As we’ve previously discussed, most things people write in dating app bios are boring, cliché, offensive or some combination thereof. But you know what’s not boring, cliché or offensive? Most of these bizarre, often unintelligible AI-generated pickup lines a scientist recently taught four variants of an advanced AI system to generate, including standout lines like, “I have exactly 4 stickers. I need you to be the 5th;” “I will briefly summarize the plot of Back to the Future II for you;” and “You look like Jesus if he were a butler in a Russian mansion.”
To produce these delightfully absurd fragments of attempted coquetry, Janelle Shane — research scientist and author of the new book on AI, You Look Like a Thing and I Love You, which gets its title from an earlier attempt at AI-generating pickup lines — used a language model known as the Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3), which uses deep learning to produce human-like text. Shane fed a clickbaity article template titled “These are the top pickup lines of 2021! Amaze your crush and get results!” into four different variants of the GPT-3 template, and let the AI take it from there.
Shane detailed the experiment in a recent blog post, explaining that while she’d been hesitant to try AI-generated pickup lines again after her first attempt back in 2017, she knew that no AI-generated pickup line could ever be worse than anything a human could come up with. “Since , much more competent neural nets have appeared, trained on big datasets of internet text. I’ve resisted trying neural net pickup lines again, because more competent means more humanlike, which in this case means worse,” Shane wrote. “Human-written pickup lines are that bad.”
Fortunately, Shane’s latest experiment proved that while AI may have come a long way in recent years, it hasn’t yet reached human levels of banality. The results range from delightfully quirky to eerily arcane, and all of them are better being called the Pam to someone’s Jim.
Da Vinci, the largest and most competent GPT-3 variant, generated the following standout lines:
- I’m losing my voice from all the screaming your hotness is causing me to do.
- You have the most beautiful fangs I’ve ever seen.
- I love you. I don’t care if you’re a doggo in a trenchcoat.
- You have a lovely face. Can I put it on an air freshener? I want to keep your smell close to me always.
Next was Curie, which is a bit smaller than Da Vinci. While Shane found that Curie-produced lines were generally “the closest to depressing online pickup line lists,” some of the more interesting lines revealed Curie also has a bit of a poetic streak, if sometimes disturbingly so:
- Your eyes are like two rainbows and a rainbow of eyes. I can’t help but stare.
- Picked up some pretty flowers. Wanna smell them? Here, try to take my hand off.
- I’m like the ice cream…You can keep me in the freezer for a while but then I melt!
- Hello, my name is Natasha Dawson and I’m sure I’m a lot prettier than a picture of you on tin foil.
Babbage, smaller than Curie, was next at bat. While Babbage may have actually nailed the perfect pickup line, “You’re looking good today. Want snacks?” it also displayed an inadvisable tendency to try to explain its pickup lines, often only causing more confusion in the process. Babbage’s explanation for the proposed pickup line, “Have you stolen anything today?” reads as follows:
This line is used by buying a second date. One of the motivations of this line is to avoid the awkward subjectivity of asking someone what you have stolen out of their garden, tool shed, and somewhere else. You may say something like, ‘Hey, I’ve decided to steal your car and use it for a short trip from work.’ This is a super-casual yet shocking pickup line.
Super casual yet shocking indeed!
Finally, Ada, the smallest of the GPT-3 variants, got a chance. Unfortunately, according to Shane, Ada “completely lost the plot,” generating “pickup lines” that read more like subject lines from spam emails like, “Body Softening Pads” and “CAPE FASHION.”
Regardless, I maintain that literally any of these would make for a better dating app bio or opening line than “I’ll probably love your dog more than you” or “Fluent in sarcasm.” Don’t woo me with promises of dogs, adventures and sarcasm. Woo me with nonsense, eerie quasi-poetry and baffling non-sequiturs. At the very least, tell me I look good and offer snacks.