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Happy Valentine’s Day From A Very Horny Neural Network

DOOO ME. BONG LOV. TIME 2 WANK.

That Valentine’s Day classic–candy hearts–are usually sickly sweet, both in taste and sentiment. “BE MINE,” they proclaim. “KISS ME”! That’s all well and good for the saps out there. But a new neural net has some new candy heart suggestions for all the hardened cynics.

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The research scientist Janelle Shane has collected every phrase you can find on real candy hearts and used them to teach a machine learning algorithm to generate new phrases. The neural network then spits out dozens of other possibilities based on the patterns it has detected in the real phrases. But these new candy hearts have some less, well, romantic intentions.

“SWEET HOLE,” says one. “BONG LOV,” says another. “BEAT ME TAME”! And my personal favorite–and perhaps the perfect encapsulation of love in the age of Tinder–“TIME 2 WANK.”

[Source Images: JohnAyresTexas/iStock (texture)]
Not all of the algorithm’s suggestions were unintentional dictums on the state of modern romance. Some are genuinely cute and maybe even better than the silly stuff that adorns hearts today. Take “LOVE BUN,” or the adorable “YOU ARE IT.” I’m quite in love with the computer-generated candy heart emblazoned with the earnest “LOVE BOT,” because everyone knows self-awareness is attractive. Of course, many were nonsensical and silly, like “BE A GOOL” and “STANK LOVE.” Some were even a bit offensive, like “HOW U HOT.”

Shane has made a practice of gathering large amounts of written data on a particular topic, like craft beer names, or My Little Pony names, or even pick-up lines and Harry Potter spells, and then training a neural net on them and seeing what hilarious nonsense it comes up with. Others have done similar work, like with the recent AI-ified Coachella lineup entirely composed of band names you’ve never heard of (which isn’t that far from reality, let’s be honest).

So this V-day, don’t hesitate. Present your dearest one with declarations of “DOOO ME” or “YOU A GOO” on the perfect medium–synthesized food-coloring-pink sugar lumps that vaguely resemble hearts. (You can make custom ones here.) It might not be the romantic gesture your someone special was hoping for, but rest assured, you won’t be alone forever. That’s what the internet is for.

About the author

Katharine Schwab is an associate editor at Co.Design based in New York who covers technology, design, and culture.

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