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Autogenerated Writing, NationStates, and You

For discussion and debate about anything. (Not a roleplay related forum; out-of-character commentary only.)
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Diarcesia
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Autogenerated Writing, NationStates, and You

Postby Diarcesia » Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:00 am

The (watered-down) release of OpenAI's GPT-2 NLP model caused quite a stir recently. Cursory googling news related to it gave me search results like:


Since the political and societal implications of this - and future technology that will stem from it - would be talked comprehensively enough elsewhere, let's discuss its possible use in a different realm. RPing in sites like NS. What would this mean to its users?

On one hand, the "Fake News" aspect of OpenAI proves to be a blessing for NS since, well, we're writing actual Fake News in our Fake Countries within a Fictional Setting in the NS Multiverse. The twist and turns the model will take can open interesting paths in worldbuilding our nations with believable articles or pieces written by its citizens. Imagine reading maintenance threads with regular columns by different in0universe authors with wildly differing personalities, fleshing out the story of their country's reactions with Maxtopians and Bigtopians by the day.

A flip side I can anticipate, however, is intellectual dishonesty. How will a group of users RPing a diplomatic summit in International Incidents react if one of them were continuously giving top-notch posts that, it turns out, were actually created by a robot? How about if someone decides to use it to crank up RP posts in NS Sports where bonuses apply to next day's scorination results?

Given these items, and my general feeling of cautious optimism in such a tool, I can give a potential use case. When I heard of GPT-2's release, I'm contemplating the creation of a Nation Maintenance thread of my own, with posts generated by the model and then edited by hand so that they properly belong to a Diarcesian context. For the purposes of the demonstration, I will use the recently concluded XIII Summer Olympics at Republica to create a very paraphrased statement and let GPT-2 use it to create a post.

My initial prompt started with "Diarcesia bagged three golds, five silvers, and four bronzes in the XIII Olympiad." and I had to tweak it and make its context narrower whenever the model gives a wildly out-of-context result. If the prompt is already specific enough, it can be inputted again to tell the model to "fit" more what you wrote. The final form of the prompt is used below:

System Prompt (human-written, second try): In the XIIIth NS Summer Olympics, held between 8 January to 16 February 2019 and hosted by the Free Republics in the capital city of Republica, the Diarcesian delegation earned three gold, five silver, and four bronze medals. The host country won the most golds with 51. West Phoenicia, Cassadaigua, and Vakolicci Haven and Celeria followed with 47, 34, and 20 gold medals, respectively.
Autogenerated Post:
This Post is Partially Generated by GPT-2 by OpenAI (OOC: This is the only line that I added before I edit the post itself)
The final medal was given to the Republic of Macedonia by Alexander I. The delegation won the highest medal with the group with three bronze on the left: the Silver Trophy for Unwavering Service, awarded in 2014 to the Macedonia-Nipissing-Varna-Lebanon-Croatia Association, after winning its sixth gold under the Olympic program, and also for the most medals under the program, and the gold for the program with three. The award goes to the group of the Netherlands in 2016, awarded under the Olympic program under the title of 'Olympic Sport' or 'National Team'. The bronze and silver awards are the highest ever.

The Olympic Games of 1999, hosted between 2 August to 5 February 2000 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, marked the third time that teams from the United States and Great Britain participated in the Games. A joint selection committee of twelve of the thirteen nations were selected from a pool of 30 teams from across the world. The five nations of the Olympic competition were selected by two of the nine members of the Selection Committee of the European Council. The competition was also run in conjunction with the World Cup of 2000; the three-day Games will run from 10 June to 27 November 1999.

In the second world championship of the World Cup of 2002, sponsored by Denmark, Denmark's third world champion, Björn Nygaard and Sweden's only ever, the men's three-time Olympian, Kristin Wachs, won a gold medal for their country on the final day of the event. Wachs won the bronze medal on the same day as the men's three-time Olympic finalist, Thomas Höcke, but in the last three years he has not won a gold medal. In his third world title as a player he is the highest player of all time to ever play in the Olympic Games.

