Neural Network Nightmare: AI Creates Creepy Christmas Carols

Tuesday, 26 December 2017 - 10:33AM
Weird Science
Tuesday, 26 December 2017 - 10:33AM
Neural Network Nightmare: AI Creates Creepy Christmas Carols
< >

When artificial intelligence eventually takes over the world and destroys us all, we can only hope that it's not around the holidays and that our demise isn't set to a soundtrack of newly-penned Christmas carols written by the new overlords. A.I. researcher Janelle Shane recently made a neural network learn to write holiday songs with no instructions, and the results are not what you want to hear in your final days.


On her blog A.I. Weirdness, Shane explains the process and approach to the experiment. "My process starts with a dataset - something that the neural network has to figure out how to imitate," she writes.

Opening quote
"Rather unfairly, I give it no instructions about whether it's trying to write knock-knock jokes or invent Halloween costumes or begin a novel. It doesn't even have any built-in knowledge of English. It definitely doesn't have any clue what Christmas carols are, which is why this week's experiment was so much fun."
Closing quote

The dataset given to the A.I. included 240 carols, ranging from traditional tunes that we all know, to more recent songs about grandmothers being run over by reindeer. The A.I. created a set of rules, then tested the rules against the songs. As the program learned, the songs evolved from random letters and spaces to actual lyrics with capitalized first letters and line breaks, but the context and coherence never reached a level where it could compete with Mariah Carey or Bing Crosby for air time. Here are some of the lines the neural network came up with:

The cattle around the Christmas will be
A very special Christmas with me

The lord of the glory dawns
Give us the leave all away
A star is spent and red
Shake a cup a strend from the sky
Christmas is coming, the wind is come to you

Walkin' him love, Dingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells with bells are ringing

With a heart reindeer
But no more a stranger.
Santa baby, and Dancer, and Curry down


"Neural networks tend to pick up tone and vocabulary pretty easily, but struggle with making sense," Shane wrote in her blog post. "So, the carol-trained neural network learned to produce a lot of lines that sound - well, joyful, at least." She added that words like "Curry" and "Dingle" were not included in dataset, but the neural network "likes to invent words that it thinks sound sort of carol-y." The network also seemed to like using the sandman reference a lot, even though it was only featured in the dataset once.


The sandman so be joyful now it was born today!
Gloria in excelsis Deo.

The sandman bright before Him.
The holly bears a berry bears
And star in the snow is born today!

The sandman so love to seek the world

I'm not sure if this is all nonsense, or if there is a coded, murderous message here that we silly humans just don't understand yet. One thing I do know is that the jukeboxes of the future are gonna be weird, except for this gloriously poetic lyric: "Run, run Rudolph, run, run Rudolph, run, run Rudolph, run, run Rudolph, run, run Rudolph, run, run Rudolph, run, run Rudolph, run, run Rudolf the new born King."


Artificial Intelligence
Weird Science
AI Neural Network Creates Creepy Christmas Carols