How robots analyze celebrities’ writing

Written by Katelyn Sanz, CNN

You might imagine that Ernest Hemingway might be a prolific author in his later years, living large on a palatial estate in Cuba. In real life, the Southern California native picked writing seriously in his seventies and then eschewed newspapers and book tours in favor of the absolute best literature his life had to offer. If only the literary personas of the world’s greatest writers had the same diet of superior literature as Hemingway did, and that people behaved like Hemingway did.

Not in a Hemingway lifestyle, though. Instead, we’re provided with vivid portraits of three well-known figures: Simone de Beauvoir, Donald Trump and Mia Farrow. They cook; they write; they shop; they destroy their own clothing line.

Who these people are, of course, is a subjective thing, but the impact of their work is a matter of science. And in a new book published by Popsugar, a team of robots has produced, in the words of its subject, a “personality behind the text.”

Much like the ability to create a beautiful, immersive film out of a photograph, the approach is interesting on a visceral level. We’re plopped into the rarified world of book review in a click of the mouse or swipe of the screen, only this time we’re delivered a mix of photos and text showcasing how sophisticated and ingenious one can become to turn the e-book into a human experience.

So let’s turn to the best (or worst, depending on your point of view) authors in history, beginning with the man Hemingway calls “our friend.” As Hemingway noted, “I have not met my friend, but the sound of him is like that of a whale. I have met many fishes, but this one is a gigantic sea creature I never saw in real life.”

If three words can describe being Ernest Hemingway, as if to bolster its odds of becoming a real human life, they are “beasts of burden.” Despite the endless water-filled existential musings that populate his writing, he wasn’t as grand as that description might suggest. As one might assume from a man who once declared himself “a prisoner of time,” indeed, his angst was much more pragmatic: he was held to the minute limits of his 20s and those of his career. For its time, though, being Hemingway — the wonderful man and genius of American prose — was enough.

The next entry in the review comes from Donald Trump, who trades in much like Hemingway, but with, of course, a larger, more familiar exclamation point to his name. As the American half of “Martha & Trump” notes, “Mr. Trump is familiar to anyone who’s ever read a television reality show. The similarities between his public persona and his private ones — what do we call the soap opera as condensation? — are difficult to reconcile.”

Next we have Robert Redford, then of Variety and “Our Man in Havana,” which received so little attention that you have to wonder why it even exists. Rather than being a social comedian as his predecessor was, as Redford himself hints, he’s captured the gritty tone of Cuban life through his work. What does this mean for the debate about US relations with the country and the role it could play in his “cocaine age”? It’s all in the writing.

Finally, a once storied fashion brand takes a bold move as Farrow, who gave up the screen for her work in writing, interacts with the beloved, yet suffocating, handbag known as the Birkin. Judging by the cover of this book, as well as some of the photos in the book, we’re in for some gorgeous leather, chrome, crocodile and suede designs on the stockings, belts and other accessories that populate the book. The resemblance to the Sex Pistols is uncanny.

It’s worth noting here that not every review in this book was based on a review in print. One report is from last spring, when Farrow and Kardashian were spotted scouring Barcelona for a second grand opening location of their sunglasses brand.

“Now they want to convince you the hype is worth opening up a second store. If it’s not great, not enough money and not worth it, then there’s no place to go. Just sit at home and enjoy all the really cool things, like hair. Live the celebrity life.”

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