Man or machine, can robots really write novels?

Machines can already drive trains, beat humans at chess and conduct countless other tasks. But what happens if technology starts getting more creative – can a machine ever win the Booker Prize for fiction?

In George Orwell’s fiction, by 1984 the "proles" were entertained by books produced by a machine.

In real life, robots have been capable of writing a version of love letters for over 60 years. But how far away are books written by robots? Well they have already happened, in their hundreds of thousands.

Professor Philip Parker, of Insead business school, created software that has generated over 200,000 books, on as varied topics as 60 milligram containers of fromage frais to a Romanian crossword guide.

Amazon currently lists over 100,000 titles under his name.
While not expecting to top the bestsellers list or win any literary awards, they take under an hour to "write" because of how they are produced and are printed when requested rather than in bulk.

The books compile existing information rather than creating new ideas. But Professor Parker has experimented with a piece of software that is capable of creating automated fiction.