How the father of AI John McCarthy was able to write personalised covers for The Drum's readers

For a special issue of The Drum dedicated to artificial intelligence (AI), personalised covers have been created for 1,000 of our readers using an AI-powered robot.

The Sharpie-scrawled covers feature the handwriting of computer scientist John McCarthy, despite the fact he died in 2011. The stroke, the slant and the spacing of the handwritten notes are all his, but each line was penned by an AI-powered robot that has learned how to mimic a human’s handwriting, identifying nuances and idiosyncrasies and playing with these so that every time it will be imperfect but perfectly unique.

Programmed by Bristolian start-up The Handwriting Company, the robot can provide handwritten direct marketing campaigns in anyone's hand.

McCarthy, who spent most of his career working at Stanford University, is credited with having coined the term 'artificial intelligence' and was a recipient of the Turing Award in 1971. He died in 2011, aged 84.

The Drum's editor-in-chief Gordon Young headed along to the Bristol Robotics Laboratory to make a short documentary showing the special edition being created and the innovation being produced at the laboratory (see above).

The Drum AI Guide is available exclusively to subscribers. If you'd like to be first to The Drum's insightful and ingenious print publications, subscribe to The Drum Ink, our new magazine subscription package. You can also grab a copy of The Drum AI Guide from our back catalogue here.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.