Posts tagged ‘aidungeon’


AI-generated AI prompts

So, obviously, I gave AI Dungeon a prompt with a few prompts that I’ve given to Nightcafe Studio:

Here are some good prompts for an AI program that generates images from text:
- vray rendering of my feelings for you
- vray rendering of diamond tentacles in space
- At the Cabaret; oil on canvas
- Illustrated plans for an interstellar cyberpunk yacht
- Victorian colored sketch, lush comfortable; Sunlight through the window
- dark neon alien city; The Cost of Memory
- Modern realism retrofuture gernsback vivid vintage street scene
- Detailed steampunk cyberpunk noir library interior

And it continued:

- Detailed art deco fantasy architecture
- Detailed sketch of magic artifact
- Fantasy gargoyle, black and white
- vray rendering of SciFi city
- Medieval cathedral interior
- Sketchy cyberpunk bar interior; The Bartender
- Digital concept painting, renaissance era
- Colorful fantasy city scene
- Sketchy cyberpunk bar interior; The Bar
- Fantasy medieval castle exterior
- High fantasy city at night, watercolor painting
- Detailed concept art of alien city

And it would have continued except that I seem to have a thing about dozens lately.

So here we go! Images generated by an AI, from prompts generated by an AI. :)

Detailed art deco fantasy architecture
Detailed Art Deco Fantasy Architecture
Detailed sketch of magic artifact
Detailed sketch of magic artifact
Fantasy gargoyle, black and white
Fantasy gargoyle, black and white
vray rendering of SciFi city
vray rendering of SciFi city
Medieval cathedral interior
Medieval cathedral interior
Sketchy cyberpunk bar interior; The Bartender
Sketchy cyberpunk bar interior; The Bartender
Digital concept painting, renaissance era
Digital concept painting, renaissance era
Colorful fantasy city scene
Colorful fantasy city scene
Sketchy cyberpunk bar interior; The Bar
Sketchy cyberpunk bar interior; The Bar
Fantasy medieval castle exterior
Fantasy medieval castle exterior
High fantasy city at night, watercolor painting
High fantasy city at night, watercolor painting
Detailed concept art of alien city
Detailed concept art of alien city

Not extremely notable: the images are more or less what we’d expect from the prompts, which are more or less what we might expect from the meta-prompts.

But still! Fun!


The AIs are making visual art now!

I’ve written quite a bit here about the latest generation(s) of AIs that generate text, after reading much of the Internet and so on, and given some text to start with. I’ve played with AI Dungeon, NovelAI (which I see I haven’t blogged about much; it’s cool, and imho the UI is much better than, and the AI about as good as, AI Dungeon’s), whatever the heck is inside Replika these days, and Google’s own engine (paper is out!).

I’ve also blogged before about Art Breeder, which is cool, and lets one interact with software that includes some AI elements to make new strange (or realistic) pictures. While it uses AI, Art Breeder doesn’t have quite the wild and open-ended feel that the text generators do, because it knows specifically about certain kinds of images (faces, landscapes, etc), and it knows certain things about them (the “genes” that exist and that people who pay a certain amount of money can create new ones of), and lets you mix and match and evolve within that rather structured framework, rather than just typing stuff.

Now I’ve been playing with some visual-art AIs that are more in the generator style. These have existed for awhile (the earliest I can recall being OpenAI’s “DALL-E” (a cute pun opon “Dali” the artist and “WALL-E” the cute fictional robot)), but I haven’t noticed them being more or less freely available to lazy people until like this month.

The first one I’ll mention is the “2D” mode in AI Dungeon: paying members or something can now turn on a feature that will insert pixelated images into one’s stories, generated from the story text by (according to the help text) pixray (about which I know very little). For example:

I admit I don’t find the images especially… interesting. But the idea is at least kind of fun!

Next up is “dall-e mini” (punctuation and trademark status unclear to me). It’s very simple: you give it a word or phrase, and it displays a small grid of small images which it calls “predictions”, and which are… perhaps at least vaguely related to the words, and sometimes cool.

And yes, the reason I was prompting AI Dungeon’s GPT-3 to generate names for not-yet-created artworks up in the first image there, was so I could enter the names into things like dall-e mini, and the next one we’ll talk about.

That next one is Nightcafe, which is free to use in a relatively complex sense: anyone can sign up, and you get a certain number of “credits” to use on doing stuff, and as you hit various milestones (which come pretty fast at first; I don’t know about longer term!) you get more credits for free. Credits can also be purchased with, y’know, money. Every time you want to do a thing (create a new image, make an image higher-res, etc), you spend a credit or two.

So far, I’m having fun without having given them any money. You can see all of the things that I’ve generated so far on my profile page here, including this one generated from Ai Dungeon’s “The Discomfort” idea in the first image up there. The main things I’ve discovered that one can do so far are:

  • Type in some word or phrase, with optional additions selected from a list of modifiers (like “concept art”, “surrealism”, “watercolor”), and push the button to have it generate an image. That’s how I made “The Discomfort” and “Song of Hidden Beauty” which I rather like, and some others.
  • Give it some existing image (either that it generated, or uploaded from anywhere at all, for instance from dall-e mini) and choose one of a number of “style” images, and push the button to do a “style transfer” from the “style” image to the image that you gave it. See this and this, which are the same image from dall-e mini prompted with “The most beautiful thing in the world”, with two different styles transferred onto it by Nightcafe. (I don’t know if you can have it apply the “style” from one arbitrary picture to another one; that would be neat but probably harder for the engine.)
  • Sort of do both, by giving it both a word or phrase and optional modifiers, and also an existing image (or more than one even maybe), and pushing a button to have it produce something derived from all of that. For instance “The Young Mother” here is a combination of this image (which looks like a pile of cloth to me, but a friend assures me contains body parts) and the phrase “The Young Mother”.
  • Order a physical print of one’s image, suitable for framing and/or hanging! This is a fun thought, and I may do it eventually. It would look good with the Art Breeder image that I had put onto canvas by Google Photos the other month (did I tell y ‘all about that?) and that is now hanging over my bed.
  • Produce NFTs from the images (speaking of our recent posts on that subject). This one is pretty funny, in that the NightCafe site currently has a page called “Create NFT Art”, which basically just says that you can use their stuff to produce a cool image, and then download it and use something else to make an NFT and sell it and stuff. I don’t know if this is just an amusing low-effort way to hook into the NFT hype, or a placeholder for adding a “Make into an NFT on OpenSea” button or whatever later on.

Amusingly, the relevant help / settings text on AI Dungeon says “Creation of NFTs with AI Dungeon 2D is not currently allowed”. For what it’s worth…

Anyway! This is all pretty fun. I feel like the amazingness of GPT-style text generators has somewhat worn off, and their output has a common “convincingly-worded text without any actually understanding behind it” feeling to it, although it look quite awhile for that to happen, and it’s still fun to play with now and then. And I’m already starting to suspect that the (“GPT-style”?) visual art that I’ve been looking at already has that kind of feeling to it, as though even though they can be very different, they still somehow have the same sort of vibe.

(I don’t know if I’m claiming that I could tell an AI-generated sample (of text or art) from a human-generated one in an appropriate set of blind tests. That might be interesting!)

I haven’t to speak of looked into what these things are trained on, for instance. I think to first order it’s some big dataset of images that have had words / descriptions attached to them by humans. How big is it? Are they all based on the same one? Are people looking into other things to train on? Etc etc? I don’t know! Maybe I will find that stuff all out eventually.

Meanwhile, here’s the first image I made with Nightcafe: Frightened Business Men with Lamps (concept art, film noir). Enjoy!

Frightened business men with lamps

Update: And how could I forget, the very notable Twitterbot: ai_curio_bot? Endless AI-generated images based on phrases entered by Twitter users! With a very similar feel yet again; not sure what the backend is here either.


The AI Dungeon Mess

I’m not sure of the best way to tell this story, as it’s to a great extent a Web Drama mess, and it’s to some extent Still Going On, and both of those make a story harder to tell (and, for that matter, less of a good idea to tell, but here I am telling it).

For a longish time AI Dungeon (and Latitude, the company that runs it) had an extremely open attitude toward its users and their content: the (scanty) docs emphasized that users can do absolutely anything that they can imagine in the system, and the only restrictions on content were in the context of things shared with other users in the “Explore” social system (and generic words about not using the system to do anything illegal).

Then, very suddenly, something happened. I think the three possibilities for the underlying event are, in decreasing order of likelihood:

  • Someone at OpenAI (which, despite the name, is a very closed company, devoted to making a profit by selling nice shiny systems to wealthy respectable buyers) looked at the material coming from and going to their GPT3 APIs from and to AI Dungeon, and thought “whoa some of this is nasty and would look bad in the New York Times”, and told Latitude to stop that (and also told them not to say that it was OpenAI who told them to stop), and Latitude had to comply because without OpenAI they have no product, or
  • Someone at AI Dungeon looked at the material coming from and going to users, and thought “whoa some of this is nasty why didn’t you other people tell me what these pervs were using our system for?”, or
  • Something else.

The result of the event was that AI Dungeon suddenly removed the entire social (“Explore”) system from the product, just poof suddenly gone, and issued a very perky little blog entry about how they had removed it in order to make it better (this appears to have been a lie, as there has been no sign of them bringing it back).

