I am always amazed by all the corners of life that have their own naming conventions. What makes a name sound like an heirloom apple, or a cookie, or a Pokemon?

Here’s one I had never thought much about: the names of fireworks. Bruce Preston spends the New Year in the Netherlands where fireworks are a big deal. He collected the names of over 3,000 fireworks from, ranging from “Important Pyro Show” to “Super 8 Cake Blue Star” to “Kinder Pakket Groot XXL” (some of the names are in Dutch, which just made it more interesting).

Now the reason people send me datasets like this is because I like to give them to algorithms called neural networks, which can learn to imitate the words they see. Without any direction from me, and without any prior knowledge of the words and what they mean (or even that they ARE words; they might be knitting patterns), the neural network (here, textgenrnn) produces its best imitation.

In this case, its best imitation of fireworks sounds a lot like, well, an artificial intelligence trying to imitate fireworks names.

Happiness Rockets
Gold Mini wow
Flaming Thundersplont Box
Crackling Shapes
Bright Blue Stoppers
Soundd Box
Red flashing cake
Machine Blinking Display
Code Rumble
Smile Rockets
Extreme maxied whistling
None Star Thunder
Excellent Rain
What Crackling 16
Silver Pirate Counters

Some of the imitations are particularly poor. Or awesome, depending on how you look at it.

Pronk XL
B2B Torch All-Dang
Shark Whistler
1 Darner Box
Far Exploring Palm
Black Moo
Senior Fountain
Just Timmy
Hurricane Said Bang
Shaming Bulls
Big Doo Cake
Spent on the Bun

And some of its fireworks sound more like they’re from the post-human era where machines dimly remember what humans were like, and celebrate them with commemorative explosions.

Medium mushing box
Green Event Shorts
I just looked
Definite Box
Into Eggs
Oh Fountain
Event Badger One Assortiment
Sneaking Veet Box 3
Black Hall is released
Golden Strink is 4x
Original Cat Pix Budget 2 Boom

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