kodi (cdk) wrote,
I should probably stop polluting this post and move my investigations here.

You've likely seen the whole I Write Like... thing going around. I was curious - does it recognize the authors it's claiming others write like? So I fed it the entirety of The Shadow Over Innsmouth, and it correctly identified Lovecraft. Other pieces it was able to recognize based on excerpts:
A Modest Proposal
Slaughterhouse Five
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Angels and Demons

Some others that I tried (again, excerpts):
The Scarlet Letter = James Joyce
The Heart of a Woman = James Joyce
Atlas Shrugged = Ian Fleming
The Parson's Tale (Modern English) = Daniel DeFoe
The Parson's Tale (Middle-English) = William Shakespeare
The Return of the King = H.P. Lovecraft

Then I started looking into how it makes its decisions. I grabbed three paragraphs from The Shadow Over Innsmouth which it claimed were in the style of Jack London. I changed all the spaces to carriage returns, and it was still Jack London. I sorted the words, and it was still Jack London. I repeated this with another three paragraphs, and this time they were in the style of Dan Brown, no matter the order. If I trimmed all the words alphabetically after helps, it was still Dan Brown, but removing helps turned it into Stephen King. On the other hand, removing every word longer than 6 letters turned it into William Shakespeare.

So then I started messing with really short writing samples.
"help help help help help help help" = L. Frank Baum
"cowardice cowardice cowardice cowardice cowardice" = Ray Bradbury
"tuna tuna tuna tuna tuna tuna tuna" = Dan Brown
"cowardice cowardice cowardice tuna tuna" = Ray Bradbury
"cowardice cowardice tuna tuna tuna" = Dan Brown
"cowardice tuna help help help help" = Dan Brown
"cowardice help help help help help" = Mario Puzo
"venom venom venom venom venom venom" = William Shakespeare
"venom venom venom venom venom venom tuna" = Chuck Palahniuk
"venom venom cowardice cowardice cowardice" = William Shakespeare
"venom cowardice cowardice cowardice cowardice" = Jack London
"venom venom venom cowardice cowardice cowardice help" = Mario Puzo
"venom venom venom venom cowardice cowardice cowardice help" = J. K. Rowling
"venom venom venom venom cowardice cowardice cowardice" = William Shakespeare

Interestingly, the Bradbury/Brown cowardice/tuna cutoff seems roughly proportional at first - 8 cowardices and 6 tunas = Bradbury, 8 cowardices and 7 tunas = Brown. But the number of tunas required levels off and never exceeds 18. Even 512 cowardices can be turned into Dan Brown with a mere 18 tunas. However, it appears that no amount of tuna is sufficient to turn the first chapter of Fahrenheit 451 into Dan Brown. The following, on the other hand, has exactly enough tuna to be written by Dan Brown:

"It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed. With the brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his head, and his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history. With his symbolic helmet numbered 451 on his stolid head, and his eyes all orange flame with the thought of what came next, he flicked the igniter and the house jumped up in a gorging fire that burned the evening sky red and yellow and black. He strode in a swarm of fireflies.

tuna tuna tuna tuna tuna tuna tuna tuna tuna tuna tuna tuna tuna tuna tuna tuna tuna tuna tuna"
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