The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration releases its planned hurricane names years in advance, and includes a pronunciation guide for each name. An excerpt from NOAA's 2026 Atlantic Basin Storm Name Pronunciations:
Whenever I see a list like this, I naturally wonder what a neural net might make of it. I'm specifically interested in the larger neural nets I've been using lately, like the GPT-3 variants, which have encountered lots of names during their internet training yet are known to produce absolutely cursed attempts at pronunciation guides.
The largest GPT-3 variant, DaVinci, was pretty good at identifying common names and providing pronunciation guides that are not too far off from how I myself would say them. Although I definitely say this one differently:
But things did get stranger when I gave GPT-3 dates farther in the future. I know it's not actually predicting that the already tenuous link between spelling and pronunciation in English is going to do some pretty extreme things in the next 50 years, but that's sure what it looks like:
I also prompted the smallest GPT-3 variant, Ada, with the list of officially planned NOAA hurricane names and pronunciations. I would definitely need most of these spelled out for me the first time I heard them.
I was curious, so I appended a few other names to the end of the list of hurricanes so Ada could provide me a pronunciation guide. I guess I'll be introducing myself differently from now on.
Before I discovered I could get GPT-3 DaVinci to vary its pronunciation guides by simply advancing the date, I experimented with some other prompts. One of the more successful experiments was the one in which I told it that the storms had grown ever more intense, so the names had to grow more epic to match. If you're an AI Weirdness supporter, you can read them as bonus content. Or become a free subscriber to read new AI Weirdness posts in your inbox!