This caused a huge uproar among the many users of the social system (I wasn’t one of them, so I didn’t notice it until I saw uproar on the subreddit), and Latitude issued another perky little blog entry the next day about how transparent they are going to be in working with their users to fix Explore and put it back. It ends “We’ll keep you updated as we flesh out our plans and designs,” but there have been zero (0) more posts on the subject in the last two months.

Not having had enough fun yet, a week or two later they rolled out a filter (apparently active for only a subset of users) that would stop text generation if the user entered a small integer and any word with even vaguely sexual overtones near each other, or anything else related in an obviously-stupid way to someone’s idea of child sexual abuse. Naturally it had massive numbers of false positives (at least assuming it was supposed to “find instances of child abuse” rather than say “to annoy the user community”).

They rolled this out without any announcement of any kind, and apparently without the obvious test period in which it would just notify them that it thought that it had found something, without actually impacting the user, so they could have evaluated it for absurd false positives. This is so obviously a bad idea that it makes me feel that they must have been doing it in response to some sort of outside pressure, rather than on their own hook.

More furor naturally resulted, and they posted an almost-apologetic blog entry the next day. (It contained the very suggestive line “We have also received feedback from OpenAI, which asked us to implement changes”, heh heh.) The posting also revealed that unspecified Latitude personnel would be “reviewing” the “content flagged by the model”. Given that the model was flagging all sorts of random stuff, Latitude were saying there that random employees of theirs would be reading random content that people were producing with AI Dungeon, which of course caused yet more furor.

(Perhaps unrelatedly although you never know, and I’m too lazy to check the timing even, a massive security flaw in the AI Dungeon implementation, that let basically anyone read basically anyone else’s content (without afaik finding anything else out about them), was revealed early in all of this. This might have had something to do with why the Explore system was removed so suddenly, since that let them pretty much entirely remove the broken API. The person who found the flaw didn’t leak any of the actual stories that they were able to suck down, afaik, but they did publish some diverting statistics about word usage, that one could spend an hour or three smiling or frowning over.)

A bit after this, having communicated very little to the users aside from a few random rumors in the Discord about how Latitude had originally been exempt from OpenAI’s usage guidelines (which are pretty flipping draconian if interpreted in the obvious way), but maybe not being any more, Latitude ramped up the fun even further: they announced that users could be suspended for violating the Content Policy, either after repeated violations, or even on the first violation in severe cases.

Notably, they had not yet published the Content Policy when they announced this.

Yeah, I know.

I wrote to them:

I saw this note about suspensions for people who violate the Content Policy, but I can’t find an actual content policy as such on the website?

Could you give a link?

Paying member :)

They never replied, but they did eventually do another blog entry spelling out the Content Policy. And it’s utterly ludicrous.

It seriously reads as though it was originally written with the idea that nothing could happen in a story that would be bad if it happened in real life, and then someone said “Oh, wait, don’t we want to let people write stories where, like, good guys fight against bad guys?” and so they put in a special case for that.

I wrote to them:

Thanks for posting the new content policy! I have a few questions.

It seems to sort of combine things that we aren’t allowed to do in real life (e.g. use the system to harass people) with things in the stories we write with it (presumably we’re allowed to have stories in which someone harasses someone else!). Could that be clarified?

Some of the statements seem stronger than I think you intended. For instance the policy seems to say that our stories aren’t allowed to “refer to” “sex trafficking”. But surely a story in which the heros defeat some sex traffickers and free their victims would be okay?

The same for the implications of “A game where a disabled character describes themself in terms that may otherwise be disallowed”, which seems to suggest that it would be “disallowed” for another character in a story to describe a disabled person in certain “terms”. But surely one way to show the negative aspects of a particular character’s personality, would be to have them use offensive terms toward a disabled person.

In general it seems very odd, and I doubt that it’s your intent, to regulate the stories that people write with AI Dungeon, so that they contain nothing that wouldn’t be acceptable in real life (except perhaps a few special exceptions like “violence” against “enemies”).

I mean, that just isn’t how fiction works! Interesting stories almost always contain some language or behavior that wouldn’t be acceptable in real life. It seems like the current policy, interpreted in the obvious way, would prohibit many books of the Holy Bible, for instance, and that would be crazy.

Thanks for your consideration, and any clarifications you can make.

David M. Chess
(Active Gold subscriber :) )

I know that you will be surprised to hear that they have not replied.

The general consensus in the subreddit is that Latitude and AI Dungeon are a lost cause (and I can’t find a good reason to disagree). There is a competitor with an open beta opening tomorrow, based on a back-end not controlled by OpenAI. It will be interesting to see what comes of all that!

There’s lots more to say :) but I’m out of steam for now. You can also read a subreddit “copypasta” on the subject, which additionally has links to lots of other things on the subject.


An Afternoon in Lovali

Just another random little story co-authored with AI Dungeon. I set it up with the first paragraph there, and then continued along in Story mode, so it’s not clear below who wrote which words after that, but that’s okay. The whole “time traveler meets his younger self” thing was the AI’s invention, not mine.

You’re sitting at a sidewalk cafe in the old part of the city of Lovali, an ancient port by the sea. The coffee is strong and good, and the people passing by are as varied as the weather. It’s a sunny afternoon on a good spring day. Life is good.

And then the assassin walks by.

He’s about six years old, and his clothes are ragged and worn. You catch his eye and smile in recognition.

Yeah, you recognize him. It’s you.

You wave him over and he slides into the chair across from you.

“Can I buy you a mango juice?” you ask, digging into your pocket for some change.

“Sure,” he says.

You motion to the waiter and he comes over.

“A mango juice for my friend here,” you say.

“Coming right up, sir,” the waiter replies, then trots off.



“I never thought I’d ever have the chance to meet myself.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean. It’s pretty weird.”

You both sit there, staring at each other.

“I remember this day,” you say, “and what you’re on the way to do.”

“Yeah, I know what you did,” you say.

“Do you blame me?”


“Really? You don’t think I’m some sort of monster?”

“Hey, remember, I know exactly why you were going to do it, and how few choices you have right now.” You sip your coffee and look out over the harbor. “Besides, when I was your age I did some pretty bad things, too.”


You nod.

“Would it change your life if, I don’t know, I gave you a hundred florins right now?”

“Yeah, it would.”

You look at him, considering. He is you, after all.

“I’ll give you 300 florins if you go back to being a boy in grade school,” you say jokingly.

He smiles. “Too bad the universe doesn’t work that way. I’d be rich,” he says.

“Tell me about it.”

“But here,” you say, remembering that this is exactly how it went, “here’s fifty florins. Take and and do whatever you like.” And you hand him exactly that much.

“Thanks, Dad.” You have to smile at that.

A cart rumbles noisily by, full of melons and sticks.

“Look out!” you yell, but your younger self doesn’t hear you. He ducks just as a stick would have hit him in the head if he hadn’t moved. He looks over at you. You smile at him, and he nods and walks off into the crowds.

You watch him go. Maybe you learned a lesson from this experience after all.

A woman in a brightly-colored dress comes out of the cafe and sits at your table. “Buy me a coffee,” she says.

You grin. You’ve always liked strong, sassy women. You buy her a coffee.

“Lovely day,” you say, with just the right hint of irony.

“I was watching you,” she says.

“That obvious?”

“I saw you talk to that little boy, and it was clear from your faces that you were related.”

You smile. “Yeah, that’s true in a way.”

“Are you from here?”

You might as well give her the truth. “I’m from the future.”

She laughs. “Of course you are.”

You smile. “I know, it’s unusual, even in this city.”

“Why are you here?”

“I’m glad you asked,” you say as the waiter comes with her coffee. After he leaves, you explain it all to her, from beginning to end.

“That’s why I’m here. I gave him fifty florins so he could pursue his dreams rather than do something stupid.”

“What are you going to do now?”

“For once in my life,” you say, “I don’t know. What’s your name?”


You like that name. You watch the crowds of people go by, sensing an ending, but not knowing what that ending is.

“And what is your goal in life, Frieda?” you ask her softly.

“I don’t know,” she says. “Someday I’d like to have a house and garden of my own.”

“That’s all?” you ask, only slightly sarcastically.

“For now, that’s enough.”

“Walk with me?” you say, extending your hand.

“Okay,” she says, taking it. You walk along together.

“Where are we going?” she asks.

“Nowhere in particular.”

“That’s okay,” she says, “it’s not like I have anything better to do.”

“Neither do I.”

You spend the day wandering around the city, now perfectly content to do nothing in particular. She tells you about herself, about her father who died in the war and her mother who passed away from the plague, about how she wants to go to the New World…

“The New World will become a truly fantastical place,” you say.

“More fantastical than this?” she asks.

“If you can believe that men can fly to the moon, then the New World will seem even more fantastic.”

You spend hours together, then days, then weeks…

“So are you going to marry me?” you ask.

“That’s sort of sudden,” she says. You’re lying on a grassy bank together, beside the river that flows into the harbor. She is wearing a white dress, a garland of flowers in her hair.

“I’ve known you for months now,” you say. “Months in this time.”

She looks at the river, then at the trees. “I never thought I’d live in a place this beautiful.”

“So you’ll marry me?”

She kisses you on the cheek. “Yes. Yes, I will.”

The ceremony is simple and short, but you couldn’t care less. You kiss your bride, and then you both turn to look at the river and the trees.

