Next year's hopefuls for the respected Shinichi Hoshi Literary Award will not all be human. To make matters even more interesting, one of them may well be Japan's sci-fi short-story sensei Shinichi Hoshi, who sadly died back in 1997. Still with us?
This shortform scribe prize, held in conjunction with Japan's premier city paper the Nikkei, is actually preparing to recognise artificial-intelligence programs for the first time in 2015, alongside boring old actual people penning their not-quite-novels.
And already gunning for the gong is Hitoshi Matsubara, a professor at Future University Hakodate in Hokkaido, whose squad of computer programmers reckons it's well on its way to aping Hoshi's unique four-page, 8,000-word efforts of old.
"We are analysing Shinichi Hoshi's short stories and looking for methods on how computers make new ideas and how computers generate stories from those ideas," says Matsubara. "We are making progress and should have a passable example by mid 2015."
Any chance it can fill out and file our tax returns, too? [The Bookseller]