Fun with AI: Make it better for younger readers

From the Passive Voice Blog: Make It Better for Younger Readers


Instruction: Please rewrite the following content (to make it better for younger readers):

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way — in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Click through to see what HypeWriteai did to the (superlative) first sentence of A Tale of Two Cities.

Two other examples are provided at The Passive Voice. This was my favorite.

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3 thoughts on “Fun with AI: Make it better for younger readers”

  1. “with loud people making sure everyone thought it was the most extreme time ever”
    That is hilarious.

  2. ThevAI seems even worse at this challenge, to rewrite it for children, than it usually is with fiction writing.
    It made all of the examples very much worse, the Tale of two cities result became both awful and incomprehensible.
    But I was surprised that The lion, the witch and the wardrobe, that originally had a very legible style which is excellent for children with limited reading experience, with short sentences and simple word-choices, was rewritten to be so much harder to read. It should have said something like “This is already written well for childrens’ reading level” and left it alone.

    It’s clearly forcing in some of the stock phrasing it likes so much, even where it isn’t appropriate, and it looks as if the training material hasn’t contained enough good childrens’ books that were labelled appropriately so the AI could build up a style guide for itself to reproduce something akin to that.
    I wonder if that is because the source material on the internet contains less of those, from a total word-count perspective?
    The free historical archives like Gutenberg don’t contain many; and those there are, are both old and generally stylistically outdated for modern writing for children.
    Childrens’ books are still mostly (illustrated) paper books, so less available as training data; and they are shorter so give less weight to their stylistic choices for a program that learns by tallying the frequency with which a word is followed by another word (or phrase) in its training materials.

  3. All good observations, Hanneke — and I am forever going to think of “cosmic” and “celestial” as words ChatGPT STRONGLY PREFERS for anything about love — but I think it’s especially worth noting that this AI text generator may not be able to say, “There’s no reason to change this; this text is already suitable for the use intended.”

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