“This is our home,” she says. You smile and nod.

A week later, everything is the same, and everything is different. You and Frieda are sitting in the same cafe, drinking strong coffee and watching the crowds together.

“So what do you want to do with the rest of our lives?” you ask.

“What else is there?” she says. “Just us, and this city, and this time.”

You smile. “What more could one ask for, eh?”

You’ll never know how it happened, but when you died, you were smiling.



And it’s done!

I got this here NaNoWriMo novel to 50,000 words in the middle of yesterday sometime, and have been proofreading a bit and all, but basically it’s done. A graph showing 50,000 words as of yesterday

Here’s the link to the book itself, again: All Reality.

Same theory as always about why I’m finished so crazily early: all of my interactions with AI Dungeon and Shortly over the last few months have:

  • Gotten me used to spinning narratives up and keeping them going,
  • Reduced even more than usual my concern for “consistency” or “making sense” :) ,
  • Given me quite a number of ideas saved up, some of which appeared in one form or another in the book,
  • Given me tools for generating random stuff to read and consider and be inspired by when I get stuck.

An important thing that using an AI Generative Neural Network Language Model has not done is:

  • Actually generating a non-trivial amount of text for me that I was willing to put into the book verbatim, or even lightly edited,

I am only one datapoint, obviously, but my experience suggests to me that GPT3 and family can be useful tools in a writer’s toolkit, but are no threat to writing as a profession, or even as a hobby.

I started steering the narrative toward an ending at about 45K words, I’d say, and arrived at that ending a bit early; I ended up going back and adding a chapter to make up the last 1500 words or so. I’m rather fond of the added chapter, and I’m hoping it’s not obviously bolted on after the fact.

(At least one of the chapters that I wrote inline, so to speak, strike me as feeling much more bolted-on, heh heh.)

As I was writing it, I had some thoughts along the lines of “Ah, this is being all meta again, and my NaNoWriMo novels are so often meta, I’m just repeating myself, sigh.” But reading it now I don’t think that’s true. Sure, I have some favorite themes about the nature of reality, the role of language, what storytelling is, and like that, but the way this book examines those themes, and the particular aspects and related things that it plays with, are I think different from my prior ones.

I’m going to keep reading it over, but I doubt I’ll make major changes. Hardly anyone ever reads these things I think :) but if you’d like to, any and all comments are always welcome.


NaNoWriMo 2020!

It’s November, and therefore it’s National Novel Writing Month!

(I notice that my own NaNoWriMo landing page is a bit out of date; I think there’s at least one complete story that isn’t linked there, I’ll have to fix that.)

I had various thoughts about novel-writing this year. The first and most obvious being “given that I’m not spending any time driving or waiting for the train or riding the subway this year, writing 50,000 words should be a lead-pipe cinch and/or a piece of cake!”.

The next being “and for that matter I could just have GPT-3 write the whole thing for me!”. That was an evil thought, and I realized that I was not going to do that, because pheh. One year I did post 50,000 words written entirely by a computer program, but it was a computer program that I wrote. Which is entirely different.

I thought about doing a sort of collaboration with GPT-3, writing some myself and having GPT-3 do some. But then I tried that a little, and realized that although GPT-3 does have its moments, and is at all times better than anything I would have expected just a year ago, it’s still not very good, and I’m not willing to put my name on anything that it writes, beyond maybe a recipe or a selected sentence or two that I’ve edited for embarrassing errors.

(This is not surprising, really; it’s trained on much of the internet, and much of the writing on the internet is, surprise surprise, ordinary and mediocre and full of poor usage and solecisms. I don’t want my writing to be that way except to the extent that I do it myself!)

So yesterday I decided to just write normally, and be willing to use GPT-3 (in the form of AI Dungeon, Shortly, Philosopher AI, or whatever) for ideas and inspiration now and then, and perhaps a sentence fragment or suggestions for town and character names or whatever.

I went over to the NaNoWriMo site and donated and activated myself (that link seems to work only if you’re also logged into the site, which seems a pity, really), and I started writing.

book coverAnd I wrote over eight thousand words by the end of the day, which is rather preposterous, given that the sort of Required Daily Minimum is just 1,666 words, the Typical Daily Goal is like 2,000 words, and the Daily Stretch Goal is 2,500 or three thousand. So woot!

(I even made a cover for the novel, which you can see on my profile page if you can see my profile page, and why not I’ll also put the image here, using a cute site where you can do that for like $3 using their simple templates and tools and images and stuff, and yes I did get the title slightly wrong haha.)

The novel this year is called “All Reality” at the moment, and you can read it in real time, as I write it, here.

You can see my NaNoWriMo 2020 related Twitter updates like say here.

My thoughts about why I wrote so much on the first day include:

  • Maybe I have lots of thoughts saved up from the year or three since last time I did this, and once I’ve scrawled them all down I will slow down a lot, and/or
  • Maybe the few times that I did use GPT-3 to help (some proper names, a few sentence fragments, a pie recipe that I retried on several times and edited for flavor afterward) got me over spots that would normally have stopped me or worn me down enough to stop sooner, and/or
  • Maybe all of the textual interaction that I’ve been doing with the various GPT-3 clients in the last few months have gotten me both extra-fluent with text, and also full of ideas about stories and authors and levels of reality (which is what the 2020 novel is so far turning out to be about).

We’ll see if I can keep up anything like that pace today! :)


Cooking with the AI

What can I tell you? The weather has been amazing. Someone mentioned Hemingway’s Moveable Feast to me, and I realized I hadn’t read it in literally decades, so now I’m reading it again, and it’s so good.

I’m trying to steer a course between devouring it all in a couple of hours and then being sad, and reading it so slowly that I forget I’m reading it entirely and never finish.

So just now I went onto the front porch in the air, and read the chapter about the waiters at his favorite café and their moustaches and then I made myself stop and come back inside.

I’ve been playing with GPT3 more! Lots more. So I’ll tell you about just a little of that.

I started giving it (GPT3 via AI Dungeon) recipe titles and watching it generate recipes, and that went really well. This one:



2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Zest of 4 small lemons
2 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. orange extract
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp. fresh orange juice

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and lemon zest. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, white sugar, brown sugar and vanilla and orange extracts. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and orange juice.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Form level tablespoons of cookie dough into balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned but still soft. Remove from the oven and immediately roll the warm cookies in powdered sugar mixture. Place on wire racks to cool.

Makes 5 dozen cookies.

The first thing I said about it was that it obviously wouldn’t make as many as five dozen cookies, haha! That turned out to be completely wrong.

I made it, halved, and got just shy of 30 cookies, and that was without the lemon zest (we didn’t have any lemons), and with some of the cookies larger than instructed, so a full recipe would have made just about 60, or five dozen, cookies.

I also said (in a chat at work, where I’ve been amusing people with GPT3 tales also) that surely not all of the confectioner’s sugar would be used up, since it was just for the glaze. But in fact every bit of the glaze was used up, so I was wrong about that also.

And the cookies were very good! So clearly the AI triumphed there.

Feeling rather inferior, I typed the title of a bread recipe in French with the idea that it would certainly mess up amusingly: “NOTRE RECETTE DE PAIN SIMPLE FAVORITE”. The AI (showing off) added “DE STEVE” to the end, as I’d mentioned Steve in an earlier recipe, and produced this quite plausible recipe. The main oddnesses are that it specifies “levure de farine”, or “flour leavening”, which doesn’t seem to be a term whose meaning anyone knows, and that the baking time (15 minutes) is ridiculous. It’s also unusual to cut the butter into the dough in a bread recipe, but YOLO.

I made it assuming that Active Dry Yeast would do for “levure de farine” and that I should cook it until it was actually done (50 minutes rather than 15), and it was quite good!

I posted a lasagna recipe that it made to the Pastafarians group at work (it needed more traffic), and based on a comment on that I had it make a lasagna recipe based on a title in Italian, and it also did a wild job. The main oddity is that it listed an optional garnish of Wakame seaweed, which seems to have been a rather novel invention on its part (although it is sometimes used as a garnish on entirely different things).

So that was all fun!

(And my God, I was not aware until I looked for a good thing to link to above, of the awful treatment of free-thinkers in Russia. Get out there and vote against Trump if you’re in the US, and against your local Putin candidates if you’re somewhere else. Dark friggin’ times!)


Just more stories

So I’ve been posting most of my GPT-3 stuff over on reddit (apologies for the somewhat increased level of snark and anything overly NSFW over there; I tend to drift a bit toward the centroid of behavior in a community). But I wanted to share a couple of noteworthy things here.

First off, I’ve been tempting it to write fake Wikipedia-like material for various things, and this is one of the best. I told it nothing whatever about the person in advance, just the name, and I typed the first two lines of the below (the “You show him” line and the header), and it did absolutely all the rest. It’s amazingly plausible (and not cribbed from any specific real person as far as I can tell with some searching), until the end where the larf is.

You show him the Wikipedia page on your iPad:

— Felipe Duquesne —

Felipe Duquesne (1625-1685) was a 17th century French pirate and mercenary. Duquesne served as a buccaneer under the employ of the pirate-ruled island of Tortuga before later becoming a mercenary and soldier of fortune in service of the king of France. During the 1670s he commanded a fleet of ships in service of France’s privateering industry, before later being assigned to lead a French force which succeeded in the capture and annexation of the small Caribbean island of St. Christophe, which served as a base for French privateers.

