Creative Writing with a Machine in the Loop: Case Studies on Slogans and Stories

Elizabeth Clark, Anne Ross, Chenhao Tan, Yangfeng Ji, and Noah A. Smith.
In Proceedings of the 23rd ACM Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces (IUI’2018).

As the quality of natural language generated by artifcial intelligence systems improves, writing interfaces can support interventions beyond grammar-checking and spell-checking, such as suggesting content to spark new ideas. To explore the possibility of machine-in-the-loop creative writing, we performed two case studies using two system prototypes, one for short story writing and one for slogan writing. Participants in our studies were asked to write with a machine in the loop or alone (control condition). They assessed their writing and experience through surveys and an open-ended interview. We collected additional assessments of the writing from Amazon Mechanical Turk crowdworkers. Our findings indicate that participants found the process fun and helpful and could envision use cases for future systems. At the same time, machine suggestions do not necessarily lead to better written artifacts. We therefore suggest novel natural language models and design choices that may better support creative writing.


Machine in the loop.

     author = {Elizabeth Clark and Anne Spencer Ross and Chenhao Tan and Yangfeng Ji and Noah A. Smith},
     title = {Creative Writing with a Machine in the Loop: Case Studies on Slogans and Stories},
     year = {2018},
     booktitle = {Proceedings of IUI}