Making the Music of the Mazg

In a lovely post about the relationship between fiction writing and machine learning, Robin Sloan discusses how he wrote songs for his novel Sourdough with the help of artificial intelligence. However, Robin has some issues with that phrase in this context:

I’ve taken pains to call this “machine learning,” not “artificial intelligence,” because, in this case, there’s really nothing intelligent about it. These systems — whether they’re working on text, images, or audio — learn statistical models that allow them to mimic the structure of the material they’re trained on. For example, the system I trained on old science fiction stories knows that if it has generated the character T, followed by the character H, it ought next to generate E, or maybe A, or O — but almost certainly not F, or J, or Q. If you can imagine many, many of these probabilities linked in a sprawling mesh: you have a rough model of the English language.