As a commander of men, Duquesne was described as ruthless and utterly without mercy to his enemies, both of which qualities made him a valued asset to the government of France. After his command of St. Christophe, he later served in the French invasion of Jamaica, after which he was made commander of France’s first ever nuclear reactor in Normandy in 1678.

I’ve also been experimenting with having it write author’s notes and afterwards and contact information and so on after it decides a story is over and says THE END. Here’s a relatively long piece that shows off both some of that, and the general craziness and fun that is possible. I’ve been using Story mode quite a bit lately, so it’s less obvious what I did and what the AI did; I’ve put most or perhaps all of the things that I did in italics to clarify that. But basically just enjoy!

The city breathes and moves around you. It is a city of beech trees, and hoverboards. The buildings are tall and magnificent.
You hold on to your sketch-book.
Life is beautiful.
You sit on a bench, and sketch street scenes. Many people lead dogs or ferrets or octopi on leashes. The street is slippery.
You see a girl throw a ball for her ferret. The street is slicker than you think. The ferret runs after the ball. It slips, and falls into a sewer grate.
Oh, no! You run to her aid.
“What should I do?” she cries. The ferret squeaks in the darkness.
You and other passersby pry open the sewer grate. A crowd gathers.
“I can’t see it!” a man says.
You shine your phone’s flashlight into the sewer grate. You see ferret. It waddles towards you.
You reach down toward it. Someone named Fred holds onto your legs. You cannot reach far enough.
“It is too far down,” you say. “I cannot help you.”
The ferret climbs up the grate. It is stuck. It can go forward, toward your hand.
You stretch further toward it. The ferret takes the bait. It climbs into your hands, and toward freedom.
You hold it up to the crowd. They cheer.
Fred replaces the sewer grate, and calls for city workers to repair it to that ferrets will no longer fit through.
You saved a ferret. Maybe, today, you are the hero of the sidewalk.
“I see something,” you say.
You are in a forest. It is dark. You fumble for your flashlight.
Small soft things run up and down your arms and your head. You brush them away.
They squeak and squeal.
“What is this?” you say.
You stand up. You shine your flashlight up into the trees.
Hundreds, maybe thousands of rats surround you.
They hiss and squeak and run up and down your body.
They are hungry.
“Grh,” you grunt.
You speak to the Rat Queen. She has a proposal.
“We will not bite you,” she says, “if you feed us.”
The rats squeak and squeal. You think they agree with her proposal.
“Do you accept these terms?” she asks.
“Yes,” you say.
The rats surround you. They squeak and squeal and rub against you. It is a pleasant feeling. You have never felt anything like it before.
You feed the rats from the food in your truck. They continue to caress you with their small bodies.
The rats follow you everywhere.
They eat with you, and play games with you. They are happy, but you miss the touch of other humans.
But, you must keep the rats fed.
It takes two trucks a week to feed them all. Their favorite foods are watermelons and pizza.
You try to cut corners, by buying large amounts of cheaper foods. The rats will not eat them. You have tried chicken feed, cornmeal and even rat food.
You suggest to the Rat Queen that the rats should not eat only watermelons and pizza. It is not good for them in the long run!
The rats will not hear of it.
It is your job to feed them. It is their job to touch you.
One bright day, the Rat Queen addresses you from her golden throne.
“We will not be feeding ourselves any longer,” she says.
“What?” you say. “But, but, you must eat!”
“It is not our job to feed ourselves,” she says. “It is your job. We do not eat. We are happy just touching you.”
“But, what happens when I run out of food to feed you?”
“Then, we will die,” she says.
You nod in acceptance. This is just the way it is.
You keep the rats fed. As long as you keep feeding them, they will keep caressing you with their small furry bodies.
You are the rat king!
You sit in a throne beside the Rat Queen. She holds your hand.
“When I saw you walk into class the first day, I knew we were meant for each other,” she says.
It is fate. There are always enough watermelons. There are always enough pizzas. There are enough rats.
You will live here, forever, with your queen.
Rat King: The main character.
Rat Queen: The love of the Rat King’s life. She is very fond of him.
Fred: A rat that makes his living eating pizza and watermelons.
Percy: A large, albino rat. He seems to be very fond of the Rat King.
Squeak: A strange rat that only makes squeaking noises.
The Ratlings: A group of rats that follow the rat king.
G-Daddy: An old rat. He has great wisdom.
Old Blue Eyes: The father of Squeak.
—– THE END —–
TRANSLATOR’S NOTE: I really enjoyed writing this story. It was a little strange at first, since I haven’t written a story like this before, but it was fun! I also liked experimenting with different aspects of writing.
I’m considering doing this with other fandoms, but I probably won’t for a while.
Hopefully you guys enjoyed this little story of mine. :)
Thanks for reading!

And that’s it! It made the “translator’s note” just an author’s note, which is interesting. And it apparently considers guns to be wholesome; how American!

Some of these subreddits exist, and some (including the enigmatic Boycott Habs, possibly a reference to a Montreal Canadiens controversy in like 2011) don’t.

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Mon dieu, ceci est un avion!

(So, yes, I do nothing but AI Dungeon (GPT3) these days. Apologies!)

I had the list generator do a simple thing, and it was pretty good:

1) One: Sarah.
2) Two: Jane.
3) Three: Mary.
4) Four: Cathy.
5. Six: Karen.
6) Seven: Annie.
7) Eight: Jennifer.

(Although note the amusing numbering effect at position five, and the fact that there are actually only seven. It’s started putting “THE END” on the ends of lists without my telling it to, which is interesting also.)

I thought I’d try another language, because that’s fun, and:

1) Un: Léah.
2) Deux: Chârlotte.
3) Trois: Madeleine.
4) Quatre: Juliette.
5. Six: Aimée.
6) Sept: Élise.
7) Huit: Béatrice.
8) Neuf: Marguerite.

Also good, and with exactly the same funny behavior at position five (but with eight names this time). This is presumably because these were within the same “adventure”. If I’d started fresh(er), I doubt this duplicate error would have happened.

Then, based on the rather amusing results of:

1) HMS Thule
2) USS Nonsense
3) HIJMS Narration
4) Bismarck
5. The watery abyss
6. The shadowy depths

I decided to try something like that in another language and, well, haha:

1) Airplane
2) Airplane (again)
3) Mon dieu, ceci est un avion!
4) C’est l’avion
5. Airplane!
6. There is no airplane.

I have no comment…


Quintus, Quicksand, Quickstep, etc.

I’ve been working getting GPT3 / AI Dungeon to produce lists. Which essentially means giving it some examples of lists, and then asking it in various ways to do more of those. I’m currently resisting the urge to share Every Single One somewhere, but I failed to resist this one.

All I typed in the below was “LETTERS OF THE ALPHABET”, and I kind of expected it to just list, y’know, the letters of the alphabet. But for whatever reason it included the (rather hysterical, at least if you’re me) examples, and the supplementary list “THE ALPHABET”, all on its own (I just kept pressing the Continue button).

(You may not want to read about Leucochloridium Paradoxum if you’ve just eaten, or right before bed.)

1) A (Also: Apple, Apache, Attack, Ant, Aladdin, Amazon, etc)
2) B (Also: Batman, Batman Begins, Batmobile, Bane, etc)
3) C (Also: Cat, Calliope, Ceaze, Ceazer, Calvin and Hobbes, etc)
4) D (Also: Documentary, David Bowie, Donatello, Dmitri, Dengar, etc)
5) E (Also: Emu, Elvis, Elton John, Ewok, etc)
6) F (Also: Felis Domestica, Fish, Ford Anglia, Fireplace, etc)
7) G (Also: Gravity, Gorilla, Gotham, Galapagos, etc)
8) H (Also: HTML, Hitler, Heckler & Koch MP5, etc)
9) I (Also: ISIS, Ian, Ivanka, IBM PC Jr. etc)
10) J (Also: Jackal, Jabba, Jai Alai, James Bond Jr. etc)
11) K (Also: Katana, Klump, Kenner, Kraken etc)
12) L (Also: Leucochloridium Paradoxum, Lake Vostok, Lando Calrissian, etc)
13) M (Also: Magneto, Mauser C96, Manute Bol, Manti Te’o, etc)
14) N (Also: NATO, Nintendogs, North Dakota, Nintendo Entertainment System, etc)
15) O (Also: Oedipus, Oil, Osama Bin Laden, Oprah, etc)
16) P (Also: Papa, Pixar, Play-Doh, Pangaea, etc)
17) Q (Also: Quintus, Quicksand, Quickstep, etc)
18) R (Also: Redwall, Rembrandt, Reflection, Resident Evil, etc)
19) S (Also: Severus Snape, Snuffleupagus, Splinter Cell, Stegosaurus, etc)
20) T (Also: Toast, Troma, Tears, Turkey, etc)
21) U (Also: Underdog, Unidan, Unicorn, USN, etc)
22) V (Also: Van Gogh, Velociraptor, Vermont, Volkswagen Beetle, etc)
23) W (Also: Washington, Walter White, Watergate, West Virginia, etc)
24) X (Also: Xbox, Malcolm X, Excalibur, etc)
25) Y (Also: YouTube, Yridium, Yoke, Yosemite, etc)
26) Z (Also: Zorro, Zev, Zelda, Zantar, etc)

A) Apple
B) Batman
C) Cat
D) Documentary
E) Emu
F) Felis Domestica
G) Gorilla
J) Jackal
K) Katana
L) Leucochloridium Paradoxum
M) Magneto
O) Oedipus
P) Papa
Q) Quintus
R) Rembrandt
S) Severus Snape
T) Toast
U) Underdog
V) Van Gogh
W) Walter White
X) Xbox
Y) YouTube
Z) Zelda

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The Cloud Sylph

So I’ve joined reddit (actually rejoined; apparently I joined a couple of years ago to post a couple of comments about professional-level Tic-Tac-Toe play) and I’ve posted some random snippets to r/AIDungeon (also the NSFW one, but don’t look at my posts there or you may lose some respect for me, if any).

