For a few months now, Google has been feeding saucy romance novels to a neural network, hoping it would improve its conversation abilities.
And it's working. Andrew Dai, the project's lead software engineer, told Buzzfeed News that the team managed to get the AI to write sentences similar to those in the books. Romance novels are perfect for this job as the tend to follow the same plot, which helps Google's AI to pick out greater nuances in the language.
The next step is to use this improved intelligence to humanize Google's range of products and services, including Google Inbox's 'Smart reply' feature, which could potentially offer more conversational responses.
But the first goal is the Google App. "In the Google app, the responses are very factual," Andrew Dai told BuzzFeed. "Hopefully with this work, and future work, it can be more conversational, or can have a more varied tone, or style, or register."
Theoretically, the AI engine could even write a roman novel of its own, now that it's digested so many of them. We'd love to see what that would look like.