What do you get when an AI tries to name cookies?

Answer: Quitterbread Bars and Merry Hunga Poppers.

by / December 11, 2018

If you’re looking for some new cookies to try out this holiday season, Researcher Janelle Shane has some that you’ve definitely never heard of before. Shane used recipes for 1,228 different cookie types to train a neural network to name them. As one might have guessed, the results, while certainly entertaining, didn’t make much sense.

Among the new cookie names, shared by Shane of Dec. 7, were Canical Bear-Widded Nutts, Apricot Dream Moles, and Hersel Pump Spritters. According to Shane, they were created by a network called textgenrnn that tries to imitate the text it is given. This means that the AI is picking letter combinations that it thinks would likely make sense based on all the recipes it has seen, but it doesn’t know what any of the words in those recipes actually mean.