Splorts Teams
3 min read

Splorts Teams

Splorts Teams

There is a game called Blaseball that started online in summer 2020. Gameplay is both entirely straightforward and profoundly confusing - a rulebook is now available, but is almost completely redacted, and what is left is ominous. Players have names like “Jessica Telephone” and “Jaylen Hotdogfingers” and keep getting incinerated, and weather effects can include “Black Hole” or “Lots of Birds”. There are no graphics, unless you count a few simple icons and emoji.

And the teams, which each come with their own little emoji logo, are odd. There are reasonable names like:

🦀 Baltimore Crabs

🔥Chicago Firefighters

but also disconcerting teams like:

👟Charleston Shoe Thieves

🍬 Kansas City Breath Mints

Teams are not limited to the US, nor, apparently, need they be cities. There’s:

🗣️ Canada Moist Talkers

🍗 Mexico City Wild Wings

🐅Hades Tigers

🌞 Hellmouth Sunbeams

(Again, these are the ones that as far as I know are generated by humans). So, heedless of the possible consequences, I gave the existing list of 20 teams to GPT-3, a neural network trained on a dataset that includes most of the internet - at least, the internet as it was in October 2019. That version of the internet never knew Blaseball. With absolutely no idea what it was doing, or what any of this means, the AI predicted that, given the list of 20 existing teams, the set of teams likely to follow include the following:

Washington, D.C. Mish Mash 📚 St. Louis Mashed Potatoes 🥔 Omaha Face Punchers 👊 Europe Medium Toast 🥖 Toronto Hotcakes 🥞 Vanuatu Apple Holes 🍎 Prague Partridges 🐦 Atlantis Turnips 🥕 Grand Rapids Wet Pretzels 🍩 Fargo Pretty Trees 🌲 Faroe Islands Plesiosaurs 🦐 Death Valley Submarines🚳 Phoenix Warm Nuggets ☀️ Detroit Octopods 🐙 Syracuse Locusts 🐜 Philippines Fierce Frogs 🐸 Russia Slush Pals ☃️ Orlando Brooms 🧹 Venus Skunks 💩 Las Vegas Moonsharks 🐟 Tokyo Cherry Blossom Spiders 🕸️

[very cursed font: Deep Script 2, generated by a neural network]

I didn’t include ALL of the AI’s suggested teams. For example, the San Francisco Scrotums and the Daytona Suppositories were eliminated from the short list. And although the AI generated emojis to go with each team, I decided to substitute the skunk emoji for the poo emoji it had originally chosen for the Venus Skunks, and the grasshopper emoji for the ant emoji it chose for the Syracuse Locusts. The skunk and the grasshopper were only introduced in 2019, and hadn’t spread to much of the internet by the time GPT-3 was trained.

But, again, the AI had also never heard of Blaseball. Although it would add a few teams at a time to the existing list, it would often stop adding teams and start writing stories. Such as the story of the four Lone Wolf Kids and the Ravenwood School’s portal (they like texting and taking selfies!). Or the story of Rachel, wandering near Blister Creek, contemplating the mysterious illness that has Marked her (the doctors say it’s “normal”).

The AI also switched directly from generating teams to generating this magnificent table of contents, and had even started the first chapter before it was stopped:

Contents

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

Light, Act I

1. Glints and Glitters

2. Behemoth’s Shiny Buttocks

3. Wooden Caskets

4. Howler Express

5. Flawless Coordination

6. Three Men and a Flask

7. A Gruesome Gift

8. Laughs Galore

9. Splintered Wood and a Glowing Jaw

10. Leeches and Moonflowers

11. Sword Sister

12. The Dog Park

13. Glitter and Gilding

14. The Unlightful Light

15. All Things in Their Place

16. Infuriating Smartness

17. The Reestablishment

18. Friend or Foe

19. Horrible Stories

20. High-Pressure Charms

21. Breaking In and Breaking Useful

22. One Step Forward, One Stomp Back

23. Dangling Down

24. Unanticipated-but-No-Longer-Unwelcome

25. Ring of Outrageous Grenades

26. Vicious Spreads of Snakes and Skeletons

27. Full Circle

Author’s Note

1 Glints and Glitters

TRISTAN PUT THE CORK BACK INTO THE FIZZY LIGHTNING CANNISTER HE’D GOTTEN off a random Galactic Warrior, then lobbed it between the battling monsters. Nearby, as the fizzing mist curled out into the monstrous puffs over the sewer, a surprised whisper sounded, “My! A parachute!” Could it really be that simple? Tristan passed a hand down his face to relive the blistering feeling of exultation that had no doubt brightened his features.

GPT-3 has seen a lot of fanfic online, so I guess that’s where all this is coming from? question mark? Had I given it existing team names, it would have generated more existing names, but with a weird input like the blaseball teams, it went careening off into fictional universes.

If you want to read the stories of the Lone Wolf Kids, of Rachel, and some terrible fiction about warriors battling a cordyceps, become a supporter of AI Weirdness and check out the bonus post!

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My book on AI, You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: How Artificial Intelligence Works and Why it’s Making the World a Weirder Place, is available wherever books are sold: Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Indiebound - Tattered Cover - Powell’s - Boulder Bookstore