Once again, a neural net tries to name cats
3 min read

Once again, a neural net tries to name cats

Once again, a neural net tries to name cats
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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:

Taffeta
Pompompur
Monocle
Tom Glitter
Notion
Tinnitus
Cheesemonger
M. Tinklesby Linklater Soap
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It can also do the opposite of fancy:

Scat Cat Butthole
Gangrene
Moisture
Grotesque
Petard
Oilbag
Buttwig
The Cream
Meatbag
Dr Fart
Fudge Putty
Scumbag
Constipation
BUTT

And it can also do names ranging from tough to downright sinister:

Miss Vulgar
Lillith The Vamp
Elle Fury
Deadbolt
Romeo of Darkness
Starmaker
Fist
Warning Signs
Bibles Smoked
The Firestarter
Higher Rune
Scarlet Be Thy Coat
Kill All Humans
Bones Of The Master
Mr. Sinister
Evil Whispers
Spawn
Serendipitous Kill
Stranglehold
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(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:

Honeystring
Dr Leg
Tom Noodle
Pinball Scene
Peanutbutterjiggles
You’re Telling A Lie
Beep Boop
Thoughts
Bobble Bun
Atmosphere
You Name It
Whiskeridoo
Sparky Buttons
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Seemingly
This Guy
Various Authors
Chicken Whiskey
Fish Especially
Thelonious Monsieur
Ringo Shuffles
Sweet Cakes
EXTAs (Eye Stalks)
Checker Spin Donut Quin
Two Patz Grandpa
He Glad
Funky Moe
Fluttering Feelers
Accepted A Tribute
Chewie Bean
PLEASE
Gregory Chimney
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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