For many, Halloween is a time to summon the holiday spirits by hanging cobwebs and skeletons, dressing up in spooky ensembles, and asking strangers for candy.
For research scientist Janelle Shane, it’s another opportunity to put artificial intelligence to good use.
“In my opinion, one of the best applications of neural networks is for generating Halloween costumes,” she wrote in a new blog post .
For the last two years, Shane has been crowdsourcing ideas to feed into increasingly capable AIs, coaching the machines to come up with winning costumes like Statue of Pizza and Ruth Bader Hat Guy .
“Now, as of 2019, there are much more powerful text-generating neural nets around,” she said.
Among them is GPT-2: Trained by OpenAI on a “huge” dataset, and capable of producing recognizable lists of mushrooms, snacks, crochet patterns, and more.
It’s also good as costumes, according to Shane.
“My previous Halloween costume generators would not have been smart enough to come up with things like ‘jackalope’ or ‘Carl Sagan,’” she said. “But GPT-2 has seen these words used online in similar contexts to things that are in the training data, and it makes the connection.”
Struggling for ideas a mere two weeks before All Hallows’ Eve?
Shane’s got you covered. Take your pick (via Janelle Shane) Why not dress up as an incognito llama, space cow, raised eyebrow, walking carpet, or gothy giraffe?
Oh, you’re looking for a sexy character?
How about a sexy egg? Or sexy locust? No, no, I think your best bet is a sexy DNA or sexy Flying Dutchman.
“The neural net was pretty good at designing identifiable characters, even if they are a bit on the weird side,” Shane explained.
Surely everyone will understand your sentient stone costume, fairy root vegetable get up, evil cupcake duds, or poker-player-in-possession-of-an-onion outfit.
(The Time Lord Power Ranger may be my favorite could-actually-be-a-costume costume of 2019.) From sexy to surreal (via Janelle Shane) “There are hints, though, that this is the work of an AI rather than … someone who understands what costumes are and how they work,” the blog said.
These, for example, take moderately ordinary concepts and make then “unnecessarily difficult”: vampire in hot tub, hidden Jesus statue, wizard encased in icicle, telephone that accepts up to four numbers, Third Eye Blind photographed by Dorothy.
Let your imagination run wild.