Could a machine write love letters better than people? Dr David Link carried out the successful project LoveLetters
to show that it is possible.
The Ferranti Mark 1
was the world's first commercially available general-purpose computer, built in 1951. Dr Link's art installation is a replica which executes the original recovered software by Prof Christoper Strachey
, a philosopher and pioneer in programming. Visitors can interact with a functional replica of this old computer containing many of its original components, and gain an authentic impression of the look-and-feel of the old computer. The project has won the first annual Tony Sale Award
|The original Ferranti Mark 1 or Manchester University Computer|
The old computer was able to do unimaginable tasks 60 years ago. Now it writes algorithm-generated love letters. These would be addressed to "Darling Love", "Honey Love", "Jewel Duck" or whatever, and signed M. U. C. (which stands for Manchester University Computer). For instance:
MY KEEN CHARM SIGHS FOR YOUR FERVENT ENTHUSIASM. YOU ARE MY FOND HUNGER.: MY LOVESICK HEART.YOU ARE MY DEAR FERVOUR.: MY FOND WISH.
MY FERVOUR ANXIOUSLY ADORES YOUR LONGING. MY THIRST PASSIONATELY CHERISHES YOUR LOVESICK YEARNING. MY CHARM DEVOTEDLY PANTS FOR YOUR TENDERNESS. YOU ARE MY PRECIOUS THIRST. MY FERVOUR PANTS FOR YOUR ADORATION.
(You can read the letters here
The original purpose of this machine was mathematical calculations. I wonder why Dr Link brought it back to life in order to write such old-fashioned love letters. Maybe only old machines can write love letters?