An AI speech recognition bot designed to analyze speech and compile it into a database broke when it tried to analyze Trump's speech patterns, its creator told The Los Angeles Times.
Factba.se is a project that aims to track every word from Donald Trump available, from speeches and interviews to Facebook posts and his vast catalogue of tweets. Since the project began three years ago, the team have collected over 1,000 hours of video and transcribed over 10,594,000 words from 1976 until now. To do this, CEO of FactSquared Bill Frischling created Margaret, an AI bot for transcription.
Frischling tried his AI bot on a short section of a Trump speech commemorating the anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea. The speech – with all of Trump's syntax, mannerisms, sub-clauses within subclauses that make up his distinctive style – caused Margaret to crash almost instantly.
"It was still trying to punctuate it like it was English," Frischling explained to The Los Angeles Times, "versus trying to punctuate it like it was Trump."
To solve the problem, he had to make it un-learn English grammar and usual syntax, and instead learn Trump's patterns of speech. Though the tool is primarily used to compile, without analysis or spin, a database of everything Trump has said, the tool can be used to learn more about Trump's behavior. The tool monitors not just his speech but his mannerisms and compares what he's saying against independent fact checks in order to determine whether he's telling the truth or not.
For instance, Frishling told The Los Angeles Times that Trump doesn't appear stressed when he's lying. He also slows down his speech from 220 words per minute (the national average is around 110 to 150 words per minute) to 111 words when he reads from a teleprompter. According to Frishling, the bot can spot when Trump is genuinely angry verse pretending to be by how tersely he speaks and how he gesticulates with his arms (less waving of the arms indicates he's mad).
This isn't the first bot to analyze Trump's unique style of talking and writing, though it appears to be the one that's taken in the most of his words. One AI bot back in 2016 even attempted to tweet out tweets in his style, under the Twitter handle DeepDrumpf. The creator of that bot said that he was inspired by a bot that had been trained to create quotes in the style of Shakespeare and thought that it would be easier to apply to Trump due to a report that claimed Trump speaks at an elementary school level, Quartz reports.
The results were tweets that, though they mimic his patterns to a certain extent, were non-sensical and probably could have benefited from accessing the entire Factba.se database.
[H/T: The Los Angeles Times]