But it turns out that marketers are working diligently to develop forms of mass-generated mail that appear to have been patiently and lovingly hand-written by actual humans.
They’re using handwriting robots that wield real pens on paper.
that arrives in my mailbox is junk, so I was tossing, tossing, tossing … This looked legit, so I ripped it open — only to find it was an oily invitation to take out a second mortgage on my home. Normally, I can tell the fake, printed-font “handwriting” of a marketing missive from ten paces away.
That stuff looks barely more human than Comic Sans, and it’s printed in laser toner instead of ink from a pen.
Today, when I see headlines like “Japanese AI Writes a Novel, Nearly Wins Literary Award” or “AI Is Beginning to Assist Novelists,” I think of Roald Dahl all those years ago writing a story, which turned out to be predictive fiction, and I realize that not everyone thinks machine novelists would be such a bad idea.
This is clearly the beginning of a new and very complicated relationship. When you dig a little deeper, you discover that the Japanese AI-writing novelist was actually a team of real human people feeding select words, sentences, and parameters to a program, which then “wrote” the novel.
If you suspect a robot has sent you a love note, check the placement of dots on the letters “i”.
This letter above was penned by a robot, and as Jurek notes, “the ‘i’s are always dotted in the same way.” They’re too regular.
I saw ink on paper, subconsciously intuited that it had come from a human (because hey, no laser-printing! If you need to send out 200 personalized letters to sales leads but haven’t got the time to handwrite them yourself — or if your handwriting is, like mine, grotesque — then Maillift will generate them for you, using teams of genuinely carbon-based people.
(What sort of person enjoys handwriting letters for others? Apparently teachers have spectacular handwriting, take enormous pride in the craft, and want to make some extra coin in their evenings and weekends.)Curliss and Jurek also own a handwriting robot, so they’ve studied thousands of human-written letters and compared them to ones produced by machines. They are: This was written by a human — specifically Curliss, using a Pilot G2 pen on my notepad. When humans write by hand, we use irregular force, often pushing down too hard on the pen.