A Baker’s Dozen of Artificial Haikus

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AI updates an ancient poetic form

Carpenter Group recently asked Chat GBT to tell us something about haiku, the compact 5-7-5-syllable poetry form that originated in 17th century and was popularized by the poet known as Basho. Do people still care about haiku, we wondered, or has it gone the way of Tom Swifties (“The thermostat is set too high,” Tom said heatedly) and radio-era soap powder jingles?

“Haiku continues to be popular today and has gained a global following outside of Japan,” the chatbot reassured us. “It has been embraced by poets and enthusiasts worldwide who appreciate its brevity, simplicity, and ability to capture moments of insight and beauty.”

We’ve occasionally idled away a spare hour or two constructing haikus of our own, though not all meet the insight-and-beauty standard. Could Chat GBT do better? To find out, we fed it a totally arbitrary mix of 13 topics and requested a haiku for each:

Brand marketing
Logo’s silent gaze,
Colors speak, brand identity,
Words paint in minds’ eye.

Buttered toast
Golden slice of warmth,
Buttered toast, morning delight,
Crunchy, soft, pure joy. 

Prices dance, rampant,
Value dwindles, wallets strain,
Inflation’s cruel grasp.

At-home COVID tests
Testing at our homes,
Antigen’s swift verdicts shared,
COVID’s vigilance.

Pencil shavings
Tiny pencil curls,
Wood and graphite remnants mixed,
Art in shavings form.

President Warren G. Harding
Scandal clouds his name,
Harding’s presidency fades,
History’s dark stain.

Exchange traded funds
ETFs, blend well,
Baskets of stocks, bonds, and more,
Investing made wide.

A beloved dog
Spencer, my best friend,
Furry paws and wagging tail,
Joyful heart, true love.

Piña coladas
Tropical delight,
Pineapple and coconut,
Sip paradise’s bliss.

Digital finance blooms,
Tech transcends old banking norms,
Fintech shapes new forms.

And, in the spirit of the season, a trio of summertime annoyances:

Tiny buzzing pests,
Piercing skin, leaving their mark,
Itchy summer’s bane.

Poison ivy
Leaves of three, beware,
Itching torment on the skin,
Nature’s toxic touch.

Flight delays
Time suspended, stuck,
Flight delays, patience tested,
Wanderlust on

Admittedly, none of these haikus, syllabically precise though they are, can approach the elegance and craft of even Basho’s most middling efforts. But Chat GBT cranked them out at a rate of one per second, far quicker than Basho worked even on deadline. And Basho never had to deal with positive COVID tests or flight delays.