The European Under-17 Olympiad Tournament was held in Brussels, Belgium, for the third time when 18-year-old Wachs and 10-year-old Nygaard, each from Germany, competed in the event. The three-time Olympian earned a gold medal for Germany when he beat Norway in the first round and then in the third round against Denmark in the second round.

On the fifth day of the competition, the U.S. team at the end of the group stage played Slovakia. At 3:00 on the 1st of July, the U.S. team lost a 2-0


What would I do next after that? That's where I change details like the countries involved, the events that took place, and some other 'facts' to be more in line with what transpired in the Republica Olympics. You may ask "Why did you add a disclaimer at the top of the demo post?" My answer is that if we are to use tools like OpenAI for RPs, stating outright that it was autogenerated at least partially is the least we can do.

To the other humans among us, what are your thoughts?

And don't worry, aside from the spoilered demo, the rest is hand-crafted.
Last edited by Diarcesia on Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:01 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Valentine Z
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Postby Valentine Z » Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:04 am

I could see the usage of this, to be honest. There are some parts of my RP where it is either too dry or I couldn't describe with much detail. I will say something about my writing skills, but yeah, it will certainly help if I am to patch up some parts here and there.

However, with that said, I will still vet whatever the heck the AI has generated, to check for inconsistencies, as well as anything else that I might find glaring. It could also double as a creative tool, who knows? Make it generate some text, then you can vet it out to your liking now that you got the idea.

This all sounds like that AI News Reporter I heard about a few days back.

In short, it can help beginners like me with my writing, but I will definitely not rely on it all the time.

EDIT: Though, after reading through a little bit more, the fear factor is a little overblown. Granted, it performed better than its predecessors, but this has been done a few times in the past already.
Last edited by Valentine Z on Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:07 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Page » Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:02 am

The whole point of doing an RP is to write. Why would anyone use autogenerated text for RP's? It defeats the purpose.
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Diarcesia
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Postby Diarcesia » Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:11 am

Page wrote:The whole point of doing an RP is to write. Why would anyone use autogenerated text for RP's? It defeats the purpose.

Sometimes you may feel lucky and want to roll the dice to have a starting point of what to write. Same reason why fantasy generators of you name it exist online.

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Valentine Z
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Postby Valentine Z » Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:13 am

Page wrote:The whole point of doing an RP is to write. Why would anyone use autogenerated text for RP's? It defeats the purpose.


I would use it to fill some blanks here and there as I have said, but I definitely am not going to rely on the thing all the time. :blush:

It's like a quick-fix for your Writer's Block that you might have been having for far too long. You just want to move on, so... maybe give the machine a try and see what it comes up with.

Then again, I don't really RP that much and are far-and-few, so there's that from me. :P
Last edited by Valentine Z on Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
I claim and call dibs on Mark 14 of Leader's Opinion Thread for F7. It's my favorite number! ^^
For You ♥
Clarissa mistaken for Smurf/Avatar: 7 31/32
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If you are reading my sig, I want you to have the best day ever ! You are worth it, do not let anyone get you down !
Glory to De Geweldige Sierlijke Katachtige Utopia en Zijne Autonome Machten ov Valentine Z !
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Xmara
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Postby Xmara » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:16 am

I would use it to write newspaper articles for my nation since I want to make a newspaper for my nation but I have neither the time nor the ideas to get it off the ground.

But if I was actually RPing, then no I’d rather have full control of my characters.
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Tinhampton
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Postby Tinhampton » Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:10 pm

The publically available sample of GPT-2 has 117 million parameters and is untrained; using it, Diarcesia generated sentences such as "The Olympic Games of 1999, hosted between 2 August to 5 February 2000 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, marked the third time that teams from the United States and Great Britain participated in the Games." This is not the kind of sentence you want to see in a professional news article.

