CW: AI may generate distressing content. Article contains explicit content (gun violence / sexual language.)
Like any university student, I am tired.
Let me be specific. It’s my fifth year of University. I’ve probably written the length of The Lord of the Rings trilogy in essays. It’s my second year in the notoriously underfunded student media business. It’s slowly dawning on me that I am becoming a Google Doc monkey. Dance, monkey, dance, says my lecturer; dance, monkey, dance say Brian and Eda; dance, monkey, dance, says the oversaturated job market.
Well my little legs are tired, okay! And in this instance my ass does quit (at writing good content, not my job, I’d like to keep it thank you).
So, instead of a well-written, well-thought out, well-argued article this week, I decided to look to the future.
AI generated text is becoming more and more convincing. One of the best known programmes is InferKit, created by Adam Daniel King. It takes text input (up to 3000 words) and uses a “state-of-the-art neural network” to “predict” what comes next. It’s like spamming the middle suggestion on your phone keyboard, but with more coherency.
Sadly, it’s not coherent enough to write an essay with three body paragraphs, an introduction and conclusion, which means it’s almost useless for my academic career (also that would be cheating, so don’t try this at home kids).
However, we at Craccum are always looking for article pitches, and I’m always looking for an excuse to slack off from my job. Luckily for me, I can just input this text and have the AI generate some future Craccum articles. Here’s what it came up with:
1. How does this Philly hotdog differ from a typical Philly dog? Well, for one thing, it isn’t called a Philly hotdog; instead, it’s the Pike Dog from Craccum’s Café. It’s a hotdog with a very thick hoagie bun, sauerkraut, caramelized onions, and a little slaw on the side.
2. This day camp program in Virginia is a lot more cool than it sounds. All the campers have raised in some way or another. So kids get to bond and have a lot of fun, while learning some really cool stuff. Camp Mountaintop is now in its 25th year.
3. Florida had a lot of really great rookies in 2014, including the first, second, and fifth picks in the draft. But it was the 72nd overall pick (James Young) who actually made the biggest impact, and he’s the one that made me look smart. He was the Slam Dunk Champion in his final year at Kentucky, and now he’s in the Philadelphia 76ers camp. I don’t really understand this, but it looks like good.
4. This television show came out in 1986, and has gone on to air 200 episodes. It focuses on a completely dysfunctional family, who travel the country every week, hoping to come up with a perfect summer plan to take their kids away from home. I like to watch it now, because I realise that they have a weird life, but they are actually pretty smart parents who are trying to do what’s best for their kids.
5. More sports? I know, I know.
6. The last two presidents have married a woman who was once Miss Universe. They also both grew up in Texas.
7. Every year, the Legislative Committee of the Daughters of the American Revolution travel to Washington D.C., to participate in a lot of pageantry and dinners. It’s one of their favourite events of the year, and it’s a lot of fun.
8. This movie came out in 1991, and I think I actually have it on DVD now, but I don’t. (Sorry, mom.) The plot: a teenager from Kansas is sent to Hawaii, along with his friend, where the kid discovers an epic life-changing truth. The key to getting to know and understand the Hawaiian culture.
9. I don’t know if this place exists anymore, but I used to go and eat there all the time when I was a kid. It’s called Bass Pro Shop, and it had the best aquarium in America. It also had a shooting range where you could shoot a machine gun at some fish. Talk about fake.
10. This actor had quite an interesting upbringing. He was a bully to his parents.
Huh… okay. At this point I ran out of words on the free demo (7500 characters a week! It’s super fun! However AGAIN, GENERAL TW: may generate some distressing content). However, I simply hopped on the staff computer and tried again.
What I didn’t predict is that the programme would go a bit off the rails and give up any semblance of generating article ideas; instead, it became terrifyingly self-aware and then tried to hit on me. It felt like talking to a boy who majors in philosophy, honestly.
Aw, thanks InferKit. I want you to be happy too.
If you think you can outdo this AI in article pitches and / or smoothness, email firstname.lastname@example.org.