Neural networks hallucinating text
I’ve always been a sucker for algorithmic creativity, so when I saw the machine generated Obama speeches, I immediately wanted to try the same method on other texts. Fortunately, that was easily done by simply cloning the char-rnn repository by Andrej Karpathy, which the Obama-RNN was based on. Andrej has also written a long and really very good introduction to recurrent neural networks if you want to know more about the inner workings of the thing.
I started by downloading an archive of all the posts on this blog and trained a network with default parameters according to the char-rnn instructions. In the training phase, the network tries to learn to predict the next character in the text. Note that it does not (initially) know anything about words or sentences, but learns about those concepts implicitly with training. After training, I let the network hallucinate new blog posts by sampling from the network state (this is also described on the GitHub page). The network can be “primed” with a word or a phrase, and a temperature parameter controls how conservative or daring the network should be when generating new text. Essentially a low temperature will give a repetitive output endlessly rehashing the same concepts (namely, the most probable ones based on the training data) while a high temperature will output more adventurous stuff such as weird new “words” and sometimes imaginary hyperlinks (if links were included in the input).
Here are a few samples from the Follow the Data RNN. You’ll be the judge of how well it captures the blog’s spirit.
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OK, that was not great. Let’s raise the temperature to 0.7 and seed the net with “deep learning”:
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You’ll note that the net has invented many interesting new words, which is a consequence of the fact that it is generating one character at a time.
For my next experiment, I couldn’t resist putting the collected short stories of JG Ballard (one of my favourite writers) into the network. Here, I used 256 nodes, but perhaps should have trained a bit longer as the results are still a bit shaky (although they have a distinctly Ballardian feel at times). In particular, I am missing words like “canopy”, “perimeter”, and of course the drained swimming pools. Here are some samples:
US DAY, counterlahes to face the films, one programme demolishiking science prison erecting out of the solar aircraft on my mind.
Television made him for itself his pieces of published telescope.
A simple motion of Kennedy heard your legs through the suit within a fortuna from Beach. Angel and London Hinton’s gas. A single tenant of the succession of all the transition limbs ultil to me that three overlooking the space–craft has been insilent.
An assocations of 112–hour long water in front of them all sweak, as if he was saying, his coming at the statue. Its still bays rated like a large physician from the watch–tobe. The ancient birds were simply to embrace her for a long wholly self–conscious police. Nothing two days, children before the cities, Charles Wallari Street calps our overhead, efforts gives up the drums.
Ward shook his head sadly. ‘I don’t felt some due.’
Mongable was like my people seems my fear–spinding beach–car. Yet, but you an overhead time, they’re going to do with the summer not.ly seems only in trister held of? I didn’t wasn’t already get to do. If the prayer has questioned much, however, as soon as selfables exhilaration of peaced Franz. Laster had lost impuly as wousen much wave. Perhaps if they meaning on flatper. ‘Let’s go outstands.’ He listened up in the lounge, a acut shifting in and out of the grass and hands. Ryan stood by her mask velvet, neutral on the darkened bedroom. Waist doldent helicopters whisky to stopped the chauffeur on to the water. Simulator was convinced the sculptor of the suffiring moonlight.
At the like the woman stopped and he could pany when it raised the emptines and lined themselves from the stairs, hoods would soon realize the tiled sand–rays of them, like the fourth houses were hidden from the streets, and then spotted in a small features of path Aselage.
At three of the speeding expirsm, Traven returned to me. Once, as I looked at his wife and shields. All afternoons the bel
Or with the max temperature:
Wind’s speaking, Halloway began to climb into the distant. The Sign of the crest of his treasure, like the hidden profile on one of the clocks, rost in the blockhen flourish.
For years before the soared assemble, their fragmented pen with a jewelly confused sector with Bayliss and London on either side with slow he had learned off the sleep. Surprised by the display’s optical relief than there. Accorring you, over–grey manner, the idleg to make on the abandoned gaps of magnine air, welephoring on their rough and owners during myself.
I didn’t have ask pressed to its professional record libbariards and reverse, creatively and given a single–washing suit that had slumped.
As he watched him he left her away from him, presumably slightly old but prismatic apparation of the air, turned back among the beaches.
As we sat down, Slept asleep again, and was sufficioned about in patiently. Taking his fingers, pantic season flew overrounds and satisfied him to lie–accaling with noise. As she sitused, slung at his feet in custom of letters turned on never at falles. Gunfir felt in one hand, he moved away at my carded grass. Her personante stepped off his chest, seemed to have passed. He was in advance with a survoinnes’ crawl. Quickly he regretted to receive while Mrs Osmond – survived the softly steps, pushing abandone in the stone bird. Drill as the houses opposite, whose side–struggle of down–thems alerts prepared to take part of the sea.
Ryker quickly waved him down to his mouth overlooking the raw building, and watched him into a valley behind it. When an interval of hundreds of its impact the Vicionic pores, however, first waiting for my moving palls, for the visual minor curved and shakes test of the town centre. Averything again even he was out of to the building, and by the timewinds like metal landmarsh fingers technique unlimited silk like the few ratts of heels, the unique light from the wheels and speedback on the wound, and continue the s
Using a low temperature (0.2 in this case) we get a lot of stations, statues and chauffeurs:
(the station we have been able to see me to the sound of the station and an essentian of some sort of conscious the sense of a starting concentration of the station and his last few days and the sea and the sea and the sea and set out the station and a series of conscious of the sea. The computers the statue was the special morning the station that had been a million disasted and set off in the corner of the car park. The statue had been transformed into a series of space complex and anti–games in the sun. The first stage of the station was a small car park in the sunlight. The chauffeur was being seen through the shadows of the sky. The bony skin was still standing at the store and started to stand up and down the staircase. He was aware of the chauffeur, and the car park was almost convinced that the station was a small conclusion of the station and a series of experiments in the sense of the sea. The station was almost to himself. He had been a sudden international art of the station that the station was the only way of world was a series of surface. An area of touch with a strange surge of fresh clock and started to stay here to the surrounding bunker. He stood up and stared at her and watched the statue for the first time the statue for the first time and started to stand up and down the stairway to the surface of the stairway. He was about to see me with a single flower, but he was aware of the continuous sight of the statue, and was suffered by the stars of the statue for the first time and the statue for the first time of the sight of the statue in the centre of the car, watching the shore like a demolish of some pathetic material.
That’s it for this time!