Last year I trained a neural net to generate new names for kittens, by giving it a list of over 8,000 existing cat names to imitate. Starting from scratch, with zero knowledge of English or any context for the words and letter combinations it was trying out, it tried to predict what letters might be found in cat names, and in which order. Its names ranged from the strange to the completely nonsensical to the highly unfortunate (Retchion, Hurler, and Trickles were some of its suggestions). Without knowledge of English beyond its list of cat names, it didn’t know what letter combinations to avoid.
So I decided to revisit the cat-naming problem, this time using a neural net that had a lot more context. GPT-2, trained by OpenAI on a huge chunk of the internet, knows which words and letter combinations tend to be used together on the English-language internet. It also has (mostly) figured out which words and letter combinations to avoid, at least in some contexts (though it does tend to suddenly switch contexts, and then, yikes).
When I trained GPT-2 on the list of cat names using Max Woolf’s colab notebook, it still retained a lot of what it had learned from the rest of the internet. Gone were the strange names like “Tilly-Mapper” and “Balllucidoux” - it had a bunch of real words it could use instead. Here are some of the names it came up with - and the Morris Animal Refuge (who you may remember from that time they used neural net names for their guinea pigs) has given some of these names to some highly adoptable kittens.
First, neural net can do fancy:
M. Tinklesby Linklater Soap
It can also do the opposite of fancy:
Scat Cat Butthole
And it can also do names ranging from tough to downright sinister:
Lillith The Vamp
Romeo of Darkness
Scarlet Be Thy Coat
Kill All Humans
Bones Of The Master
(Starmaker and Sparky Buttons are from a litter that had upper respiratory infections that damaged their eyes, but even though their world is kinda cloudy, they love to play and cuddle.)
I’m a particular fan of the Very Weird cat names:
You’re Telling A Lie
You Name It
EXTAs (Eye Stalks)
Checker Spin Donut Quin
Two Patz Grandpa
Accepted A Tribute
Notable PRODUCT LEGEND Weird Science Platinum
Not Suitable For Character the Enforcer
Did I mention these cats are adoptable? If you live near Philadelphia, you live near these kitties!
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