A scientist has marked Valentine’s Day by teaching a neural network to compose romantic messages for candy hearts.
Janelle Shane, who in her day job creates computer-controlled holograms for studying the brain, collected genuine messages printed on the heart-shaped sweets to use as training data.
She then fed them to a neural network so that it could learn the patterns behind the words.
The messages it produced ranged from the endearing “LOVE BUN” to the frankly insulting “MY HAG”.
people sometimes wonder why i am like this pic.twitter.com/ZQ9VJYUJLO
— Janelle Shane (@JanelleCShane) February 11, 2020
Shane could only find about 360 authentic messages to use as training data, so she decided to perform a follow-up that added her favorite ones produced by the neural network. This increased the total training dataset to almost 500 messages.
Sickly sweet candy hearts
The neural network’s second attempt produced a slightly disturbing fetish for bears, producing messages including “BE MY BEAR”, “TIME BEAR” and “STACK BEAR”.
“In fact, I’m seeing worrying signs of a bear-based feedback loop that might lead to 100% bear content after a few more iterations of this,” Shane wrote in a blog post.
It also produced more complimentary, ambiguous and risky expressions of love — as well as revealing a dirtier side to its tastes. Those X-rated messages have been hidden for the benefit those of a sensitive disposition, but if you’re brave enough to take a peek you can do so by signing up to Shane’s email list.
The candy hearts aren’t Shane’s first attempt to mix AI and romance. She previously taught a neural network to invent pickup lines, one of which became the title of her book: You Look Like a Thing and I Love You.
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