Sports teams designed by neural network
One of the many impressive things about neural networks is how well the same basic algorithm can adapt to very different kinds of problems. I’ve used the same framework, Char-rnn, to produce things like recipes, Dr. Who episode titles, D&D spells, story titles, metal band names, Pokemon, and paint colors. With no prior knowledge of what the input dataset is, the neural net looks at it a few characters at a time and learns to predict what comes next. Once a neural net can predict the next character in a set, it’s easy to make it generate text by giving it a single character and asking it “what next?” and then “what next?” again and again.
Here, the neural network has to learn a dataset that would probably be very difficult to explain to any sort of artificial intelligence: the names of sports teams.
“You know how we humans like to run around kicking or throwing balls into nets? Well, we do. Anyways, we need names for the teams so we know what to shout to help them during games. No, we also shout when the games are on television. It’s hard to explain.”
The training data was a list of almost 46,000 high school, college, and professional teams, generously provided by MascotDB.com.
By the time it had gone through 8% of the dataset, the neural network had learned about spaces, capital letters, plurals, and line breaks, though not about any actual team names. It thinks e’s are probably common. These would be easy to shout, though.
Raise Callen Caaeees
Corte Colteee Cares
At a higher creativity setting, the names are somewhat… less shoutable.
Mal Ceinrl Melga Carynoads
Jaatohi jrpmWhollrioa ongmgis
Beettt Riiara fiicly neadks
Cirecs C vieee Sa lBlrrl
Nutl Jatreeh Rthglrrs
Saihei UilanlTr Pgllnms
BecoNviroe Ntnrraintoee RittaotboiRmiirlovatts
Now at 23% through the dataset, the neural network has eased back on the e’s. The combination “ers” is now its new favorite. It has not yet managed to produce any actual city or team names yet.
Vande Corte Carters
St. Corthors Callers
The neural network is now trying very hard to spell “tigers”, “panthers” and “cardinals” but has not yet figured out exactly how this works. The words “State” and “College” have featured prominently enough, however, that it has successfully learned them. The neural network has also somehow figured out how to apply suffixes to them, although not how to apply the correct ones.
Stateston College Tagers
Staters College Tagers
Statet College Balldons
In a surprise leap, the Bulldogs have taken the lead. The neural network is still struggling with Cardinals and Tigers. And wherever the heck Furton is, it has been deemed Very Important in sports.
“No, bulldogs and tigers aren’t actually good at sports. They’re just fearsome.
… no, cardinals aren’t particularly fearsome. It’s hard to explain.”
North College Colders
Burning College Bulldogs
Now the neural network can spell things. It will hallucinate nonexistent counties and colleges all day, and assign them tigers and eagles and cardinals as mascots. It has basically solved mascot names - if you want an ordinary mascot name, the neural network can pick one for you. With a small chance that you’ll end up being the Radgers or the Tancans.
Lunter County Tigers
Wort County Bulldogs
Lord County Stars
Turson County Eagles
New York Hankers
At the high-creativity setting, however, the team names get a bit more interesting. You would not want to be on any of these teams.
New mork Punts
Wurt Academy Eiglrs
Frirg City Corgars
Longer Golden Tuckems
New York Hoomin Lions
Hontbern Academy Land Pontpins
Fart Mirea Chuds
Turreritite Academy Beans
Let the neural network continue learning, and the low-creativity results look much the same, while the high-creativity mascots get more pronounceable but not a bit less weird. Same with the place names.
I would actually like to see the mascot costumes for some of these.
Bleondef College Pheelans
Artfy Ehole Lancers
Riomport Arabemme-Warly Driton Bopcets
Liverville Academy S.inars
Bloodman Park Mustangs
Lameland Cuishalk Gerbuts
Warton Arue Mess
Bippinsmore Red Yellowjackets