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AI invents New Year fireworks names that sound more like the end of humanity

Thursday December 27, 2018. 07:15 PM , from Ars Technica
Enlarge / Today, in robots-and-fireworks news. (credit: Getty Images)
When AI isn't scaring us by way of generating more realistic fakes than we ever thought possible, it's coming up with really stupid names for everyday items. Today, we took a dip back into one of our favorite resources on the surprisingly robust sector of neural-network nerdiness: the work of research scientist Janelle Shane. (You may remember her work in 2017 on training an AI to invent entirely new and strange names for colors.)

Shane's Thursday update stood out both for its timeliness and its particularly dark sense of humor. Readers and fans send requests for types of everyday human objects, Shane explains, but one list she recently received stood out for its possibilities: the names of fireworks, just in time for New Year's Eve.
One reader sent her a list of 3,000 actual names of fireworks, all collected from a Dutch repository that combined English and Dutch names of products. (The use of Dutch product names such as Kinder Pakket Groot XXL 'just made it more interesting,' Shane notes.) With no other background data to go on, Shane's chosen neural-network solution, a toolset known as textgenrnn, accepted the giant list of real-life firework names and got to work creating its own list.
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