The final edition of GPT-2, currently being kept under lock and key, has 1.5 billion parameters and is trained on 8 million webpages; using it, OpenAI, see first link in OP, generated sentences such as "Dr. Pérez believes that the unicorns may have originated in Argentina, where the animals were believed to be descendants of a lost race of people who lived there before the arrival of humans in those parts of South America." (see also). It is not perfect, either, but I do not anticipate that it will ever be publically released, at least at current rates.

With that in mind, it is safe to say that NationStates roleplayers, or Yuval Noah Harari's allegorical "aspiring lesbian journalist" in general, have little to fear in the immediate future, especially when it is currently very easy to tell the difference between human-written and (117M parameter) GPT-2-written articles; we can extend this to the foreseeable future if these lighter models continued to be potter on. But what if my prediction at the end of the second paragraph is incorrect and a rollout does happen whilst NationStates is still open? If so, the RP community should make clear that it is only to honour those that clearly still use their own human brainpower to write (not necessarily to accompany, see also This Person Does Not Exist).

One wonders what would have happened had this technology been developed five or six years ago, when most people's idea of fake news was NewsThump and The Onion. Alas, we are in the midst of Brexit and Trump...

edit, 2045 UTC: my thoughts have been summarised by Monitor below
Last edited by Tinhampton on Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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USS Monitor
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Postby USS Monitor » Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:32 pm

I can write better RPs by doing it the old-fashioned way.
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Postby Luziyca » Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:28 pm

USS Monitor wrote:I can write better RPs by doing it the old-fashioned way.

Ditto: I much prefer to put in my heart and soul into writing posts for RPs: having autogenerated posts just seems like it takes all the effort out of it, not to mention that one could use that technology to rack up post counts that would make even Nanatsu no Tsuki seem insignificant in such a short amount of time.
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Postby Kyoki Chudoku » Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:35 pm

I think we should indeed say if we’re using such text.

Personally, I won’t use any of those tools though. Firstly it’d be too obviously different to my usual RP style, and secondly...why would I? I RP largely because I enjoy writing. Getting rid of that kind of undermines the whole point for me.
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Re: Autogenerated Writing, NationStates, and You

Postby Yohannes » Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:33 pm

Wow... haha I'm from New Zealand so kinda late with the all the latest technology around... but dear... that is amazing (But will be bad for me, I guess, as a NationStates writer)

How do the AI writing things work their magic? And I'd not be surprised if many National and International Roleplaying writers will use them (if they'll work in future)

And I guess I'd be okay with that too (What can I do? :p )

Looking at Factbooks and National Information, NationStates, Global Economics and Trade and International Incidents I see many writers who have copy-pasted from (or being "inspired" by) real life websites and letters (e.g. embassy programme, storefront, even down to letters), and that is fine (honestly, I did this myself for my old communique/letters). So long as unimaginative writers don't get this website into problem or they don't try to pass the ideas as their own, then well?

That said, even now I can tell who copy paste things or don't write their own post from scratch. For instance, I'm regularly exposed to politics in real life, esp. parliamentary debate materials. I saw some parliamentary debate materials on NationStates in the past, and I could see whether the writer knew what he or she is talking about (or they copy the material or used the real life Hansards as "inspiration"). I'm also involved with macroeconomics (also for my job), and I can tell whether someone is writing what they actually know about or not (just copy-pasting material or used real life things for "inspiration"). This is most apparent with NationStates wiki articles (one reason why I won't make specialised wiki articles for this nation) So I'd imagine it'd be easy for me to separate the genuine macroeconomic/political posters from the copy-pasting/"inspiration" posters

In conclusion, I personally would be fine with people using this AI to write their in-character post (I know that I will still be a better writer, with my own style of writing!). That being said, I'll be able to tell who's doing it for their in-character (at least macroeconomic/politics) posts (esp. after seeing their forum posting history). So no hay problema señor! :D
Last edited by Yohannes on Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Valentine Z » Tue Feb 19, 2019 6:16 pm

I feel like a broken record at this point, but for me, I would do a mix of both, but of course, I will do a lot of the writing myself. :P

For some mundane parts... I might use it just because I'm either lazy, or has no time. But then again, I don't really trust Google Translator that much, let alone this, so... I will have to re-edit it, so what's the point, I guess?

