The Time I Thought Tao Lin Was A Robot

Sorry, bro.

Bot or not? Lend me your thoughts
on what verses are a bot’s.

I hereby invite you to visit bot or not, a website where a piece of poetry is displayed for your reading pleasure. You must then decide whether it was written/generated by a person or a machine.

You can think of it as a poetry version of the Turing test, which gauges a machine’s ability to do something as well as or indistinguishable from a human.

In truth, I guessed most of them right, although with a few notable exceptions. For example, I was relatively sure that the following poem was written by a bot. But it was in fact written by the human Tao Lin. Knowing what little I do about Lin, though, I’m tempted to think he’d be amused by that. Here’s how the poem begins:

from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. i ate things and listened to music
someone else was feeling careful and it was making me careful
remember when i burned down someone’s house?—i was eight
someone was dreaming of careful sizes and it was making me eight…

I wasn’t alone, though–43 percent of others also thought Lin was a bot. And it appears they got the title wrong; it was listed as a repeat of the first line. But according to Poetry Genius, the poem should be titled “I have high self-esteem and it’s making me stare,” which actually might have made the difference in my guess of its authenticity. Or maybe not.

Check it out at botpoet.com.