Culture

Computer-generated pickup lines are surreal but adorable

"If I had a rose for every time I thought of you, I have a price tighting," and other opening lines from a machine pickup artist.

Elena Eliachevitch/Getty Images

I have to give you a book, because you're the only thing in your eyes.

Are you a candle? Because you're so hot of the looks with you.

A neural network trained in the ways of pickup artists has proved to be a surprisingly adorable operator, if not exactly a smooth one.

Unlike conventional computer programs that follow a prewritten sequence of instructions, neural networks, modeled on the human brain, are self-learning and able to determine their own rules after being trained on large amounts of data.

Research scientist Janelle Shane had previously taught her neural network to perform tasks such as generating superhero names, with amusing results. (Is the world ready for heroes like "Superbore" and "Red Fart"?) How would it handle the language of drunken losers in bars?

For this project, spotted on Engadget, Shane had to first input enough raw data for the neural network to begin to recognize appropriate patterns, a process she confessed was "much more painful than I had expected." In a Tumblr post Friday, she said "most [lines] were obscene, or aggressive, or kind of insulting."

Thankfully, the neural network never learned how to generate the more unpleasant examples. Instead it came up with conversation starters ranging from incomprehensible to oddly endearing:

I want to see you to my heart.

If I had a rose for every time I thought of you, I have a price tighting.

Are you a camera? Because I want to see the most beautiful than you.

You look like a thing and I love you.

I don't know about you, but I might let that neural network buy me a drink.

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