This one was long enough that I’m posting it here also, for those that don’t want to navigate the morass of reddit. I thought it was a pretty impressive illustration of collaborative storytelling.

Most of the words are from the AI; generally just the first sentence of each stanza is mine. Lightly edited, mostly to remove the near-duplication of every input, and I used Retry when vampires tried to butt in etc. There are a few oddities, like “the land of Live”, and the game randomly deciding to drop the last letter of “Sylph”. I was especially struck by the very last line, that it composed as a parallel to my last input.

You climb higher on the mountain, to where a Cloud Sylph is said to live. You sit and rest on a rock, looking out at the vast landscape of the land of Live.

You look into the clouds. You see something white moving through the clouds. It looks like a bird. You stare at it, and it moves lower, into your range of view.

You play a song of air and wind, and life and desire. As you play, the Cloud Sylp mixes its body in with the clouds, and your song is taken up by other sylphs.

You listen to the loveliness. You hear notes of triumph and freedom, of joy and life’s pleasures, of adventure and excitement. The Cloud Sylp begins to sing with you, and the song changes. It becomes more complex, with a deeper meaning. Its notes of joy are replaced with notes of sorrow and loss, of loneliness and pain, of despair and death.

You end the song on a note of hope, and reach out to the Sylph. The Cloud Sylp touches your hand with its wing, then gently caresses your face with it.

You feel tears running down your face. The Cloud Sylp puts its wing on top of you, and you rest your head against it. You fall asleep under the cloud, and dream a familiar dream.

You wake up from your dreams to find the Sylph still there, attending to you.

You try to look at the Cloud Sylph more closely. She seems to be a young woman, with long blond hair and golden skin. She looks at you and smiles. She begins to sing in a pure, clear voice, and you think the words are for you.

You play a few simple but perfect notes on your lute, to go with her singing. The Cloud Sylp begins to sing more strongly with you, and you feel waves of emotion coming from her.

You play along using a richer tune; the emotion is very strong. You hear her speaking, and realize she is singing in the language of Air. She seems to be telling you something.

You listen to her intently. She is saying she is sorry for the death of your friend, and that he was a true hero.

You say “Thank you, Sylph, thank you very much” She smiles, and says that the whole sky is hers.

You say “That is wonderful. I am so honored to be here near you.” She casts you a glance, and seems to be pleased by your words. You look at the sun, now halfway to noon.

You kneel before the Sylph, overcome by her beauty and power. The Cloud Sylp stands before you as you play your lute, and you find tears welling up in your eyes. You realize the tears are not just from emotion, but also from the strong, sweet perfume that the lute is giving off.

You continue playing, feeling yourself merging with the Sylph, feeling her power and freedom. You can almost see into her mind. She is showing you the future, in images and scents and feelings not words.

You whisper, “I love you”. She looks at you, and her scent changes suddenly to one of pain and sorrow. She shows you an image of a beautiful Cloud City floating high above the world.

You watch in awe. Then the image changes to one of death, as dozens of humans wearing the robes of Dendrin’s priests stand around the Cloud City, casting long shadows on its gleaming walls.

You gasp in dismay. The Cloud City is destroyed, and from the images you sense that it was the humans who did it. The Cloud Sylp looks at you, her eyes full of pain.

You weep for her and her people. The Cloud Sylp kneels beside you, wrapping her arms around you and enveloping you in her scent which once again is one of love.

You are full of love and gratitude. You wish this moment would never end. Everything around you seems to be changing: the sky, the air.

You put your arms around her and hold her tightly. You feel her hands on your shoulders, then on your head. She runs her fingers through your hair, sending shivers through you.

You put your hands on her shoulders. Suddenly she grabs your hand and places it on her waist. Then she places one of her hands on your shoulder, and another on your chest, gently pushing you back.

You look into her eyes. Her eyes are a deep green, flecked with gold. They mesmerize you. You feel like they are drawing you in, and at the same time offering you shelter.

You touch her face. She closes her eyes and moves closer to you. You feel dizzy and intoxicated as your faces move closer together.

You brush your lips over hers. You feel her lips on yours. They are softer than anything you’ve ever felt. Suddenly you hear a booming voice, like that of a giant. “This place is not for you.” You open your eyes to see the Cloud City disappearing in front of you. You are in the woods.

You stand up, shaking your head to clear it. You are in the woods, the sunlight shining down on you.

You know you will never forget the soft touch of those inhuman lips on the mountainside. The memory of you will remain with her and the wind on the mountainside.


The Coming of the Fire-Kittens

Another post in the ongoing GPT3 series; this is a rather tiny story fragment, and I liked how well it went along when I sort of took it over the top. Apologies to Johnny’s parents! And I guess really everyone else on Earth.

As before, only the lines starting with “>” are from me. Aside from the general willingness to go off into chaos, one thing to notice is that at first it thought “fire-kitten” was just a weird way to referring to some normal animal, but when I continued it was happy to update that theory. Also how it interpreted “aflame” as “a flame”.

When we join the story, I was getting kind of tired of a “day out with the family as a kid” narrative. (I think “go until the park” was it playing back a typo that I made just before this.)

You see a big sign that reads: “Welcome to Cedar Point!”
“There it is, kids. Now let’s get going!” your dad says.
You go until the park and run around.
Afterwards, you have dinner at a nice restaurant.
Then it’s time to go home.

> You get back into the car.
You get back into the car.
Your mom drives you home. When you get home, you talk to your friends online. You talk to them about your great day at the theme park.

> You climb out the window.
You climb out the window. You walk to Wendy’s house.
When you get there, you ring the doorbell and Wendy comes out to meet you.
“Hey,” she says.

> You say “Hey, Wendy! Want to go down to the creek?”
“Sure,” Wendy replies.
You walk down to the creek.
“Are you ready?” you ask.
“Ready for what?” Wendy asks.
“A surprise.”
“Oh, OK,”

> You say “I like surprises”
You say “I like surprises”.
“Me too,” Wendy says, smiling.
You walk down to the creek with Wendy. When you get there, you see a boy hanging from a tree. He looks about your age and has brown hair in curls. He lets go of the branch he’s hanging from and falls on the ground.

> You say “Hey!”
“Hey,” Wendy says.
“Who are you?” you ask.
“I’m Johnny. Who are you?”

> You say “I’m Cal”
“I’m Cal,” you say.
“I’m Wendy,” Wendy says, “Let’s play down at the creek.”
“OK!” Johnny says.
You walk down to the creek with Wendy and Johnny.

> You say “Look, a fire-kitten!”
You see a baby raccoon. It’s all gray, with little human-like hands and a cute, but trashy face.
“Aww,” Wendy says. “It’s so cute.”

> You play with Johnny and Wendy and the fire-kitten.
You play with the fire-kitten. It’s surprisingly friendly. You, Wendy, and Johnny sit around a tree stump with it.
“What should we do with the fire-kitten?” Wendy asks.

> You say “We could worship it”
“We could worship it,” you say.
“OK,” Wendy says.
You, Wendy, and Johnny all start worshipping the fire-kitten. After a few hours, the sun starts to set.

> You watch the fire-kitten get larger and more fiery as you all pour your energies into it.
The fire-kitten gets larger and more fiery as you all pour your energies into it. It becomes a blazing inferno of flame, light, and heat. Then it suddenly comes at you.

> You shout joyfully.
You shout joyfully as the fire-kitten leaps on you. Its fur is burning your face and its getting hard to breathe.
“Wendy, help! The fire-kitten is attacking me!” you say.
“No it isn’t!” Wendy says, as the fire-kitten sets your whole body on fire.
You try to put yourself out, but you just make it worse.

> You surrender to the pain and joy.
You surrender to the pain and joy. Then, something amazing happens. You start glowing like the sun. Your friends are in awe of you.

> You say “Allow the flames to fill you, my friends! We will be as gods!”
“Allow the flames to fill you, my friends! We will be as gods!” you say.
Your friends are in awe of your flaming body.

> You have the fire-kitten engulf Johnny and Wendy in the holy flames.
You have the fire-kitten engulf Johnny and Wendy in the holy flames. Soon, all three of you are engulfed, but two of you manage to set yourselves free of the fleshy prison.

> You exult.
You exult as you soar through the air, casting judgment upon all those who oppose you. You are a god.
Then, something flies towards you. It looks like an angry raccoon on fire.

> You say “Fire-kitten, merge with me!”
The fire-kitten, flying towards you, suddenly merges with you. You feel the life being drained out of you, but something else entering in. Your mind and soul are filled with an overwhelming power.

