Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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This AI did a pretty good job naming guinea pigs

At Gizmodo, something kind of fun: This is What Happens When You Teach an AI to Name Guinea Pigs


Earlier this week, research scientist Janelle Shane got a fantastically unusual request from the Portland Guinea Pig Rescue, asking if she could build a neural network for guinea pig names. The rescue facility needs to generate a large number of names quickly, as they frequently take in animals from hoarding situations. Portland Guinea Pig Rescue gave Shane a list of classic names, like “Snickers” or “Pumpkin,” in addition to just about every other name they could find on the internet. The rest is history.

“I used Andrej Karpathy’s char-rnn, an open-source neural network framework for torch (written in Lua),” Shane told Gizmodo. “I gave the neural network the list of 600+ guinea pig names that the Portland Guinea Pig Rescue assembled for me, and let it train itself to produce more names like the ones on its list….

Some of Shane’s explanation of what she did is absolutely impenetrable to me, but I get the idea of letting an AI train itself to produce “words like these.” The computer actually did a pretty good job. Most of those names are cute and seem pretty well appropriate for guinea pigs . . . though I do wonder about “After Pie.”

And hey, if you’re in Portland and want to adopt a guinea pig, evidently there is no shortage.

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