Interview: Hannah Silva ahead of her drama ‘An Artificially Intelligent Guide to Love’ on BBC Radio 4

We caught up with playwright and QMUL Leverhulme Fellow, Hannah Silva to talk about her new radio play on the algorithm and love.

Hannah will be talking about the play on BBC 4’s flagship arts show Front Row on Tuesday 8 February 2022.

Tell us about An Artificially Intelligent Guide to Love’. What should we expect? 

In ‘An Artificially Intelligent Guide to Love’ I have a conversation with a machine-learning algorithm about love, dating, and my life as a single queer mum. The algorithm’s responses range from the funny and surreal, to the poetic and poignant. When I ask the algorithm questions about love it tells me: ‘I’d suggest that you find out how to answer these questions. This is not just about writing. It is about real life. The answers are in your life.’  

What inspires you to write stories like this? 

I always enjoy finding ways to generate material to work with. In the past I’ve used cut up writing methods a lot, where I splice together existing texts and subvert their meanings. Working with an algorithm is an extension of these procedural writing methods.  

I wanted to think about love with this project because in the past I didn’t think about it, I just fell in it. I wondered what a machine-learning algorithm might be able to teach me about love.  

What advice would you give to emerging writers at Queen Mary? 

Prioritise reading, writing and thinking, and don’t give up.    

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All Things SED Editor

I am the Web and Marketing Administrator in the School of English and Drama. Amongst my various roles, I run the School's website (www.sed.qmul.ac.uk) and its Twitter feed (@QMULsed). I also manage the running of the School's Open Days and draft promotional materials.

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