cupcakes:

"Maggie had always been a shoe lover. She could never go a day without wearing a new pair, and she especially loved high heels. But one day, Maggie's feet began to hurt so badly that she couldn't even walk. She went to the doctor, who told her that she needed to stop wearing shoes. Maggie was devastated. She loved shoes so much. But, after trying different shoes and walking around without them, Maggie found that her feet felt better. She was able to wear shoes again, but she always made sure to bring a pair of sneakers with her, just in case her feet started to hurt again."

All was not lost, however. I did a prompt with joy and farts which gave me this gem:

"Joy was all around her as she walked through the park. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the smell of fresh grass was in the air. Farts, on the other hand, were not so joyous. They were smelly, and they made her feel nauseous. But she knew that they were necessary, and she hoped that they would stay in her stomach for as long as possible."

So yeah, it is a fun little tool and arguably a handy writing tool as well. You can use more than a single word in prompts as well, I just kept it simple until my final attempt. I proudly present what happened with an evil rock and a platypus:

"The evil rock was a menace to all who crossed its path. It was a dark, jagged shape, and it always seemed to be waiting to pounce on its unsuspecting victims. No one knew where the rock had come from, or how it had become so deadly. But no one was afraid of the rock. In fact, many people considered it to be a bit of a curiosity. They would stop and take pictures of it, or try to touch it, just to feel its sharp edges. One day, however, the rock met its match. A platypus was walking along the river when it came across the rock. The platypus was a powerful creature, and it didn't take long to destroy the evil rock."

In closing, I'd recommend checking out, "Narrative Device," as it is free (but accepts donations). When a lot of people are trying to access the site it can crash, so be patient. Try out all kinds of fun combinations and see what you get!

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