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I had an LLM write a summary for the next Leif & Thorn book, let’s see how accurate it is

I had an LLM write a summary for the next Leif & Thorn book, let’s see how accurate it is published on 6 Comments on I had an LLM write a summary for the next Leif & Thorn book, let’s see how accurate it is

But first, a recap: We’re gearing up to make the next Leif & Thorn book!

I scored an invite to BackerKit Crowdfunding, a new service from…well, the company I was already using to handle half the work from my campaigns on Kickstarter. So, yeah, we’re crowdfunding Volume 6 directly on BackerKit.

It’s still a few months out, but can you give us a boost by signing up to get notified when it launches?

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Meanwhile: I have this LLM free trial. (Didn’t ask for it, but it’s here.)

So I tasked it with writing a “funny and engaging” summary for Volume 6.

All the strips that will go in the book are already published on the site. Free and accessible to read. Collected in their own labeled category, even! And every strip is transcribed, in plain, easily-machine-readable text!

This is practically gift-wrapped for a bot to scan all the material, pick out the major character names and a bunch of common recurring phrases, and synthesize a summary that is…generally recognizable? In the right ballpark? A little confused, but it’s got the spirit?

And yet.

All the text after this cut/separator is generated by the LLM. Let’s see how it did, shall we?

Introducing “Leif & Thorn: Volume 6 – Thorn Strikes Back… With Puns!”

Get ready for another wild ride in the world of Leif & Thorn, where fantastical creatures roam and the humor never stops! In this sixth volume, we join our beloved protagonists Leif and Thorn as they navigate through a series of hilarious misadventures in the enchanted city of Sønheim.

Thorn, the sharp-witted agent with a knack for trouble, finds himself in a pinch when a mischievous gnome steals his collection of terrible puns – the very essence of his personality! With his reputation on the line, Thorn embarks on a pun-filled quest to retrieve his pun-damental belongings before they fall into the wrong hands.

Meanwhile, Leif, the kind-hearted gardener extraordinaire, stumbles upon an ancient tome that promises the secret to growing the perfect vegetables. Little does he know that these magical plants have a mind of their own, leading to some unexpected and hilarious situations.

As the duo faces talking plants, bumbling yet lovable sidekicks, and a cast of eccentric characters, their bond is tested like never before. Will Thorn’s puns find their way back to him? Will Leif conquer the unpredictable produce? And most importantly, will they make it through their zany adventures with their sanity intact?

Join author [insert name here] in this uproariously entertaining sixth volume of Leif & Thorn. Filled with laughter, friendship, and an abundance of puns, this installment is sure to leave you clutching your sides and begging for more. So buckle up and prepare to embark on a side-splitting journey you won’t soon forget!

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In contrast to “the more it talks the weirder it gets” this just starts strong right out of the gate with weird.

I mean, the first paragraph is…passable, sort of? Because it sticks with really broad phrases like “fantastical creatures” and “hilarious misadventures.”

Then it tried to describe a specific creature/misadventure, and whoops, it all went off the rails.

This would be hilarious if I didn’t know how many people were blindly trusting ChatGPT.

Actually, no, it’s hilarious anyway. Did it seriously call you “author [insert name here]”?

It sure did.

My theory is that some programmer noticed “the bot making things up is most noticeable with dry/straightforward/obvious facts, so we’ll have a filter that scans for terms related to dry facts, and replaces the output with [insert fact here]. Then any mistake will be the blogger’s fault, not ours.”

It’s especially funny because Author Name is some of the most consistent and clearly-labeled metadata the comic has! For a bot that was doing meaningful data search, instead of freeform jazz autocomplete, that would be the thing it’s *most* likely to get right.

This kind of sounds to me like it remembered the script it wrote for you, and then wrote a description that was (mostly) about that, rather than the actual comic? About the only parts taken from the comic itself are their names, the place-name “Sønheim”, the fact that Leif is a gardener, and that the story mostly takes place in a city.

“Remembered” is giving it too much credit!

The bot has a limited number of scenarios it can talk about, most of which are pretty broad and generic, so it repeats itself a lot. If you asked it to generate content for a dozen different comics, you’d probably get a similar level of overlap.

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