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This Neural Network Designs Baby Names of the Future

This Neural Network Designs Baby Names of the Future Read full article

9 January 2017, 5:48 pm
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What to name your newborn child is probably one of the oldest struggles of humanity. In the book Roots, by Alex Haley, we found out that newborns of Kunta Kinte’s tribe in the Gambia aren’t even allowed to be spoken to until they have been told what their names are.

So here’s a solution: shirk the anxiety and responsibility altogether and have artificial intelligence do it for you. Nate Parrott, a coder, designer, and student at Brown University created a neural network that mashes up thousands of the most common baby names into futuristic sounding interpretive takes on the current plebeian options. Not only will your child have a fresh, edgy new name, but they will also fit well into a Blade Runner future.

Parrott trained a neural network—essentially a computer system that attempts to mimic the human brain and nervous system—to learn 7,500 of the most common American baby names and give each one of them a numerical representation called an embedding. “Once I had a model that could translate between names and their embeddings, I could generate new names, blend existing names together, do arithmetic on names, and more,” he said in a Medium post describing how he made it.

Image: Github

With baby names now represented as numbers, Parrott could add or subtract them, or even multiply them, to create novel names that would fit well for a person wearing a uniform one piece suit and a Google Glass-esque pair of visors. Pruliaa, Miiirilid, Aloora, Deredrd, and the tantalizing Nitnis are just a sampling of the endless possibilities when naming your child with a digitized nervous system. His code is open-sourced, but you would need to do a little programming of your own to use it.

As funny as it is, parents get so stressed (and not unreasonably so) over naming their child that it’s not crazy to think some would take the help of a neural network in finding one. At the very least the baby naming A.I. could be used adopted by science fiction writers struggling to come up with new names for their characters. Think about it. “Aaort! Come and take your daily 2,000 calorie sustenance pill. Then will we go lobotomize the fluger.” It fits perfectly.

Meanwhile, Parrott claims that if his Medium post gets 1000 likes, he will use this to name if first child. That's pretty good incentive.

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