• Melissa Thom

Spoken word experiments


Various Weathers — AI generated poem, inspired by Sylvia Plath. Credit:Tiny Giant
There is a voice within me that will not be still. Sylvia Plath, Letters Home

Part of getting interesting work is keeping your mind open to things, escaping the day to day grind when you can, and saying yes to projects that come along and float your boat.

And so, I’ve been experimenting with all kinds of things of late (all legal and correct I should say) and been doing a lot of spoken word, including public art installations and poetry.


The future of voice?

As a full time voice actor I’m hugely interested in what lies ahead for voice and AI. I follow developments on first generation voice-first applications like Alexa and Siri coming out of Silicon Valley, and so when a colleague and current client of mine asks me to get involved in an AI event, I can’t say no.


PLaiTH — AI inspired poetry

Tiny Giant, a marketing company specialising in creative AI, teamed up with Sharpshooter Digital on a project they called PLaiTH. Together, they trained a recurrent neural network — a type of machine learning algorithm — on the poems of Sylvia Plath.


The machine-learning model generated hundreds of lines of Plath-inspired verse, which the team’s writers crafted into five unique poems. These were taken to The Handwriting Company at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, who trained a robot on Plath’s handwriting and delivered a penned poem in her style.


PLaiTH for breakfast

I’ll be performing the five resulting poems, which include Various Weathers and Blind White Bone and Blood For The Ghost, live on stage at a special event in Bristol for World Poetry Day this Thursday 21 March 2019. The breakfast event will bring together all the businesses involved in the project, and is being held from 9.30am-11.30am at Bray Leino CX.


Like many others, I have no concrete idea of where the future of voice and AI lies. But I’m watching intently, and being involved in this interesting collaboration between AI, writers and developers, has been fascinating. The work has resulted in some thought-provoking poetry and is evidence of what’s possible when humans and artificial intelligence work together.


Have a listen and see for yourself:

Tickets for the PLaiTH World Poetry Day Event are available now on Eventbrite.


You can find out more about PLaiTh and read all the AI-generated poems at https://plaith.com


To find out more about my voice work, or to book me for your next AI inspired live event, go to melissathom.me

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