Who’s got two thumbs and is back doing computer generated garbage again? THIS GUY. Only this time, it’s not mine. Janelle Shane has been a huge inspiration to me as someone with a vested interest in AI and the content it can create. It was her original experiment with recurrently generating paint swatches that first piqued my interest and eventually led to the creation of the Recurrently Generated Premier League. (Janelle has since updated the paint swatch experiment with newer AI technology and you should check that out too. The results weren’t much better.)
Janelle’s most recent article on her website is a timely one, referencing valentines — specifically, those paper ones we all used to get in grade school with the cartoon images and cute saying on them. Could a computer — specifically, GPT-3, the most advanced publicly available AI engine — generate some?
Turns out — yes! Just... not very well. The cards below feature not only phases generated by a computer asked to create Valentine’s Day cards, but also the images were described by the computer. Janelle, however, drew them herself.
Janelle is amazing and you should absolutely visit her website, aiweirdness.com, and also buy her book (which is very good). I’m taking my favorite of her computer generated Valentine’s Day cards and using them to rate Tottenham Hotspur players. As one does.
This card, to me, is the perfect example of an AI-generated Valentine’s Day card. It’s not exactly goofy or silly or just weird (those will come later!) — the AI appears to be giving this a real go. It knows it isn’t a human, so it passes off its clunky exhortation of the holiday on its friends, so anyone who feels weird can just blame them instead of it. Why a chicken? IDK, but more chickens should be on Valentine’s Day cards, so I’m okay with it. This is a masterpiece.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were this good.
I have nothing to add here. This is perfect.
The only thing I can figure out here is that the AI is designing a Valentine’s Day card as though the giver is actually a cow. Which is weird, but honestly, why not? Why CAN’T cows give Valentine’s Day cards? And if you accept that premise, then this is a pretty good example of what I’d imagine a cow might give to another cow. Or to anyone, really. Bonus points for somehow holding onto a cupcake with its hoof.
Hugo Lloris (Community — 3.5): Sure, he let in three goals but if anyone came out of this match looking good, it was probably Hugo. He made some huge stops that kept this match from being a blowout. Shame that the defense forced him into having to make those stops, but that’s also why you want a player as good as he is between the sticks.
Rodrigo Bentancur (Community — 3.5): This guy. Pretty, pretty good! Came in as a substitute for Hojbjerg and immediately helped to stabilize the midfield. Also showed a very good passing range — I was told he couldn’t pass! He should start every match from now on.
Friends, I could NOT decide from a myriad of AI-generated card options that all featured... let’s call them “non-traditional” Valentine’s Day animals. So I picked four of my favorites and we’re calling it a tie. These are all great, because it really makes it seem like the AI is trying to say nice things, even if they come out super weird. But the sentiment is there, kinda! Truthfully, I think every one of YOU are the snail’s poise, and I mean that.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 3.5): Looked about as lively as anyone on Spurs’ team. Scored a goal and was heavily involved in another one. Pretty decent outing, all things considered (but yes, I’m grading on a curve).
I honestly can’t decide whether a swordfish that doesn’t fear clowns, an eel that truly knows itself, or a jellyfish musing on the capriciousness of fate best illustrates the ideals of the holiday. Hallmark: take note.
Sergio Reguilon (Community — 2.5): Honestly? Not too bad. Missed a point blank shot that on replay was more of a great save than a poor decision, and turned out to be a halfway decent outlet on the left when not much was going right for Tottenham.
Cuti Romero (Community — 3.0): Cuti impressed me early with some really impressive passing and defensive plays, but trailed off badly in the end as he got sucked into whatever terrible vortex that rooted itself in Spurs’ back line. Got caught ball-watching on a couple of occasions when Spurs were falling apart.
Harry Kane (Community — 3.0): A couple of good efforts and a couple of good passes as he dropped deep to play in others, but he wasn’t getting good service from this midfield and wasn’t as effective.
Lucas Moura (Community — 3.0): Yes, he was involved in the buildup for both goals (and had a lovely assist for the second) but I found him pretty frustrating otherwise, and was very much part of the Right Side of Suck™, frequently out of position and not meshing with his teammates. I honestly feel like I’m overrating him here.
Yeah. Plants SUCK. Happy Valentine’s Day honey, you absolute loaf!
Ben Davies (Community — 2.0): Not his finest hour. Slipped on Southampton’s first goal, got spun a number of times by Broja. Still wasn’t Spurs’ worst defender.
Dejan Kulusevski (Community — 2.5): Not exactly an impressive outing, and was (possibly) partially culpable for Southampton’s second goal. He also gets a pass as he’s been here literally a week and doesn’t know The Patterns™.
Antonio Conte (Community — 2.5): I’m starting to think that the way to beat a Conte side is to press them into oblivion and mess up The Patterns™, and this Spurs team doesn’t have the confidence or talent to salvage plays when they break. That said, it was clear from the first half what was wrong and Conte took far, far too long to address it, even though they scored a good goal.
When you absolutely must tell your Valentine’s Day crush that you hate them and want them to go away, complete with an image of a dragon.
Emerson Royal (Community — 1.5): Yeah, look — he wasn’t great. In fact, he was awful. A lot of the rhetoric also seems to conveniently forget that he was one of the best players on the pitch just three days prior vs. Brighton. There’s a good player in there, and I think his mistakes were exacerbated by the players around him. But lordy, that was a nightmare to watch.
Harry Winks (Community — 2.0): THERE’S the Harry Winks I remember. I was starting to think (hope) I might not see that guy again. This was a Mourinho-era performance from Winks. I guess whatever magic potion Conte gave him wore off during warmups.
Davinson Sanchez (Community — 2.0): It was pretty clear early on that we were getting Bad Sanchez on Wednesday. Gave the ball away a ton, got caught ball-watching on a number of occasions, passed poorly. There’s plenty of blame to go around on this one, but he definitely deserves his share.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Community — 2.0): Had similar traffic cone tendencies as Winks and also had the added “benefit” of terrible passing, too. That said, I still think he should’ve stayed on the pitch over Winks.
AI-generated Valentine’s Day nihilism: actually, it’s good!
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as this AI-generated Valentine’s Day card (but Lord was I tempted).
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating
Steven Bergwijn (even though he nearly saved the match)