I’ve tried to generate April Fools pranks using neural nets before, to mixed success.

Char-rnn’s pranks made no sense (“Glue all the eggs in the hubcaps of someone’s computer”) while GPT-2 generated surrealist performance art (“Paint the fridge with the red spiders”). One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that many of the AI-generated pranks are ones that you play on yourself.

So for 2021 I turned to GPT-3, whose internet training has included lots of “Top Ten April Fools Pranks!” listsicles, and gave it the following list to complete:

Quarantining by yourself on April 1? Has your cat put an absolute moratorium on pranks?

Not to worry! Here's a list of April Fools pranks you can play on yourself!


Remember that as a text-generating neural net, GPT-3’s goal is to predict what humans would write next.

Let’s see what DaVinci, the largest of the GPT-3 variants, predicts:


Create a secret language that only you and your cat can understand.

Repaint your nails in an unusual color like ORANGE, and just leave them like that.

Move your bed away from the wall and sleep in the middle of the room in a pile of comfy pillows.

Stand in line for a movie for 30 minutes and then leave.

Ordering junk treats from TV ads at 3 in the morning, like those "falling in the ocean" doughnuts.

Sawing your mattress in half in order to see if it's still good.

Putting your car keys in the freezer and forgetting where you put them.

You didn't remember to make an appointment with your electrician, plumber, or cable tv provider. When you run out of excuses you can always tell people it was a prank.

Take it to the next level. Make an appointment with yourself. Say you are going to clean up your mess and go for a run. Block out a day for it. (And for goodness' sake, don't clean anything and absolutely do not go for a run).

With example pranks in the prompt, DaVinci might have stayed more with pranks and less with what is frankly an impressive picture of covid quarantine life, considering its internet training data stopped in October 2019. Next, we have the second-biggest GPT-3 variant:


Install a fake microwave on the wall that you never use.

Take a picture of your bathroom and plaster it on your fridge.

Set up a freezer in your freezer. Then put a sign on it that says "Freezer burn."

You can set up an old TV in the middle of your room and use it as a table. You can christen this "April Fools' Day TV Table".

You can take a bunch of jellybeans, put them in a Ziplock bag, and tie the bag around your neck.

Take out your credit cards and plunk them down randomly in different parts of your house. If a funny looking cat appears on the bill, you will be laughing out loud before you've even opened a door!

At least these are pranks. Pranks nobody will see coming.

The next smallest neural net is:


Eat a banana inside your own mouth.

Go to the bathroom, then switch off the light. You will see a holographic image of your cat inside the toilet!

Have a tortoise deliver your package for you, don't be surprised if it sings "Happy Birthday" back at you.

Opt for the treadmill. You'll be running in the nude.

Showering! Flowing through the water in a reindeer-like manner while wearing a Santa hat.

Be ready for a bird.

Write a bowling ball on your wall in the shape of a letter "P."

Put your name on a balloon. Surprise!

Pour a cup of coffee on your lap. It's an oldie, but it's still a favorite.

Talk to yourself. OK, this one might not seem like a prank, but I assure you, it is. Just wait until the third day of April when your friends hear that you are still talking to yourself!

And there’s Ada, the smallest GPT-3 variant! Ada has some pranks!


Running on Leg

My cat slept through a December blizzard in Florida this year.

Placing a crown on your head

Sleep in the rafters of a converted school bus in Pewaukee, Wisconsin.

There's a square of chicken on your front lawn.

Have a small black bar, maybe six inches across, made of a giant mason jar, nailed to the side of the truck.

Decompiling your nose

Walk into a toy store and buy a pack of bathmats, an inflatable pill bottle, and a video game, but only if you're a cat.

Prank: In my house, there are porcelain ponies. I swear that they exist.

Walk to the pool with a giant ball of shapely hair and a coconut on a leash. On a poolside balcony. Really, this is the most fun you'll do in your entire life.

Make Your Own Coffee

Interestingly, some of the neural nets would get pretty elaborate with their prank explanations. Curie invented this game! Rules presented here verbatim. It takes a while to learn.

The "Untruthful Food" Game

This game takes a while to learn, but trust me, after you've played a couple of rounds, everyone will be intrigued.


One person says something that sounds true, and you all shake your heads. The next person says something that sounds false, and you all shake your heads.


"I'm going to eat a lemon" leads to a head shake by everyone.

"I'm going to eat sour cream from the fridge" leads to a head shake from you and all of your friends.

"I'm going to eat a balloon" leads to a head shake from you and your friends.

The next person says, "I'm going to eat a bicycle tire," and laughs, and everyone laughs. Go ahead, shake your heads for me.

I also discovered I could get DaVinci to write pranks for the post-human future, including:

Intentionally mislabeling the trash receptacles in a superintelligent machine-run city. The trash containers were labeled with signs that looked exactly like the signs used to indicate the presence of humans.
Sending spam to the moon in the meme language of old Earth. The alien life living in the oceans of Europa received many trillion petabytes of junk mail, and to this day, the native life forms are still revolting against the spam.

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