An analogy would be like me using an auto-converter to go from Python to Java, for instance. The results is usually a mess where it would save more time for you to code the program in another code, rather than using the converter and fixing the errors it made.

Essentially... I would say that AIs have not reached that far yet.

Yohannes wrote:In conclusion, I personally would be fine with people using this AI to write their in-character post (I know that I will still be a better writer, with my own style of writing!). That being said, I'll be able to tell who's doing it for their in-character (at least macroeconomic/politics) posts (esp. after seeing their forum posting history). So no hay problema señor! :D


That sounds a bit like a humblebrag. That's not to say you're wrong though, since whatever the AI generates will not be able to catch up with a human writer. :P
Last edited by Valentine Z on Tue Feb 19, 2019 6:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
I claim and call dibs on Mark 14 of Leader's Opinion Thread for F7. It's my favorite number! ^^
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If you are reading my sig, I want you to have the best day ever ! You are worth it, do not let anyone get you down !
Glory to De Geweldige Sierlijke Katachtige Utopia en Zijne Autonome Machten ov Valentine Z !
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Yohannes
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Re: Valentine Z

Postby Yohannes » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:59 pm

Valentine Z wrote:That sounds a bit like a humblebrag. That's not to say you're wrong though, since whatever the AI generates will not be able to catch up with a human writer. :P


Ah, my apologies! But yes Valentine, I agree with u! Image
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Postby Zeritae » Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:05 pm

I'll use what the AI types as some guidance. Maybe copy and paste a line or two, change it up and that's about it.
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Diarcesia
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Postby Diarcesia » Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:36 pm

Valentine Z wrote:That sounds a bit like a humblebrag. That's not to say you're wrong though, since whatever the AI generates will not be able to catch up with a human writer. :P


The full model is approaching quite closely though with the Unicorns speaking Perfect English piece. The researchers were wary of disclosing the entire thing for a reason.

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Valentine Z
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Postby Valentine Z » Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:51 pm

Yohannes wrote:
Valentine Z wrote:That sounds a bit like a humblebrag. That's not to say you're wrong though, since whatever the AI generates will not be able to catch up with a human writer. :P


Ah, my apologies! But yes Valentine, I agree with u! Image


Ahh, all is well! Sorry if I sounded hostile, for that wasn't my intention. If any, I am just happy that you are proud of your work, because I know that you have a lot of stuff you have done and written in your time here.

It's good to be proud of your work. :D
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Postby Kowani » Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:56 pm

I don’t understand the appeal of using AI to write on NS...it’s not like you could use it to write books and earn money...
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Postby Valentine Z » Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:23 am

Kowani wrote:I don’t understand the appeal of using AI to write on NS...it’s not like you could use it to write books and earn money...


If that thing went gold again, I will probably post a thread of "RPs" that it tried to work with, after I feed it enough of my work.

I want to see what it comes up with. :P
I claim and call dibs on Mark 14 of Leader's Opinion Thread for F7. It's my favorite number! ^^
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If you are reading my sig, I want you to have the best day ever ! You are worth it, do not let anyone get you down !
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Free Arabian Nation
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Postby Free Arabian Nation » Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:25 am

At least now I can go through the more boring parts of my factbooks/add more detail because I am about as detailed as a 1st grader's macaroni art.
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Yohannes
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Re: Autogenerated Writing, NationStates, and You

Postby Yohannes » Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:41 pm

Valentine Z wrote:
Kowani wrote:I don’t understand the appeal of using AI to write on NS...it’s not like you could use it to write books and earn money...


If that thing went gold again, I will probably post a thread of "RPs" that it tried to work with, after I feed it enough of my work.

I want to see what it comes up with. :P


It'd help a lot of people, I think (which would be good for them), especially for Global Economics and Trade.

