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Cards Against Humanity writers beat the computer to keep their jobs

"Kim Kardashian with spider legs" was one of the computer's contributions.

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The humans beat the machine. On Black Friday, the risque party game Cards Against Humanity pitted its writers against a computer to see which one could write a more popular card pack, and in a close race, humanity -- or, at least the jobs of the writers -- was saved.

"The humans win!" the company said in a tweet sent just after midnight PT. "Over the last 16 hours, our writing staff has managed to outsell the AI -- which, by the way, writes thousands of cards a minute, never sleeps, and doesn't plow through 14 cases of Pamplemousse La Croix a week."

Cards Against Humanity is famous for its holiday stunts. In 2016, the company dug a hole to nowhere, in 2017 it bought up land to try to stop the US-Mexico border wall, and in 2018, it sold everything from cars to diamonds at huge discounts.

"This year for Black Friday, we taught a computer how to write Cards Against Humanity cards," the company announced Friday. "Now we put it to the test. Over the next 16 hours, our writers will battle this powerful card-writing algorithm to see who can write the most popular new pack of cards. If the writers win, they'll get a $5,000 holiday bonus. If the A.I. wins, we'll fire the writers."

This might make more sense if you're familiar with Cards Against Humanity's rules. One player draws a fill-in-the-blank card, and the other players all pick a card from their hands with a weird, goofy or dirty word or phrase, and the first player picks the best fit. So the jumbled phrases that sometimes come from an AI ("illegal dentistry," "big, powerful poops") kind of work when inserted into a CAH deck. (They also work in Taylor Swift songs.)

One card written by the computer reads, "Kim Kardashian, but with spider legs." One from the humans reads, "Being terrified of a single bee."

Interested watchers could track the competition on the company's site, where they could upvote cards from each team, and buy the new cards coming from both the humans and the AI, at $5 a pack. In the end, the human writers sold $82,860 worth of card packs, with the AI close behind on $81,135. 

In typical Cards Against Humanity fashion, the company presented a pretty hilarious FAQ explaining the questions you might have about the stunt, including how the AI works. There's even an Andrew Yang joke, if you scroll all the way down.

"What does this have to do with Black Friday?" one question asks. And the answer? "This whole thing is an elaborate stunt to get attention and make money while overworking our employees. Isn't that what Black Friday is all about?"

Another asks, "Are you really going to fire the writers if they lose today?" And the answer? "No, we're not monsters! We'll wait until after the holidays." Fortunately, the company doesn't have to worry about that now.

Both card packs can still be ordered for $5 each -- and with the official contest over, buyers no longer need worry about whether buying the computer's pack means they're preparing to welcome our new AI overlords.

Read more: The best board game and tabletop game deals this Black Friday weekend

Originally published Nov. 29. 
Update, Nov. 30: Adds the final result.