Commentary: An AI experiment for Stories from Texas

Commentator W.F. Strong wondered if artificial intelligence could come up with a story in his style.

By W.F. Strong & AL, his AI assistantMay 8, 2024 4:07 pm, ,

With all this excitement over artificial intelligence and what it is capable of, I thought I’d see what it could do for me.

I decided I’d ask AL, my AI assistant, to write a story in the style of W. F. Strong. I did not tell him that I write Texas stories. I wanted him to send its creepy crawlers out onto the vast web and figure that out for himself.

And as for my style, I couldn’t define for you what that is myself. I think it depends on whether I’ve been reading McCarthy or McMurtry or Paulette Jiles this week.

As another wrinkle to the experiment, I wondered if I could get AL to make this story even more artificially me. So, I asked him to create a clone of my voice. It took about an hour but he came up with a pretty good likeness. You can listen to it in the audio player above.

Well, here is the story AL wrote in response to my request:

In the heart of the Lone Star State, where the sun’s rays beat down fiercely on the red earth, there lived a man named Jeb. Jeb was a rugged cowboy, weathered by years of hard work on the sprawling ranches that stretched as far as the eye could see.

One scorching summer day, as Jeb rode out to check on the cattle, he noticed a strange shimmer in the distance. Curiosity piqued, he spurred his horse onward, the dust kicking up behind them in a swirling cloud.

As he drew closer, Jeb realized the shimmer was coming from a small, crystal-clear spring bubbling up from the ground. The water was cool and refreshing, a stark contrast to the blistering heat of the day. Jeb dismounted and took a long drink, feeling the liquid revive him from the inside out.

But as he knelt by the spring, Jeb heard a soft voice carried on the wind. “You have found the Spring of Truth, cowboy,” the voice whispered. Startled, Jeb looked around but saw no one.

Determined to uncover the mystery, Jeb spent the next few days exploring the area around the spring. In the process, he discovered a hidden cave nestled in the rocky cliffs nearby. Inside the cave, he found ancient pictographs and symbols etched into the walls, telling the story of a lost civilization that revered the spring as a source of wisdom and enlightenment.

Armed with this newfound knowledge, Jeb returned to the ranch with a sense of purpose. He shared the tale of the Spring of Truth with his fellow cowboys, inspiring them to seek out their own truths and live with integrity and honor.

From that day on, the Spring of Truth became a sacred place for the people of the Texas plains. They would make pilgrimages to the spring, seeking guidance and wisdom in times of need, and always finding solace in its cool, clear waters.

And so, the legend of Jeb and the Spring of Truth lived on, a reminder to all who heard it that the path to enlightenment can be found in the most unexpected of places, even in the vast expanse of the Texas wilderness.

Not bad. A little bit of tweaking and AL can send in the clone to take my place, but I’ll go ahead and keep the direct deposit coming to my bank. 

Okay AL,  you finish up while I pop a cold one.

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