A research scientist recently received an unusual question in her email box: “Have you ever trained a neural network to generate guinea pig names?”
More specifically, the Portland Guinea Pig Rescue center asked if Janelle Shane could build a system that generates guinea pig names quickly. The facility frequently rescues animals from hoarding situations and they needed a swifter way to give each fluffball a name.
Neural networks are harnessed for a variety of uses, from self-driving cars to chatbots, so when Shane read the email, she naturally decided to take on the challenge of naming these adorable rodents.
The rescue center gave Shane a list of classic guinea pig names – which turns out to be monikers like “Snickers” and “Rascal” – and the list of every guinea pig the center had ever rescued. To top it off, they scoured the Internet for guinea pig names, which likely churned up some rather bizarre responses.
Using the dataset of examples, Shane set to work creating a neural network based on Andrej Karpathy’s char-rnn opened-sourced code. The AI uses the letter combinations of the over 600 names she was given and then trains itself to generate more names.
Here are some of the AI’s best names for the furry critters:
Popchop & Fuzzable
Fleury White & Stargoon
Buzzberry & After Pie
Bless & Bat
And of course: Princess Pow
All images courtesy of Portland Guinea Pig Rescue
Other names included Dab, Gooper, Fubby, and Rockass. The not so good names were Butty Brlomy, Bho8otteeddeeceul, Madly Mean, and Fleshy,
If you’d like to adopt any of these guinea pigs, you can check them out here.