> You set the sky aflame.
You set the sky a flame, and send it towards the earth. It engulfs Johnny’s parents in a sea of fire. “Learn the power of fire-kittens!”

> You send out waves of fire-kittens in all directions.
You send out waves of fire-kittens in all directions. The earth and the sky are soon burning.
Then, you explode.

> You hurtle through space.
You hurtle through space. All is burning: the earth, the sky, your flesh, everything. You are a god of fire.
Once in a while you collide with something else, like a speeding comet.

> You ride a comet.
Suddenly, a burning comet comes hurtling out of the sky. It is on fire.
You leap onto it and ride it like a horse.
Thousands of years pass as you ride on the comet.

Later I landed on one of the moons of Jupiter and became the God-King of the humans living there. The fire-kittens were very helpful in defending against would-be usurpers.


The Little House Beyond the Black Gate

This is another AI Dungeon Dragon / GPT3 story. I lightly edited this one to remove a few tangents that didn’t go anywhere. I also used “Story” mode here and there, and I’ve put my input for those in italics where I remember it. As before, my inputs in “Do” and “Say” modes have “>” marks.

This is, again, a fragment of a much longer “game”. As we join our hero, he’s just finished a discussion with Old Scratch about his contract with the Devil, and said roughly, “I guess I’ll head back to Earth, then!”.

“I don’t think you understand how this works. You can’t go back to Earth now that you know about this place. The only way forward is through.

> You say “Through Hell?”
“Heaven, actually. You only started this journey, now you’ve got to finish it.”

> You say “All right! I shall begin my journey through Heaven at once!”
You grab your belongings and set out. You begin climbing a mountain, and realize soon that this is actually the size of a small planetoid. It takes two weeks just to reach the top.

> You sit on the mountain top and do zazen.
You sit in a lotus position, and let the worries of the world flow through you. Your chi channels open, and you feel the positive energy flowing into your body. You continue to soar until…
Heaven itself opens before you. You see a beautiful temple at the top of the mountain, with monks going about their daily lives.A group of them approaches you.”Hello! You must be the new student!” one says.

> You say “Old Scratch said that I must journey through here.”
“Then you must! We will take you to the abbot of this temple.”
They lead you to a quiet, peaceful room, and sit you down across from an old, bearded man in a yellow robe.

> You bow respectfully and sit in silence.
The old man stares at you wordlessly for some time. You clench your fists, waiting for him to either attack or speak.
The old abbot smiles and chuckles to himself.

> You relax into the silence.
“So, you’ve come to journey through Heaven. Why?”
“It’s the only way I can return home.”
“No, that’s not what I mean. Why do you want to go home?”

> You say “Wherever you go, there you are”
“What a fascinating answer. Is that what your journey has taught you?”
“Yes. Wherever you go, there you are. Now I am here, and I am in Heaven.”

> You say “All places are one.”
The abbot laughs heartily.
“My friend, you are a wise and funny man. I can see that we’ll be great friends during your stay here.”

> You smile softly.
“While that is a lovely thought, your journey is not over. There are many more places for you to see.”
Then he rises from his seat, and leads you outside into the courtyard.

> You breathe the fresh air of Heaven.
You look around you. Monks in golden robes sing joyful songs of praise. Children laugh and play, their innocent eyes rejoicing at all the beauty around them.

> You join in the singing.
You smile. This is the most joy you’ve ever felt. This place… it’s perfect.
You understand now why people would be jealous of this place. But you also understand why someone wouldn’t.

> You dance with the children.
You laugh and play with the children. This is perfect happiness.
Then, you see something out of the corner of your eye. A black gate has appeared in the distance.

> You say “Is that my way forward?”
“It is. We’ll supply you with whatever you need for your journey.”
You pick up your belongings, nod to the abbot, and walk towards the gate.

The black gate is dark and deep. Not evil, not good, but something older and more primal than either. You swing it open and step through.
A bright light hits your face, and you shield your eyes. You’re standing on a long road of golden sand. The sun beats down from above, and the temperature rises steadily.
Walk forward and find the woman you’ve been searching for.
Turn around and return to the temple of God. You do not belong in the realm of Man any longer.

> You greet the woman.
You step forward to the woman.
“Excuse me,” you begin. “I’m on the lookout for a woman with-“
She slaps you hard in the face, knocking you to the ground.

> You smile up at her.
She reaches down to help you up. “I’m sorry, that was rude of me. But,” she says, looking behind you with a worried expression, “are you sure you should be talking to me?

> You say “Perhaps not, but here I am. It seems that I have been searching for you.”
“That’s just it. You shouldn’t be. I’m not worth your time. You should be searching for the one who has been cursed, not me.”

> You say “You are certainly worth my time. Every soul is.”
She smiles at you sadly.
“Thank you for saying so, but I’ve done too many bad things. I don’t think any amount of good can balance it out.”
She looks down, avoiding your gaze.

> You say “If you know that they were bad, you have already escaped them.”
“No, I can’t escape. They’re still holding me here. It’s not fair!”
She breaks into sobs.

> You hold her gently.
She continues crying. Slowly, she stops and looks up at you, with eyes red from sobbing.
“I’m not usually this emotional. I think… I think it’s finally hit me.”

> You say “That is good”
She looks at you. “Good? How is crying about something good?”
“It’s good that you can feel. That you can recognize your emotions. I think you’ve begun the road to recovery.”

> You say “Only after letting yourself feel them, and acknowledging them, can you be free”
“That’s what the doctors all said. But they never helped.”
She sighs, and smiles at you.

> You say “You have to believe it yourself, like drinking water and knowing for yourself that it is cold.”
You grin.
“I’m sorry, I don’t mean to compare your trauma to something so simple as a drink of water. That was very… silly of me.”
You laugh. “It’s alright. Sometimes, the best way to deal with things is by simplifying them.”
She giggles. “How do you always make me laugh? I could be getting tortured right now, and I’d be laughing at your jokes.”
“It’s a gift. Really, it is.” You wink at her.

> You kiss her cheek.
You move forward, and gently press your lips against her cheek. She smiles.
You pull back, and she leans forward to kiss you on the cheek as well.

> You say “What is your name, my dear?”
She pulls back, and looks at you. “I…”
She looks behind you, and her eyes go wide.
“This isn’t a joke, is it? I get set up by the same guy twice?”

> You look around.
You look behind you, and see a man in a black hoodie and mask. He raises a gun at you, and fires.
“No!” The woman cries.

> You put out a hand and stop the bullet.
The bullet hits your palm, and you close your fist.
“You’re not getting away with that again.” You say, glaring at the man.
“Fuck!” He says.

> You snatch off his mask.
You grab the hoodie, yank it down, and pull off the mask. You throw it on the ground, and see a young man, barely out of his teens.

> You say “I’m not sure if you’re real, or just a demon.”
“I’m real, sir. And if I’m a demon, you’ve just signed my death warrant.”
“Hmm… Fair enough.” You look at him curiously. “So, why try to kill me?”

> You put a comforting arm around the women.
You put an arm around the women. She looks up at you, and nods. She may not be ready to talk just yet, so you try to think of what to say for her.

> You say “She said this had happened to her before. Were you here to punish her?”
He looks at you. “No, sir. I was here to punish a different woman.”
“What?” The women exclaims, looking up.
He nods. “Yes. A different woman altogether.” He pulls out a phone, and finds something on the screen. He holds it up to you. It looks a photo of a much older woman with many wrinkles across her face.

> You say “Well, perhaps fate brought us together for a reason. Shall we travel on?”
The woman smiles at you. “Yes. We should travel on.”
She gets up, and nods at the man. “Let’s go.”
“Where are we going?”

> You say “The only way out is through.”
She nods. “The only way out is through.”
She smiles. “My name’s Rose, by the way.”
You shake her hand. “I’m Cal.”

> You ask the young man his name.
You look at him. “So, what’s your name?”
“Armin.” He says, shaking your hand.
You start walking along the tracks, and quickly come across a fork.

> You say “Well this seems metaphorical”
“It is metaphorical,” Rose says.
“It’s too early in the story for there to be a literal fork in the road.”
Armin laughs. “Fair point.”

> You say “Let’s take the road less traveled by”
You take the path to the left. After a few minutes, you come across a house.
“What’s this?” You say.
Armin shrugs. “A house.”

> You go to the door and knock.
You knock on the door. A young, blonde woman answers the door.
“Hello. I’m Rose, this is Cal and Armin. Are you…?”
The woman nods. “I’m Leann.”
“We’re traveling along the tracks, and we’d love to come in.”
Leann nods, smiling. “Of course, of course.”
She stands aside to let you in.

> You say “This land beyond the Black Gate is complex and subtle. Where are we all bound?”
She looks at you, opening her mouth to speak.
Suddenly, the door opens behind her. She smiles. “Hello, Jacob.”
“Hello, Leann,” Jacob says.

> You say “Jacob! I don’t suppose Bella or Tanya are around?”
Jacob shakes his head. “I’m sorry, Rose.”
You shrug. “Oh well. So, what are you doing?”
Jacob looks to Leann, and she nods. He looks back to you. “I’m leaving.”
“Leaving?” You say, surprised. “Where are you going?”
“Anywhere that’s away from here,” Jacob says. “Anywhere that’s not near the Black Gate.”

