Another day, another open source chat AI. We’re up to three now. The new Open is a fully and properly open-source ‘chat’ AI, and only requires a Google login to use for free. At present there’s a Llama 30B model for the public, based on Facebook’s escaped Llama. So perhaps not so good for writing Python code. My initial try timed out… I had no response after ten minutes. But that may be due to heavy initial use. I reloaded and found a message about being in a long queue. Still, it’s a serious and worthy/big attempt to begin a fully open chat AI. As the group’s leader says “we’ll soon have them running on toasters”, rather than closed subscription-only corporate servers in Whereizitagin.

The two other open AIs OpenChatKit (not great) and the FastChat portal to open models (can be very good) had no such problems with the question, which was…


Explain the possible future uses of AI for the analysis of the letters of H.P. Lovecraft. Do not refer to fiction or stories by Lovecraft.

FastChat using Vicuna 13b had the best response, which I edit and bullet-point here…


* to extract relevant information such as themes, topics, and sentiments;

* to categorize the letters based on their content;

* to identify any recurring motifs;

* to analyze the writing style and evolution over time;

* to analyze the historical context, e.g. references or allusions to historical events, people, or places;

* to develop a model of the cultural and historical context in which Lovecraft was writing;

* to analyze the letters in terms of their literary merit;

* to identify any stylistic or technical elements that are particularly effective or innovative;

So it’s unaware of the concept of a writer’s ‘circle’ and the importance of mapping that. It’s more like a reply by an English Literature student rather than a historian. It’s also unaware of the outlines of Lovecraft’s life, and but it’s aware he was an author who wrote letters and can thus given very generic advice common to any prolific letter writer.

Eventually I reloaded the recalcitrant Open and had an answer to the above question in a reasonable time. It was not as good as FastChat but did offer three items, among a whole lot of blather and boilerplate text about AIs in general…

* to offer deeper insights into Lovecraft’s personality traits, beliefs, moods, interests, etc;

* to establish named entity recognition, for specific details about individuals, locations, events, dates, organizations, products, etc;

* to create entirely new pieces of correspondence.

So here there may be a hint of some awareness of the interaction between the man and his circle, and even that there will be interest in the products he used (the new-fangled invention called ‘ice-cream’ and so on). There’s also what might seem a rather naughty awareness of AI’s future ability to confect new Lovecraft-alike letters. Which implies extraction from the letters of a workable and convincing ‘style model’ and ‘topic web’. And Lovecraft is the ideal candidate, now that the letters are nearly all published. Yes, there are others who are comparable. But what modern kid wants to chat with Voltaire or Cicero?

A few other items which might have been mentioned are (off the top of my head)…

* analysis of letter length and seasonality of contact, re: determining his ‘favourite’ correspondents;

* the identification of common abbreviations or nicknames, and the amalgamation of these with reference to the same person when properly named. Thus “Sonny” would = Long;

* extraction of weather and season data, matched to location;

* extraction of suitable passages or names which could then be woven into new stories;

* identification of his childhood memories across the entirety of the letters;

* identification of ‘shop talk’ regarding rates of pay, markets, editors etc;

* to add guidance annotations for audio reading;

* generating AI images from his descriptions;

* to establish and offer translations of slang and archaic words.

* to power a videogame in which Lovecraft is a character and you can talk at length with him.