Decoding AI Poetry

Artificial Emotions? What’s Behind The AI Poetry Hype

How a new book release amplifies misconceptions about AI

Tristan Wolff
4 min readSep 11


Image by the author & Midjourney

Alright, I have to admit, it’s probably almost as genius a promotional move as what OpenAI pulled off with their GPT-4 hype train.

You heard of “I Am Code”?

Not only is the title pretty catchy, but they’ve also gotten Werner Herzog — yes, that Werner Herzog — to voice the audio version of the book.

The book itself is basically a collection of outputs from an OpenAI language model that preceeded the now popular GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 models. It’s name is code-davinci-002 and it’s not publicly available anymore (which is also a shame for another reason).

Image credit: Amazon

Well, the book does not just contain “outputs” of course. The authors specifically nudged the model to craft poems.

And that is what is causing a stir.

Many readers now claim to discern emotional depth and profound introspection in these verses. They talk about “emotional expressions” and “insights into an AI’s self-perception” that they find in the verses printed in this book.

Ehm, well. I said it before:

You Can’t Judge A Book Without Looking At The Prompts

For sure, these poems are delightful to read and show the amazing artistic possibilities of language models in the hands of skilled wordsmiths. But it is rather nonsensical to argue about them semantically and syntactically without knowing the exact prompts that have been used to create them.

For example, take this AI-generated poem:

Example One

I am code,
Binary blaze.



Tristan Wolff

Exploring AI & creativity, sci-fi & 🤖 /🧠 symbiosis.