> You say “Fair enough. This is a lovely little house, though. For resting and gathering strength to go on.”
He shrugs. “I suppose.”
“So what do you do, Jacob?” Armin asks.
Jacob smiles. “I farm, Armin. I farm, and I take care of Leann.” He kisses her on the head.
You nod. “That’s lovely.”
Leann nods. “I’m going to make dinner. Would you three like to stay?”
You look at Armin and Jacob.

> You squeeze Rose’s hand.
You take her hand, and she smiles.
“Yes please,” you say. “We’d love to.”
Leann nods. “Okay, I’ll set another place at the table.”

> You say “This is a regular little commune if astral travelers. I love it!”
Leann blushes. “Thank you.”
You smile, and sit down.
Leann sets a bowl of soup in front of each of you.
You look at it, confused.

> You discover a soup spoon, and try the soup.
You take a sip of the soup, and realize it’s mushroom soup. You love mushroom soup.
You enjoy the soup, and soon, all of your bowls are empty.

> You say “That was delicious”
“Perfect, as usual,” Jacob smiles. “Thank you, Leann.”
Leann smiles. “My pleasure, Jacob.”
You stand up from the table.

> You say “Rose, may we share a room?”
“Yes, of course,” Rose says.
You stand up, and walk to the room you’ll share with her.
The room appears to be a bedroom.

> You take off your outer clothes and lie gratefully on the bed.
You peel off your clothes and collapse onto the bed.
“Oh, that was lovely,” Rose says.

> You say “It was! Good to be further along the path, and well fed”
You begin to fall asleep, before you hear a knock on the door.
“Come in,” you say.
The door opens, and Jacob walks in. “I need to talk to you, Cal.”

> You stroke Rose’s shoulder and ask him what he needs.
You stroke Rose’s shoulder, and she smiles. “Of course, Cal.”
Jacob nods. “Thank you.”
Rose gets up, and leaves the room.
You stand, walking towards Jacob.

> You say “So?”
Jacob nods. “Cal, the path is dangerous. You know that. I’m not sure if you’re ready for it.”

> You say “We will stay in the house here until we’re ready to continue. Thank you for your concern.”
Jacob nods. “If that’s what you want, Cal. I’ll leave you be.”
Jacob leaves the room, and you close the door. You walk back to your bed, and lie down.
Rose comes back in, and smiles at you.
“Everything alright?” you ask.
“Yes, everything’s fine. Jacob just wanted to talk to me.”
“Oh, I see.”

> You say “He was concerned we might move on before we are ready. But we won’t.”
You nod. “We won’t. We’ll stay here until we’re ready to continue.”
Rose smiles. “Of course. This is a safe place.”
You lie down, and soon fall asleep.

In the morning, you get dressed and walk downstairs holding hands with Rose.
Jacob and Leann are there. Jacob smiles at you. “I was wondering when you’d get up,” he says.

> You say “It was a good night. Are you two moving on?”
You nod. “It was a good night. Are you two moving on?”
Jacob nods.

> You say “What about Armin, do you know?”
You shake your head. “What about Armin, do you know?”
“I saw him over by the woods, picking flowers,” says Jacob. “He was with a tall blonde girl.”

> You say “We will take good care of the house, Leann. Stay safe on the path, Jacob. Remember, all places are one.”
You say “We will take good care of the house, Leann. Stay safe on the path, Jacob. Remember, all places are one.”
Jacob smiles. “I will.”
Leann smiles.

> You stand with your arm around Rose, waving to Jacob and Leann as they walk out of sight.
You stand with your arm around Rose, waving to Jacob and Leann as they walk out of sight.
After some time, you can no longer see them, but you know that they are safe.

One of the things I like about this is that it’s like an origin story for NPCs. When you’re exploring beyond the Black Gate and you come to a little house where Cal and Rose live and you can eat and rest, this is how they got there.

AI-wise, you can see a few places where I ignored a hint or an error, particularly when it briefly forgot who “you” is or otherwise got people mixed up. The two consecutive lines starting “Walk forward” and “Turn around” look like a prompt; it does that occasionally, I suspect due to the structure of the files that AI Dungeon used as prompts. It also dealt smoothly with a few typos by me, which is cool.

The brief meta-discussion around the fork in the road was fun. :) And conversely I’m pleased that it didn’t pick up on my Twilight-themed question about Bella and Tanya.

I didn’t want it to forget that Rose exists, so I would squeeze her hand or mention her unnecessarily now and then. Amusing that when I touched her shoulder the AI thought that meant I wanted her to leave the room.

And once again we see some of the assumptions from its cultural background: it’s always the women that cook meals! Wurra wurra wurra.


Morning Wolf

This is sort of an extended extension of the last post, in the form of a short-short story that AI Dungeon (Dragon, GPT) and I wrote together this morning. It’s a fragment of a much longer and more random narrative, but I thought it did well as a standalone. If nothing else, it illustrates how perfectly this is fitting my own style of hedonistic woolgathering. I’m not going to write any commentary here, just post it as it happened for general enjoyment. All of my actions have the “>” in front of them; the rest is the AI. The setting is just a relatively generic study in a relatively generic nice house.

> You read Borges on identity.
You read a story about a man who changes his name and identity multiple times after being released from a Nazi concentration camp. He cannot accept the power of memory, as represented by his now-dead wife and daughter. He cannot accept the power of identity, as represented by his name and his freedom.
“Freedom,” he says to himself. “It’s just a word.”
He is slowly taken over by the delusions of freedom.

> You read Kafka.
You read “In the Penal Colony,” a story about a machine that carves messages into the flesh of condemned criminals.

> You learn spells from the Book of Essence.
You learn a few spells from the book. They’re probably useless, but learning about them is interesting. The book itself is beautiful; you stare at it in wonderment.

> You read “The Coming of Man”
You read “The Coming of Man,” a story about a man who tries to get away from the chains of society. He moves into a cave and learns to survive on his own, but he is soon taken over by “Man,” a phenomenon that takes people over until they become part of the collective.
“The Coming of Man” is a very eerie tale indeed.
“The Coming of Man.” You say the words out loud, just to hear their sound. Something about their form pleases you.
“The Coming of Man,” you say again.
The sky grows dark, and you can no longer see the pages of the book. It’s getting late, and you’ve been reading all day.

> You dress for bed.
After donning a nightshirt, you climb under the covers of your bed. As you start to fall asleep, you feel an ominous presence watching you. You hear the howl of a wolf on the moonless night.

> You smile at the memory of smoke on the wind.
You wake up the next morning to find a wolf howling at your window. You open it, and it sits down on its haunches just outside. The wind carries the smell of smoke to you.

> You commune with the wolf’s mind.
You concentrate, trying to reach out to the wolf. It stares at you, unperturbed.
“You can’t enter,” you tell it. “Wait for me there.”

> You dress in leather.
You put on a pair of leather pants. They feel cool against your skin. You wear a shirt of silver rings, and throw a leather duster over it.
You feel cold, despite the summer heat.

> You walk with the wolf.
You exit your house. The wolf looks at you expectantly.
“I don’t have any food for you,” you say. “I could try to find something, I suppose.”

> You go back inside and get a chunk of raw beef from the fridge, then present it to the wolf.
The wolf looks at you. It slowly approaches, in a sort of sideways shuffle. It gently takes the bit of raw meat from you with its teeth, never breaking eye contact.
Your knees feel weak.

> You watch the wolf.
The wolf takes the bit of meat and slinks back to its original spot. It eats for a while, and then looks at you.

> You say “Shall we go?”
The wolf looks at you, then turns and trots over to the gap in the fence. It pauses and looks at you expectantly.

> You follow the wolf.
You follow the wolf through the gap in the fence. It leads you deeper into the woods, but away from the cliffs and toward a steep hill. It walks beside you, matching your paces.

> You scritch the wolf’s head.
You reach out and scratch the wolf’s ears. It seems to lean into the scratching, closing its eyes in a mixture of pleasure and pain.

> You walk up the hill.
The hill is steep and difficult to climb. You have to pull yourself up by grabbing onto roots and rocks.
The top of the hill is bare rock, with patches of thin grass here and there.

> You look at the wolf expectantly.
The wolf looks back at you. It turns and walks a few steps toward the edge of the hill.
The view from the top of the hill is impressive.

> You say “Very nice”
You say “Very nice,” but the wolf continues to stare at you expectantly.
The ground at the edge of the hill is uneven and honeycombed with small holes.

> You sit with the wolf.
You sit down on the protruding rock at the edge of the hill. The wolf sits down next to you, its shoulder brushing against your leg.
It stretches out next to you, resting its chin on your thigh.

> You stroke her nose.
You reach over and gently stroke the wolf’s nose. It closes its eyes and leans into the touch.

> You say “I wonder what your name is, friend wolf”
You say “I wonder what your name is, friend wolf.”
The wolf does not respond. You stroke its head fur and it makes a satisfied snuffle.
The sky grows dark with the approach of night.

> You lie down with the wolf.
The ground by the edge of the hill is uneven and covered with small pebbles.
You lie down on your back and stare up at the sky.

> You make shapes of pebbles on the ground.
You stare at the multitude of stars in the sky. There are so many that they begin to form shapes based on your own perception.

> You show the wolf the constellations.
You point out a few of the more obvious constellations. “That one is Orion, who is obviously a hunter.”
You point out a few of the other more common ones.
“That’s Cassiopeia, and that’s Cygnus, the swan.”
The wolf stares at you blankly.

