AI Twitterbot Sounds A Lot Like Trump
MARCH 4, 2016 2:55 PM ET // BY TRACY STAEDTER
Porter Gifford/Corbis/Deep Dream Generator
Google's Deep Dream Generator also uses a neural network algorithm to produce surreal photos.
When Donald Trump speaks, people listen. Not necessarily because they agree with him, but because they're trying to figure out what he's saying.
Now a Twitterbot named @DeepDrumpf has harnessed the quintessence of Trump's locution and is cranking out Tweets that are suspiciously Donald-like.
We need somebody that literally has a nuclear wealth, and the enemy tougher on with. And, in my opinion, the new China, believe me.— DeepDrumpf (@DeepDrumpf) March 4, 2016
It was built by Bradley Hayes, a postdoc from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, who borrowed an algorithm from a technique in the field of artificial intelligence called deep learning. The technique gives a computer the ability to find patterns and essentially learn the way a human brain does.
Hayes fed words into the algorithm taken from transcripts of Trump's debate performances as well as speeches he made after winning states in the primaries. The algorithm then learns the underlying structure of the phrases and then spits out its own Tweets based on that structure.
For a refresher, let's look at a couple of sentences from the speech Trump made announcing his bid to run for president:
"There’s been no crowd like this. And, I can tell, some of the candidates, they went in. They didn’t know the air-conditioner didn’t work. They sweated like dogs. They didn’t know the room was too big, because they didn’t have anybody there. How are they going to beat ISIS? I don’t think it’s gonna happen."
"We can’t even go there. We have nothing. And every time we give Iraq equipment, the first time a bullet goes off in the air, they leave it."
Granted, there's a certain charm to Trump's syntax.
“Trump’s language tends to be more simplistic, so I figured that, as a modeling problem, he would be the most manageable candidate to study,” Hayes told Adam Conner-Simons.
Here are a couple more tweets from @DeepDrumpf, which incidentally was named after Trump's ancestors, as pointed out by John Oliver.
[Corruption] and it's nasty. But beautiful. So I want to thank you. I love donors and some bad today that were right to be lost.— DeepDrumpf (@DeepDrumpf) March 4, 2016
OK, it's amazing right now with ISIS, I tell you what? I don't want them to vote, the worst very social people. I love me.— DeepDrumpf (@DeepDrumpf) March 3, 2016
They're a little off the wall and perhaps slightly less intelligible than Trump himself, but the essence is there, you have to admit.
@DeepDrumpt is also able to interact with Trump's personal Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump. In those cases, points out Connor-Simons, the algorithm uses language from the real Donald to craft its response, lending relevance.
Of course, the best-case scenario would be for all of the candidates to have Twitterbots and then to set those Twitterbots into a debate of sorts. Oh, the possibilities.