Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Transform Any Text Into a Patent Application

I wrote a program that transforms literary and philosophical texts into patent applications. In short, it reframes texts as inventions or machines. You can view the code on github.

I was partially inspired by Paul Scheerbart’s Perpetual Motion Machine, a sort of technical/literary diary in which Scheerbart documents and reflects on various failed attempts to create a perpetual motion machine. Scheerbart frequently refers to his machines as “stories” – I wanted to reverse the concept and transform stories into machines.

In this post I’ll provide some details about how I wrote the program, and describe some of the tools that I used.

First, here’s some sample output, listed by invention title and source text:

A method and device for comprehending theoretically the historical movement” (The Communist Manifesto)

An apparatus and device for staring into vacancy” (The Hunger Artist by Kafka)
A device and system for belonging to bringing-forth” (The Question Concerning Technology by Heidegger)

- Read the whole thing (and the Python code)

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