Collaborating with William Shakespeare

If you’ve ever used Google Docs you might be familiar with the idea of multiple people viewing, and possibly editing, a document right before your eyes.

Well Google’s decided to have a little fun with that, and made a demo where the likes of Charles Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe, Emily Dickinson and yes our dear friend William Shakespeare all watch you as you type … and offer up their edits.  I keep trying to force it down certain paths, but detecting plagiarism is not its thing.  You can’t just start typing “To be or not to be” and expect Shakespeare to jump in.

The idea is cute.  I’ve always loved natural language generation and computer assisted personality.  I wish they did more with it — like if you edit someone else’s edit, they get all mad and start fighting with you or something.  Who knows, maybe they’ll do some more with it.  Love to get a look at the source code behind the idea.

Each colored vertical line represents an edit by a collaborator. Here, Charles Dickens is offering a writing prompt.

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