I did one of these for 2017 last year, so I thought it would be fun to recap some of my favorite aiweirdness.com experiments from 2018. Sure, financial forecasting, facial recognition, and delivering ads may be the most common uses for machine learning, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best uses.


To me, this never gets old. Give a neural net a list of recipes and ask it to imitate them, and the resulting creations become a sort of surrealist performance art.

1. Cocktails

Key characteristics: a very short memory and an inexplicable fondness for creme de cacao.


2. Ice cream

The neural network got the cadence of ice cream flavor names, but never quite got that there were some words it should avoid. (Last year it had a similar issue with generating pies) Favorites that the Kealing Middle School Coders generated, and favorites that I generated with the training data they collected.


3. Cookies

Generating cookies was an even easier task than cocktail recipes and ice cream flavors because the neural network didn’t even have to learn to generate real words. People ended up baking their own interpretations of many of these, and they were much better than anything the neural net could have come up with on its own. Human/AI partnership – AI still needs humans to actually make the cookies!



4. SkyKnit

A project called SkyKnit had a neural network attempt to reproduce knitting patterns. Human knitters translated the resulting very strange instructions into actual knitted objects. The fewer of SkyKnit’s mistakes they fixed during debugging, the weirder the knitting became.


[Make Caows and Shapcho - invented by SkyKnit, knitted by MeganAnn]


5. Candy Hearts

It turns out that neural nets can also imitate candy heart names, although giving these to your sweetheart may or may not have the intended effect.


6. Burlesque

Speaking of romance, I had a go at naming a new burlesque show with a neural net as well. The resulting post, “AI Does Not Understand Sexy” was temporarily (and ironically) censored by Tumblr as containing adult material. The first neural net-named burlesque show, “My Rear’s On The Sexy” played to a sold-out house.

My 2017 Farty Burlesque Adventure
Sex Your Eye Out!
The Stripper Stripper Dave Burlesque Show
The Pants of Fame Burlesque Adventure


7. Telling jokes

Joke-telling is one of those few areas where science fiction has it right about AI - neural networks do indeed have a tough time with humor. I trained a neural net on about 43,000 jokes and the resulting joke-shaped but not joke-containing things reminded many people of the jokes that five-year-olds tell.

How many engineers does it take to change a light bulb?
A star an alligator and because they are bees.

What do you get when you cross a pirate and a little butter?
A bathroom.

Why do seagulls fly over the sea?
Because they know …………..

8. April Fool’s jokes

A neural net’s pranks are the kind that people will never expect, and will never understand.

Put marbles in the refrigerator.
Place a pair of pants and shoes in your ice dispenser.
Putting googly eyes on someone’s computer mouse so that it won’t work.
Put marbles in the hand soap dispenser.


9. Snake species

Just discovered a new species of snake and not sure what to call it? This neural net has you covered.


10. Robotics teams

When the neural net gets tired of wowing us with its culinary masterpieces and instead turns toward world domination, at least the name of its elite strike force will be interesting, judging by the names it suggested for these high school robotics teams.


AI Weirdness supporters get bonus content: planning to bake more this year? Start things out right with this recipe for Sugar Favorites.

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