At the moment, you've got people who are trying to create a storefront (basically, fictional companies on NationStates), but sadly they know nothing at all about how that company would operate in real life. And this is bad, because instead what we've got is a culture of copy-and-paste communique/letter that is not even roleplaying or storytelling.

For instance, I will pick a random player who I don't know here (just in case people think I'm advertising other players! Haha)

You've got this player: [ viewtopic.php?f=6&t=422688 ]

By looking at their storefront (very pretty and a lot of hard work in terms of pictures there), I can tell immediately they know nothing at all about how to roleplay/write stories about finance and banking (most likely because they know nothing at all about macroeconomic or the finance industry in real life). If you look at British Hifax's thread, it's just a bunch of pictures with random fancy words (inflation, etc.), but from the way British Hifax interact with their customers ( like this: viewtopic.php?p=33644188#p33644188 ), I can tell immediately they know nothing at all about what they are doing (e.g. how do I RP a fictional bank? How do I storytell or write about its operations on NationStates?)

1. It's just copy-paste material/no brain required or thought and critical thinking involved
2. It's just copy-paste material from existing real life companies used as "inspiration"

So this Autogenerated Writing thing will, hopefully if it will work, help players like British Hifax to write stories about what their company is actually all about on NationStates (instead of just copy-pasting identical letters to reply to people's application posts). So instead of looking at it in a bad way, we can look at this thing in a positive way (how it'd help other players who have poor roleplaying or poor writing skills; still young students; or don't know a lot of things in real life!)

This is another example of someone who just copy and paste letter-replies to people: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=438981

You can tell they know nothing at all about how how to storytell or roleplay their fictional airline company. And that is fine - a lot of people don't know about many things. For instance, even I don't know anything at all about real life airlines (that's why I've never bothered making an airlines storefront, because if I don't know anything at all about the airlines industry, why bother making a storefront for it if I'm just going to copy and paste letters to people instead of writing actual stories?)

So I've seen some people worrying about this Autogenerated Writing (and we don't even know whether this thing will actually be that good or not, so why worry about it?), and that's fine. But it can also help people like British Hifax or Valkia (Stormwrath), who know nothing at all about how to RP or write stories (to reply to customers' posts) about their fictional companies on NationStates. So this Autogenerated Writing thing can actually help many players on NationStates!

Edit:

Valentine Z wrote:Ahh, all is well! Sorry if I sounded hostile, for that wasn't my intention. If any, I am just happy that you are proud of your work, because I know that you have a lot of stuff you have done and written in your time here.

It's good to be proud of your work. :D


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United Muscovite Nations
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Postby United Muscovite Nations » Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:01 pm

So what you're saying is I can use a text generator to create a legion of AI mes and take over this site?
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Diarcesia
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Diarcesia » Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:48 pm

United Muscovite Nations wrote:So what you're saying is I can use a text generator to create a legion of AI mes and take over this site?

The mods can still ban AI bots, so no worries.

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Nanatsu no Tsuki
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Postby Nanatsu no Tsuki » Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:50 pm

If you use an AI to auto-generate writing in NS, doesn't that take a dump (sort of) on the creative process of the RP and managing of a nation in the game? It feels a little bit like cheating and unfair to those posters who put the time to create written content for their nations... At least, IMO.
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Valentine Z
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Postby Valentine Z » Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:05 pm

Nanatsu no Tsuki wrote:If you use an AI to auto-generate writing in NS, doesn't that take a dump (sort of) on the creative process of the RP and managing of a nation in the game? It feels a little bit like cheating and unfair to those posters who put the time to create written content for their nations... At least, IMO.


I probably won't just copy-and-paste the entire thing, but sometimes, just for myself, I got stuck with some idea and might need something to get going.

It could help me a little if I suddenly don't know how to continue.
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Tornado Queendom
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Postby Tornado Queendom » Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:19 am

Page wrote:The whole point of doing an RP is to write. Why would anyone use autogenerated text for RP's? It defeats the purpose.

Because people are lazy, and they don't want to take the time to write. Plus, there's good and bad with AI.
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