Ghostwriter – GPT3 Powered Typewriter

Created by Arvind Sanjeev, Ghostwriter is a project that invites us to mindfully co-create with the AI through a vintage typewriter’s tactile and physical form. Imagined as a calm meditative interface it removes all the digital distractions and takes us on an emotional journey through paper and ink. It allows us to focus on the act of co-creation itself by slowing down our interaction with the machine to become more deliberate with our prompts.

With the exponential growth and overwhelming emergence of new AI products we see every day, I wanted to create an intervention that allows us to take a moment to breathe and reflect on this new creative relationship we are forming with machines. 

Arvind Sanjeev

Inspired by Robin Sloan’s “Writing with the machine”, the idea for Ghostwriter came in early 2021 and Arvind has been slowly spending his weekends working on the project. He started with his search for an electronic typewriter that would let him read the keys through an Arduino. After an exhaustive hunt, he found a worn-out Brother model on OLX (Indian eBay). He then spent the time restoring: replacing the broken daisy wheel, getting new cartridges, lubricating and cleaning. Reading the keys from the typewriter proved to be the most significant technical challenge. He spent a lot of time decoding the keyboard matrix consisting of eight scan and eight signal lines. He pressed each key, read its triggered signal-scan lines and mapped it to the corresponding key. Now powered by the GPT-3 language model from OpenAI; enter any prompt through the typewriter and hit the return key to receive a response from the AI. Inside, the Arduino that reads the user’s prompts shares them with a raspberry pi which queries the GPT-3 API.

Project Page | Arvind Sanjeev