AI Poem


Informant (T) is a student studying at USC.

Main Piece:

“Nothing is so good or so bad that it can’t be both at the same time.”


“My friend likes to create poems using AI, and this was a sentence made from one of them, and we like to use it a lot now.”


The usage of digital technology in folklore is now a primary topic of debate. Whether or not this saying can be constituted as folklore could certainly be contested, but as according to my informant, they use it amongst their group, thus being passed around orally. Folklore studies are also generally less concerned with the origin of a piece of folklore in recent years, so despite the technological origins of this piece, I believe it still counts as folklore. This particular saying is both vague and universal enough that it emulates an actual proverb, which are popular as they are short and easily understood, and also embody a form of historical wisdom. In this case, the saying speaks on moral balance and the inherent gray nature of things (rather than having a clearly defined good vs. evil), which perhaps aligns with the moral compass of my informant and his circle of contacts.

Using digital technology as a means to create folklore also raises interesting questions on copyright and ownership, which are also increasingly prevalent discussions in the 21st century. While my informant didn’t specifically touch on ownership, it is highly possible that such pieces of digitally-created media are then owned by its creator (perhaps the most prominent example of this would be NFTs), and while in this case the saying is attributed to my friend, if it spreads across a larger population, the origin of such a saying could eventually become blurred.