AI Weirdness in 2019
4 min read

AI Weirdness in 2019

AI Weirdness in 2019

Here’s a look back at a few of my favorite projects from 2019!

  1. My book, You Look Like a Thing and I Love You
    I published my first book, a pop science look at how artificial intelligence works and why it’s making the world a weirder place. It’s called You Look Like a Thing and I Love You (named after a neural net generated pickup line) and I’m so proud of how it turned out. According to a neural net, it’s “a featureless masterpiece of tough-minded language”. Learn more at youlooklikeathing.com
You Look LIke a Thing and I Love You: How AI Works and Why It’s Making the World a Weirder Place - available wherever books are sold!

2. The rejected book titles

Here are all the titles that didn’t make the cut.

Strange Serve
Butter Chapters
NOT Chocolate
The Doom of Humans
The Million Murders Book
Kevin
Everything Moon!
Horses of Pants
The Book of Pies
Hello, You Colons
History of Sweat
The Sign of Fart!
Swearing Machine!

3. NYT Opinion: We Shouldn’t Bother the Feral Scooters of Central Park

I wrote a story for the New York Times’s Op Eds From The Future series about a population of feral self-driving scooters in NYC, whose evolutionary programming allowed them to survive on the streets. By 2031 they’d been evolving for a decade, but not all the behaviors they evolved were human-friendly. Read the story!

#SaveTheScooters
The self-driving scooters are just another form of wildlife trying to survive.
We can learn to coexist

4. HAT3000

I trained a neural net to generate crochet hat patterns, only to discover that its hats had a tendency to explode into hyperbolic super-surfaces with jaw-droppingly huge stitch counts. One, called simply “The End” would have consumed enough yarn to wrap the known universe in a ball of yarn about a billion light years thick.

A brain-shaped crochet ball gets more and more ruffled. In the final step, it’s the size of an actual human brain and someone is wearing it as a hat.

5. Culture Ship Names

The self-aware spaceships of Iain M. Banks’s Culture novels sometimes have rather sassy names. I used GPT-2 to generate more of them.

Not Disquieting At All
Surprise Surprise
And That’s That!
Absently Tilting To One Side
ASS FEDERATION
A Small Note Of Disrespect
8 Angry Doughnut Feelings
Mini Cactus Cake Fight
Happy to Groom Any Animals You Want

6. My TED talk on AI

I gave a talk about AI on the TED main stage! And also found out how a neural net would have written it.

7. Tea

In a quieter moment, I used GPT-2 to find out what tea will be like in The Simulation

Glowing Sky Rabbit
Cold Sheep & Thunder!
Slippery Violet Sands
Memory boops
Indoor Cream Wave
Squirrely Bubbles
REFILLED POWER Fraps
Shiny Living Veins
Blue Foam Duet

8. Lozenge rooms? Or eating the moon?

Two terrific dungeon crawling games came out this year, both made with the neural net GPT-2. In GPT-2 Adventure, nothing seems to work but gameplay is maddening and mesmerizing. In AI Dungeon 2, gameplay is astonishingly flexible. I once entered the Great British Bakeoff and won it. As a dragon. Play AI Dungeon 2 yourself!

Whistle for one of the dragons to come back   You whistle for the dragon to return. It flies over to you and lands on your shoulder. It looks at you with its glowing yellow eyes and it slowly begins to sniff you. Then it licks your face. The smell is so good that you immediately start licking your own face   > Transform into a dragon  You change into a dragon and fly away. Soon, you find yourself soaring through the sky. Suddenly, you feel like you're being sucked towards the sun. You stop flying and turn around. The sun is shining brightly and you can see the blackness of space beyond it  > Eat the moon  You fly over to the moon and eat it. You feel very full afterwards.

9. An AI goes a-caroling fa la la

I had a neural net try to generate Christmas carols, but though I used a more advanced one than last time, it still got confused. Voice actor Joe Zieja recorded one of the more sinister-sounding carols and it is MAGNIFICENT

A box robot in a santa hat says fa la la la la la la

10. AInktober

I generated lists of drawing prompts for Inktober, and people drew some truly astonishing things in response. Check out the #ainktober hashtags on instagram, tumblr, and twitter, and prepare to be blown away.

1. half fake
2. Skull crusher
3. Spaghetti
4. big witch
5. Modern whistling
6. Small Swords
7. Thing Named SEA
8. Lively Vulture song
9. Snit
10. Fear cow
11. Snow floating in giant blaze
12. Medusa veiled
13. Flowing jacket
14. Master of shifting flame
15. Pie crust
16. Poisonous navel frisson
17. this must be a behavor
18. fish from pit of darkness
19. All naked
20. Uh
21. Ass link
22. shadowbender
23. organ crew
24. Pear horror
25. fossil's words
26. Voidfish
27. Chair wobble
28. Nut Ball
29. Road turtle
30. hoardling
31. surprise park

I used a neural net to generate new medieval professions. Cactus-baiter, Blusterer, Enchanter of Clocks, and more. AI Weirdness supporters get them as bonus content! Or become a free subscriber to get new AI Weirdness posts in your inbox.

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My book on AI is out, and, you can now get it any of these several ways! Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Indiebound - Tattered Cover - Powell’s