July 26th, 2003


Automatic writing, 21st c. style

19th- and early-20th-century Spiritualists used to be big fans of Automatic Writing, which appears to have been a method for accessing subconscious personalities in highly-literate people.

The kind of automatic writing I've been thinking about would be automatic structure of documents -- for example, an automatic construction of new documents. This came up at lunch the other day with several lab folk -- we were imagining how you would go about writing a system that would automatically construct a Ph.D. thesis for you.

The way we were talking about it, you would need a probabilistic model for construction of each sentence in something like a discourse model -- and it would be relatively easy to build these things from LaTeX documents, if you had enough of them.

Then I discovered that Computational Linguistics this month has an article on very much this subject: "Document Structure". I'm really looking forward to reading it.