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Discover the strange, beautiful poetry of a real-life robot raised on romance novels.

It was only a matter of time before artificial intelligence entered its adolescent emo phase. Thanks to Google, that time is now.

Discover the strange, beautiful poetry of a real-life robot raised on romance novels.

Move over, Romeo; there's a new romantic master in town.

But unlike that creepily obsessive Shakespearean suitor, this saccharine paramour scrawls its sweet nothings across computer screens instead of scrolls of parchment. Here's a sampling of its lovely lyrical language:


Image (altered) via rabiem22/Flickr.

It sounds like the sparse, pseudo-profound writing of a potentially-talented-if-undeniably-angsty teenager. Except for the part where it was actually written by a robot.

Or, well, artificial intelligence if we're being technical since it doesn't have a body. Yet.

But the surprising wordsmith behind this — and many other accidental found poems — is Google Brain, an artificial intelligence system that's spent the last few years undergoing some pretty crazy deep machine learning programs. It's the same AI that controls video recommendations on YouTube as well as the speech recognition software on the Android phone.

It was only a matter of time before it entered its adolescent emo phase, just like those of us with non-artificial intelligence.

And how exactly did this robo-mantic learn such a way with words? The same way anyone else does: by reading a lot.

According to Quartz, Google researchers shared a scientific paper titled "Generating Sentences from a Continuous Space" at the International Conference on Learning Representations in May. The paper detailed the team's efforts to train their AI to parse the linguistic connections between sentences using something called recurrent neural network language models, or RNNLMs, which mimic human brain behaviors.

Researchers provided the AI with the text of approximately 12,000 ebooks, including 2,865 romance novels and about 1,500 fantasy novels.

And the romance novel influence is pre-tty clear.

The somewhat-sentient software attempted to identify patterns and relationships between the words and phrases of some 80 million sentences. They then challenged the machine by providing it with two separate sentences and instructing it to create a series of new sentences that would get from point A to point B.

For example, they told the AI to start with the sentence "Amazing, isn't it?" and gradually connect it to the sentence "I couldn't do it." And here's what they got:

While not intentionally created as poems, per se, a lot of the resulting text blocks read like cool, abstract poetry.

It's nothing revolutionary — although I do appreciate the e.e. cummings touch of writing in lowercase letters. But it's fascinating nonetheless and gives lots of room for the reader to project their own meaning onto it.

Like this one, which I clearly interpreted as the troubling confession of a heartbroken mall Easter bunny coming to terms with bisexuality (or possibly polyamory?):

Of course, the results weren't always as eerily esoteric as that.

The scientific paper details the researchers' attempts to write the right algorithm to instruct their AI accordingly. One of the major steps they realized was the need to give it some limitations — because without any other parameters, "Connect these two sentences! Go!" didn't go as well as they hoped…

To be fair, that's basically like handing a dictionary to a child and telling them to make a sentence. Which is why the researchers got nonsense like this, too:

You can spot some semblance of logic here — why word B would follow word A and so on. Unfortunately, these examples, ya know, don't make sense.

Eventually, the researchers figured out that a more gradual transition was required to get the Google Brain to produce anything resembling a natural sentence progression.

The resulting algorithm is what gives this accidental Google poetry its hypnotic repetitions of anaphora and diacope and other cool poetic terms. Again, it's not intentionally employing these clever literary devices.

But it's certainly cool that it does!

While this Google Brain poetry opens up a lot of cool philosophical questions about language and more, it's probably not something we need to worry about too much. For now, anyway.

Google's AI research has come a long way since just last year when it threatened researchers with physical violence. (Oops!) It's certainly doing better than Microsoft's failed genocidal robot Twitter teen.

And frankly, if we are going to train machines to think and act like humans, it's probably better that we wean them on romance novels than, I don't know, "The Terminator" or something.

But, for now, it's pretty unlikely this algorithmic lyricist actually understands its own words. It's mostly just an excellent mimic, feeling out how to make sense of different contexts and common phrases. Slowly piecing together the pieces of a much bigger puzzle as it goes along.

Which, when you think about it, sounds pretty human after all.

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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

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Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

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Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

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"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

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Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.

via The BC Cancer Foundation

Testicular cancer typically affects men between the ages of 16 and 44 and is the most common solid tumor to occur in men of this age group. These tumors grow rapidly and can double in size in just 10 to 30 days.

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So it's incredibly important for people with testicles to check themselves regularly.

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True

2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.