So the folks on Ravelry’s LSG forum are quickly becoming some of my favorite people on the Internet. They enabled the fiber-wrangling wonder that is SkyKnit, feeding it a dataset of knitting patterns to learn from and then turning its mistake-prone patterns into hilarious reality. They’re hard at work collecting a dataset of crochet hats for SkyKnit’s sibling, HAT3000. And it turns out there’s an (also 18+) sister group of LSG folks who are also nail polish fanciers, and who have amassed large personal lists of nail polish colors. Why? I don’t know, but it’s a machine learning algorithm’s dream.

The nail polish fanciers (the group is called “There’s Fiber in My Polish”) graciously contributed their name collections to the cause, filling a spreadsheet with several thousand entries in just a few hours. I already knew that neural networks can generate paint colors, but this is the first time I’d tried to get colors out of a neural network that was previously trained on metal bands.

Thanks to its head start on the rules of spelling English words, this algorithm didn’t go through the usual alphabet soup phase of learning about vowels and spaces. It did, however, go through an initial phase where it produced nail polish colors like this:

Murder Earth
Blue Slaughter
All Death
Bear Hollow
Orange Flay
Pink Silence
I Dared
Sacred Rose Mange
Opal You Death
Pink The Foull
Sea of Leather
Stray Color
Claw Green
Chambers of Flame
Shades of Flesh
Brutally Bright
Mind Machine
Blue Dirty Flesh Night
Burphouse of Poppy Transis

As it learned more about nail polish names, though, it gradually forgot about its dark past - this phenomenon is called “catastrophic forgetting” and is part of the reason that machine learning algorithms have to specialize at one task at a time.

It started creating polish names that were actually pretty believable:

Purple Skystone
Sweet Eclipse
Neon Sunshine
Fire In the Starry Fell
Moonland Purple
That Orange Spice
OMG Power
Indigo Dragon
Flame Dust
Teal Moon
Neon Pow

Several would also make good names for punk bands:

Ink Flame
Electric Frost
Blue Wine
Fire Splat
Lime Force
Bike String
Neon Mint Alice
Twilight Mashery
Charming Machine
Butter Street
Mind Sparkle
Shattered Girls
Lead Not the Poppy

Nail polish names can be very strange (“I’d never eat your brains,” “Hands Off My Kielbasa!” “My Gecko Does Tricks,” “Fishwife”), but these would give even the strangest a run for their money:

Bloshing Glip
Pants of Sun
Bat in Love
Grinch Pink
Clearly Stare’s Hoot
Mews, New Universe
Science Stars
Pickwool Mint
Space Holly
Gold Be Tangeling
The Green is In the Be Glitter
Metallic With All of the Alive
Pant Summer Up of the mangle
Don’t Man Splat
Grape Have
Angel Wants
Magic Sharker
I’m the Sunshiple
Little Dangest Street
Dance Pants
Pickles Green
Candy in Santa
Girls Burblipp
Collide Loopstorm
Ink-Orange Me, Orange
Chunky The Midnight Doodle
What Hello Glake Decisonator

And of course there was an entire category of names that will probably not catch on.

Love Rot
Fail Pink
Wart Boy
Blood 204
Dead Pearl
Social Mace
Mooned Black
Old With Anger
Suffering Lights
Acid Touch Green
Evil Gold
Charming Tick
Diamond Flesh
Song of the Booty
Sorry Green
Fail The Baby
Sore Love Diamond Pink
Ashes in the Green
Creamscrap Golden Bop Dragon

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You can already order neural network-generated nail polish colors - Dreamland Lacquer is selling Stanky Bean, Clay Cow, Dorkwood, Copper Panty, and Light of Blast, all paint colors that were generated by a neural network: see here and here.

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