Luke and Han argue on the Death Star in Star Wars Episode IV
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Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Start a story about Star Wars (or anything else), and this AI bot will finish it

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May 13, 2019, 5:32 PM EDT

In reality, the AI brain behind this OpenAI-based chatbot knows less than we do (we think…we hope) about whether Luke will return as a Force Ghost in The Rise of Skywalker, or whether Thor has an easier time summoning lightning when it’s cloudy outside. But man, does this bot have something to say about all of it.

Type in a one-sentence prompt at the free-to-use Talk to Transformer web page that’s been made publicly available by machine learning engineer Adam King, and what you get back may or may not make sense — though it often makes sense enough, depending on how silly the prompt is. But whatever way you want to start your sci-fi story (or any other kind), the chatbot will definitely do its part to keep things rolling.

Here’s what Talk to Transformer came up with when prompted with a speculative tidbit about Luke Skywalker:

Luke will return as a Force Ghost in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

In an Instagram photo posted early at 11:42 a.m. ET on Friday, Luke Skywalker confirmed the news of his upcoming return. "As a longtime reader of the Star Wars Insider blog, I have been very excited to be able to share with you my newest role in Star Wars—as a Force ghost!," he wrote.

Luke Skywalker has his own Instagram account? Who knew?

The silliness only escalates from there, and if you’re not feeling up to making your own prompts, here are a few genre bits we came up with for you to copy and paste — just to get the juices flowing. The results, we can promise, are totally worth it:

  • The day of battle had finally arrived, and without a cloud in the sky, the god of thunder was nervous.
  • Someone forgot to tell these puppets that puppets aren't supposed to kill.
  • The knights hoisted their shields in jubilant victory, with the remnants of the troll army strewn lifeless on the heath. 
  • The star grew brighter and hotter as its gravity drew our crippled ship perilously close.
  • The dark army had not expected snakes.

By all means, though, these are just suggestions. Come up with your own prompts and have at it. The results may not always make sense, but even when they don’t, their failure in the attempt can be hilarious.

Drawing on a more souped-up version of the OpenAI GPT-2 language model that researchers debuted back in February, complete with a finished (if somewhat nonsensical) script for a Lord of the Rings scenario, this pared-back public-facing version, writes King, is intended as “an easier way to play with OpenAI's new machine learning model.” 

Running on a “medium-sized model” of the larger AI — one that employs a still-hefty 345 million parameters to help flesh out whatever it is you’re trying to say — it’s capable (just like its big brother) of drawing on an internet-derived database of cultural references to help it plot out the rest of your story, one word at a time.

“For now OpenAI has decided only to release small and medium-sized versions of it which aren't as coherent but still produce interesting results,” King writes, and judging by what it’s done with the goofy prompts we keep plugging in, it’s impossible to disagree. 

King says he plans to make the more powerful version of the AI available right on the Talk to Transformer page, if and when it becomes available. In the meantime, we’re having plenty of fun trying to get this version to toss ideas back at us that we’d never dream up on our own.