So there’s this website, Talk to Transformer, which lets you briefly interface with an AI called GPT-2. You can enter anything you’d like into a text field, and GPT-2 will analyze what you’ve written and pick up where you’ve left off, doing its best to match tone and subject. You could give it the first few lines of a Whitesnake song, for instance, and it wouldn’t finish the lyrics accurately or with any sort of coherent rhyme structure, but it would do a good job of matching the phrase length and basic theme of the original lines.
You could also feed it, say, the first two lines of a news article about Elon Musk, and more likely than not it’ll produce a couple paragraphs of completely fabricated — but correctly structured — news copy about Grimes’ galaxy-brained boyfriend. It’s for this reason that Open AI, the creators of GPT-2, said the full version of the software is too dangerous to release to the general public. In the wrong hands, it could become an engine for spreading fake news on a scale never before possible. It could enable a new generation of spam bots, capable of bypassing existing automatic protections.
Open AI has, however, released “small” and “medium” versions of GPT-2, which still produce fascinating (albeit slightly less convincing) results. Talk to Transformer runs the medium sized version of GPT-2, meaning that its algorithm is defined by a mere 345 million parameters. Engineer Adam King, who created the website, says he’ll have the full version of GTP-2 up and running if it’s ever released to the public.
I don’t think GTP-2 (or any AI, for that matter) will enslave humanity and turn our blood into paperclips, or do any of the other sensational things that gadget blogs love to make people fear-click about. What I do think, is that one of these machine learning apparatuses might someday become clairvoyant, as the algorithms running them become more and more granular in their decision making.
The only way to test for this is to check the machine’s predictions in hindsight. So! I’ve fed Talk to Transformer several prompts about upcoming games — some confirmed, some just highly likely — and GPT-2 has completed those prompts to the best of its ability. My prompts appear in bold in the images below; the normal text that follows is the result of GPT-2’s machinations. Are these glimpses into our future? Let’s find out:
I’m as surprised as you to learn that not only will Destiny 3 be the first game launched back in time, but that some mysterious Canadian wing of EA will be involved in releasing a brand-new game several years before the previous entry in the series came out. It’s also worth noting that our season pass/microtransaction future does not look any brighter, based on this prediction from GPT-2. A $120 box that just grants the opportunity to pay $15 later for more story content? I’m not surprised I guess, just disappointed. Also, the Taken King sounds broken. Nerf Taken King.
Like many Kickstarter projects, GPT-2 predicts that Shenmue 3 will be a short experience beleaguered by a confused set of priorities, which are executed to varying degrees of success. Surprisingly though, the game’s apparently successful attempt at implementing “an even more extensive and rich set of mechanics” will be its least popular feature. The internet is a fickle beast, Suzuki-san! And who could have predicted the heavy Persona influence? How does it factor into the extreme difficulty level, or the hugely linear story that also somehow features a ton of optional side content? Has Yu Suzuki designed a game that is beyond the current limits of human comprehension? GPT-2 seems to think so.
The Last of Us 2
GPT-2 returned a real mind-freak of a prediction for The Last of Us 2. You thought Naughty Dog was developing TLOU2? Nah dawg. Sony is set to reveal thatThe Last of Us 2 is a Dontnod Entertainment joint, according to the robot. The same folk who made Remember Me and Life is Strange — that Dontnod Entertainment. And hey, if you’re one of the lucky 40,000 people polled by Dontnod, you’ll get to tell them exactly what you think of the “gun that shoots blanks when enemies attack,” which sounds like some kind of horrible punishment from a Dungeon Master that hates you.
Gearbox has finally figured out a good way to make money, and no, it isn’t by negotiating a secret $12 million bonus behind your coworkers’ backs. The answer, according to GPT-2, is Borderlands 3, where “you’re stuck doing nothing for the majority of the game” but that’s fine, since there’s a lot of gear to level up. I do wish that GPT-2 hadn’t been so coy about Borderlands 3‘s story, but I respect that it respects the writers’ right to have their work be experienced firsthand. Excited for another multiplayer shooter with few activities and a massive world to grind!
Super Mario Bros. 4
I wanted to throw GPT-2 a curveball, by tasking it with creating information about a game that could never possibly exist. But, in doing so, GPT-2 seems to have tapped into an alternate timeline where the Wii-U and Nintendo 3DS continue prosper. After quickly revealing Super Mario Bros. 4 as a 3DS game, Doug Bowser quickly pivots to a reveal of Super Mario World and Super Mario Kart as “Nintendo TV” exclusives. And y’all? This timeline sounds off the chain. I want this timeline. I want to know what a Nintendo TV is. I want a Nintendo run under a “we’re going to do something crazy” ethos. Some might argue that’s how this timeline’s Nintendo is run, but do I own a Nintendo TV right now? No. I don’t.
And that’s not anybody’s fault, it’s just the way it is. Or, that’s just the way it will be, or could be, according to GPT-2, The Computer That I’ve Decided Might Be Psychic™.