A warped AI Christmas

Some of you may know the Talk to Transformer AI tool.  It’s a website with a simple premise.  You type or paste in some text, and it uses machine learning to complete it.

For example, I entered the first line of Shakespeare’s Richard III (“Now is the winter of our discontent…”), and TTT riffed on it thusly:

Now is the winter of our discontent,

Winter of my drowning heart!

Darkness is upon my bed!

Its snarling hallo’s are at my door!

Am I dreadfully besieged by the night?

Good God, I beg pardon for the fear

That hovers from my lips,

On which, hour by hour, I never rise.

I do not know where I am;

Who can tell? for I know I am here,

Yet me I seem to hear asleep.

So TTT tries hard.  Here it manages verse, although it can’t make up its mind how many beats per line.  It also clearly works with some of the text’s content.  (Have fun with this tool.  It’s that easy to use. I’ve used it in classes and workshops to great effect.)

Why am I posted about it today?  Because someone decided to goad TTT into working on Christmas songs. and what followed was a feast for my Gothic and surrealist heart.

(Note: TTT adds the header “completion” to its responses.  The program also sometimes ends its run in mid-sentence.)

TalkToTransformer Christmas Carol

That got dark really quickly.  Which isn’t a crazy response to the entered text, given a lack of context.  But is a very different bit of text than we’re used to.

That experiment rapidly inspired others on Twitter, many of which became very disturbing, such as:

Talk to transformer carol 2


Talk to transformer carol 3


Talk to transformer carol 4

Naturally I had to enter the fray, so I entered the first lines of “Little Drummer Boy”:

Come they told me
Pa rum pum pum-pum
A newborn King to see
Pa rum pum pum-pum
Our finest gifts we bring
Pa rum pum pum-pum
To lay before the king
Pa rum pum pum-pum

And deliver our glory
Pa rum pum pum-pum
While they’re laying their stock
Pa rum pum pum-pum
They don’t miss an opportunity to taunt us
I’ll wipe them off the map (pun intended)
And wipe

Interesting.  Again TTT gets the formal aspect down.  And again it veers off into darkness and strangeness (what pun?).

Next, I shifted to literature, with the first lines of “A Christmas Carol”:

Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.
Later, at Supe’s house, the group decides to get someone into the city to help them out. In particular, at one point where they all have a real fight with a group of bandits.  Apparently, one of the members was targeted for a grenade that almost blew his head off, while on the other side, his cousin was killed because the leader of the group was hiding under the bed when they approached. After the fight, the group members all leave Supe, and again,

Egads.  TTT leaped from mystery and dread to war and crime.

I responded with another classic:

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

‘Tis the season for elves’ party! How little did I know
That some unwritten rule was leading me astray.
The dance’s begun, and the pantomime may be heard,
Of merry moody houses, and joyous laughter,
The clatter of clogs on the floor, and flocks of birds
In the high-caste fields, and merry jesting, and song.
But this day would

That’s not bad (but “high-caste”?).  Elves and merry are spot on.  I tried it again with the same text:

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

Not a breath was in the air, nor did any sound come
From the earth or heaven.
Then there was a great knocking at the door,
Like thunder upon a thunder-storm, which shook the place,
And made the hinges of the door tremble.
And suddenly the Great Wolf in the North came through
And the Great Whale came into the house,
And into the front of the house a man dressed in white

Wow.  At that point I decided to pause my experiments, and instead to offer you all best Christmas wishes.

a family Christmas

PS: Janelle Shane taught a neural net to create Christmas carols.  Enjoy.

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8 Responses to A warped AI Christmas

  1. Tom Haymes says:

    It’s a warning that AI is nothing but our darkest natures digitized.

  2. Ceredwyn says:

    Tonight we will wait at our house for the Great Wolf of the North and her consort the Great Whale, to come and protect us from the Man in White

  3. Michael Haggans says:

    Not an AI. Just a mortal wish of a warm Christmas and healthy new year.

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