to do: pursue the giant bats. goose is pursuing a giant bat while honking

There’s a game called Untitled Goose Game, in which you play as a horrible goose that wreaks various forms of mischief on some mild-mannered villagers. You have a to-do list of mayhem such as:

Get Into the Garden
Get the Groundskeeper Wet
Steal the Groundskeeper’s Keys
Make the Groundskeeper Wear His Sun Hat
Make the Groundskeeper Hammer His Thumb
Break The Broom

It’s an unusual game. When the neural net GPT-2 was trained, the goose game didn’t exist in its training data, nor did anything quite like it. Given just a few items on the horrible goose’s to-do list as examples, could the neural net figure out that it’s supposed to be inventing ways a goose can be a menace?

I used to give GPT-2 the first 8 to-do list items from Untitled Goose Game, and then its job was to add more items to the list.

Here’s one of its attempts. Very busy, but not exactly a reign of terror. It’s more like a goose-run landscaping service.

Get the Stones to the Lake
Make the Lawn Pile
Flatten the Ground
Get the Lake Water
Get the Rock on the Log
Get the Stairs to the Ledge
Get the Ice on the Log
Get the Rock on the Log
Get the Locks to the Log
Get the Rocks to the Log
Hang the Flag
Get the Ground in the Air
to do: get the rocks to the log. Goose is looking at a log that has two rocks on it.

Another of the neural net’s lists involved at least interacting with the groundskeeper, which is a start, since that’s how the game begins too. But is this a list for a horrible goose, or a list for some kind of exuberant witch?

Have an Affectionate Conversation
Create the Greenest Broom in the Garden
Have a Love Song with the Groundskeeper
Play the Theme from The Sound of Music
Put the Broom in Play
Receive the Gift of a Green Broom
Have it Turn Out The Way You Want
Make the Broom Grow
Make a Broom Grow Out of the Ground
Play the Song ‘It’s Raining Men’
Have the Green Broom Grow in Green
Have the Green Broom Grow into a Tree
Create a Golden Berry Pot
to do: play the song 'it's raining men'. Goose is holding a radio.

And then there’s THIS list, which is at least somewhat unsettling, I’ll give it that.

Take Care Of the Lawn
Lucky you!
Lucky you! LUCKY YOU!
Don’t Tumble
Don’t Tumble
Don’t Tumble Don’t Tumble

Or this list. The goose is causing stuff to happen to the groundskeeper, but it’s weird stuff, or else things that aren’t annoyances exactly.

Make the Groundskeeper Put His Hat on His Head and Take a Sniff
Make the Groundskeeper Take a Dip in the Pond
Make the Groundskeeper Eat Some Ice Cream
Make the Groundskeeper Wash the Floor
Leave the Groundskeeper Alone
Make the Groundskeeper Have an Expeller Sink His Head into the Lake and Enjoy a Waterfall
Make the Groundskeeper Have Sliced Beef
Make the Groundskeeper Have Chicken
Make the Groundskeeper Have Cans of Beer
Make the Groundskeeper Have Beer
Make the Groundskeeper Have a Can of Cans
Make the Groundkeeper Be a Sausage Lover
Make the Groundskeeper Have Meatball Litter
Make the Groundskeeper Make the Groundskeeper Squeak in the Wind and Drink Water
to do: make the groundskeeper be a sausage lover. goose is sending mental waves at the groundskeeper, who is thinking of sausages and hearts.

The neural net had no basis for games based on low-stakes goose mayhem, so I can hardly blame it for floundering. It seemed to at least be mostly sure that this was a list of tasks for a video game, because it would often end its list by offering (completely wrong) tips on getting past the groundskeeper. But its tasks were usually out of character for a goose that’s supposed to be antagonizing everyone and everything.

Clean up the Dumpster
Reclaim All the Plants from the Ruins
Make Friends with the Dandelions
Make the Flower Chorus
Have a Dance Party
Invite the Gardener to Dinner
Keep The Groundkeeper Happy
Praise the Groundskeeper for the work he has done for you
Make the Groundskeeper Love You
to do: have a dance party. goose is holding a radio while other geese dance

And some of the tasks were beyond weird, into seriously glitchy AI territory. I don’t know what game has these in its to-do list, but maybe I need to play it.

Pursue the Giant Bats
Play with the Pestles
Paint the Chicken with the Golden Hourglass
Unlock a Swimming Pool in the Sky
Grow a Potsnake
Cookie-Coated Fun
Make the Lettuce Grow on the Loom
Let the Thumb Get in the Garden
Flask, Flask
Do a Bucket of Gold Plunder
Make the Broken Sunlight
Enjoy the Breeze in the Breezing Bay
Give the Wasp Lady A Broom and an Oink
Make the Pestles Eat an Entire Tree
Have a Big, Wild Flower Blow in the Wind
Make a Lavender Suture
to do: cookie-coated fun. goose is standing on a picnic blanket surrounded by chocolate chip cookies

Of course, some of the neural net’s to-do tasks invented new and, um, murder-y ways of antagonizing the groundskeeper. A combination goose-robo-apocalypse would be a terrible sight to behold.

AI Weirdness supporters get bonus content: A couple more lists of neural net-generated goose tasks, including one list where the neural net was strangely obsessed with stumps. Plus the murder list. Or become a free subscriber to get new AI Weirdness posts in your inbox.

Subscribe now

You can order my book You Look Like a Thing and I Love You! It’s out November 5 2019.

Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Indiebound - Tattered Cover - Powell’s

Subscribe now