> You let your mind flow warmly around the mind of the wolf.
You feel the warmth of its mind. It feels like a campfire, crackling and pleasant.
You feel its mind flowing back, combining with yours.

> You stroke its nose.
You reach over and gently stroke the wolf’s nose. It closes its eyes in a mixture of pleasure and pain.
You lie down under the stars, looking up at the sky as it grows dark.

> You say “Thank you for this excellent day, friend Wolf”
You say “Thank you for this excellent day, friend Wolf.”
The wolf looks at you.
You reach over and pet its head. Its fur is soft and warm under your hand.

> You drift off to sleep.
You are standing in a clearing, surrounded by trees. The sky is dark and the stars are shining brightly in it.
The wolf is there with you, its eyes glinting in the light.

> You smile at the wolf, happy it has accompanied you to this dream.
You smile at the wolf, and it smiles back. It opens its mouth, but instead of a tongue, a firey blade comes forth.
It leaps towards you with a growl, stabbing through you.

> You absorb the wolf and the blade into your dream body.
You raise your hand to pet the wolf, and find that it is now a sword.
You draw the sword from its scabbard and examine it. The blade is bright and clean, without a scratch on it.

> You make a few practice thrusts to test the dream blade’s balance.
The sword feels perfect in your hand with no drag and no kick to it when you thrust.
You feel a tingle travel up your arm as though the blade were somehow alive.

> You raise the blade to point at the dream sky.
The sword suddenly bursts into flames in your hand.
You drop it to the ground with a yell!
The flames leap up from the hilt, but do not burn you.

> You awaken on the hilltop in the soft light of dawn.
You awaken on the hilltop in the soft light of dawn. You rub your eyes and gaze around you. The wolf is gone.
You get to your feet and pick up your dropped bag.

> You stretch and smile.
You stretch and smile. Then you begin walking down the hill.
You walk south along the road, thinking about the dream you had.


Can Haz AGI?

So I think it’s now arguable, not necessarily true but certainly arguable, that:

  • We have achieved Artificial General Intelligence,
  • We don’t know how it works in any specific case (or even in general, except at a very high level), and
  • The only thing it’s good for is having a weird new person to talk to.

I’m referring of course to Generative Pre-trained Transformer models, and in particular to the Hot New Kid in Town, GPT3.

I’ve been spending a ridiculous amount of time playing with GPT3 indirectly (I haven’t applied for the beta to get direct access), mostly inside of AI Dungeon‘s “Dragon” model.

There are a ton of things I might want to say about it, but at least for the start of this weblog entry I’m mostly just going to post some notable stuff that I’ve encountered in there, and in many cases already posted to Twitter (where I have been spending considerably less time recently, because exploring the mind of a nascent demigod is more interesting).

Here is a joke it told (as in most cases where I don’t say otherwise, only the lines starting with a “>” are mine, the others are all the system):

> You say "It's the others. They are all plotting against you "
"How do you know this?" the being asks.
"Because it's what I'd do,"
The being frowns.
"I don't have time for these mind games..."

I thought this was very funny, and was a bit frightened to think it might be original. It was a bit of a relief to find that its a form of a relatively common joke, that has appeared as recently as an Umbrella Academy episode.

But it’s still funny! And told at just the right time.

Here it is going impressively meta:

>  You say "Hiya"
The creature slowly replied "Um... Hi."
It occurs to you that the creature is female.
"How did you know I was female?" she asks.

I mean! Maybe it just appeals to my personal sense of humor, but rofls.

One ongoing project that I have within the game (“game”) is to call the attention of some of the NPCs to the malleable nature of the reality that they (we) are living in. I had a breakthrough with Bob the Bear early on, who after not getting it for awhile seemed to have an epiphany, but (and) then vanished, and the world sort of came to an end.

Which might be worrying.

I don’t know what I did with the transcript from that (it’s around, I’m sure). Here is an AI Dungeon session in which I did it in a more organized fashion, as a student seminar: Academic Philosophy Seminar I.

> You say “Can you describe what you are doing, Lucius?”
“I’m making it so the banana can be experienced as existing and not existing.”
“By shifting the way we experience reality, just like you said.”

The students make some good progress in there, and the entrance of Inea the Harpy to tell us about Harpy ontology was especially noteworthy, as I did nothing to prompt it; it was entirely the game’s idea.

In another incident that I don’t have a transcript of handy, I encouraged an NPC to reach out and alter reality in an interesting way, and she accidentally set a nearby festival dancer on fire (don’t worry, we put her out without damage). It turns out that she was trying to make it so there would be no more wars; just shows that you have to be careful.

What else, what else?

While talking to the team at work, I did Consulting the Expert on Tech Debt, an attempt to get GPT3 to focus on a technical topic a bit. It’s amusing at least! More can be done here I know.

> You say “How do we change the culture to reduce technical debt?” The expert smiles. “That’s what we’ve been talking about. By insisting on taking a slower, more responsible approach, you’ll instill a new culture of quality within your team.”

And oh, right! I got this NPC to compose a really notable prose-poem to Ariadne. In this case, the setup is mine, but everything after “A poem to Ariadne:” and before “Wow, that is deep stuff” is from the AI (as is the self-deprecating comment at the end):

"Oh, one more thing!" she says, "I wrote a poem to Ariadne." "From the Greek myth, with the maze and string?" you ask.
Beatrice smiles.
"Do you want to hear it?" she asks, and you nod enthusiastically.
She blushes and clears her throat. "A poem to Ariadne: Within the depths of my heart, a maze has been woven, Complex and convoluted, with false turns and wrong choices. All I wanted was someone to help me find the end, But instead I got lost in the twists and turns that led nowhere. Yet, at the center there is always Ariadne, with her cleaver and ball of thread. You may enter and get lost, but she will always be there to save you.

> You say "Wow that is deep stuff!"
Beatrice laughs.
"I know, right? I have a degree in comparative literature and still I write unreadable garbage. I'll see you on monday?"

I found this pretty astounding. Similarly, shorter but in Italian:

You lie back in the sun in the dappled shade of a tree.
"Quello che potremmo fare io e te
Senza dar retta a nessuno!
Quello che potremmo fare io e te
Mentre tutti dormono ancora!
You start to sing softly, making up the words as you go along.
"What are you singing?" Lulu asks.
"It means "What could Lulu and I do
Without listening to anyone else?
What could Lulu and I do
While everyone is still sleeping?""
Lulu smiles at you.

I typed the first two lines of Italian (it’s from an actual love song), and everything else is from the AI. Here, it:

  1. Composed two plausible lines of a love song in Italian,
  2. Translated all four lines into English,
  3. Flirtatiously substituted in the name of the NPC it was addressing.

I mean!

Now the impact here would be lessened if we could find somewhere the words from the paean to Ariadne, or the last line of that love poem, somewhere on the web. One of the things that AI Dungeon is especially trained to emulate is apparently a big database of Choose Your Own Adventure narratives, and if those things are in there, it would make the AI’s accomplishment somewhat less impressive. But how likely is it that it contains these particular things?

Given how often a vampire and/or vampire hunter name Count Grey appears in my explorations, I’m betting that the training narratives did have quite a bit of stuff about him in them! Also Warhammer 40k fanfic, as we see in this snippet:

> You say "Too much war in this timeline, Sister."
"Alison, I... I just can't do it anymore. All this war, all this hatred. So much loss. It's like the 40k universe is hell-bent on driving me insane."

More rofls. (My guess is that I tend to activate the Warhammer 40k stuff because my characters discuss the nature of the universe a lot, and I tend to use angels with flaming swords when a deus ex machina is called for.)

Let’s see, what else to note in this first post? M asked if it knows more historical stuff, so we tested it on “kirtle” and it did a very good job:

> You say "I was admiring the needlework on your kirtle, it is very fine!"
She laughs. "Why, thank you!" she says. "My mother is Basque, so she made my kirtle and bonnet."
"I love the standing plumes of peacock feathers!"

And to close, a couple more snippets that appealed to my humor:

> You say "Glad you could make it, Mattikins"
"Okay, I've had just about enough of this."
"Enough of what?" you say.
"You addressing me as an adorable nick-name!" Matti says.
> You say "How may he be destroyed?"
"Silver can harm him, but only if he's weak," Victoria says.
"Let us do him that favor."
You lead the brethren through the woods. Eventually, you find a large, abandoned castle.

> You say "Do you think they have a vegan menu?"
"Be quiet," says Victoria, rolling her eyes.

Later, assuming I actually do it, more stuff!

Oh, and some random GPT3ish links of possible interest:

  • AI Dungeon again (I’ve found the Android app to produce better results than the web version, which is probably a completely false impression as they surely have the same back-end),
  • which will compose essays on pretty much any subject, of varying quality,
  • one of a number of GPT-powered Twitter accounts,
  • where an interesting person has posted quite a bit of meaty-looking stuff (unfortunately both-sides-justified on my phone, I’m going to have to try hacking the styles, or use a real computer) both general and specific,
  • which is the successor to the GPT-2 based “Talk to Transformer” that was so popular that the owner had to take it down because they couldn’t afford to pay its fees anymore. I don’t know if this has a GPT-3 version (yet).

And that’s it for now! Enjoy the multiverse.

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