Much like the rest of the world, I’m addicted to social media. I’ve had a Facebook as soon as I obtained my high school email address, way back when it was actually required to be enrolled in high school and/or college to open an account (and how it should have STAYED, since no one needs their 12-year old sister posting memes on their wall). Throughout the years, I’ve posted thousands of pictures and god-knows-how-many statuses. Up until Timeline was introduced, I completely disregarded the good ol’ “I’m so booooooored, text the celly” updates that everyone has broadcasted to their friends at least once back in the day, since the chances of them being uncovered would require the work of a stage twenty clinger with an index finger trained in long-distance scrolling.
And then I discovered What Would I Say. As an (almost) last semester 20-something at a Boston communications school, at least one of my peers is always ahead of the Internet curve and is guaranteed posting about it on some sort of social network. This unique generator creeped up on my newsfeed early yesterday, showing these simple textboxes of nonsensical messages containing places, friends, and weird references to pop culture. After scrolling past numerous screencaps throughout the day, I finally found a link to the curious site. Before I knew it, I was falling off my couch as a result of the mix of hilarity, confusion, and ridiculous accuracy that ensued. An hour and a half of my life was dead and gone.
For those of us who haven’t been informed of this internet anomaly, What I Would Say is an automatic generator developed by a handful of Princeton students originally for the annual HackPrinceton event. According to their website, the website trains “a Markov bot based on the mixture model of bigram and unigram probabilities derived from your past post history.” In other words, a super complicated machine takes bits and pieces of all the statuses you’ve ever posted and combines them into one post. Many of the statuses come out as gibberish incomplete thoughts, but every couple clicks? Oh, the gems. Hear are a few of that had me wiping tears from my eyes.
Some were philosophical:
Some were really honest:
Some were perfectly vague:
One was a semi-nonsensical rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s Rhiannon:
One was definitely verbatim of what I was already planning to say:
And one just left me on the floor:
Nonetheless, What Would I Say is only a mere example of how much smart technology has become and how much our social media updates tell the world about ourselves. While the site doesn’t save any generated information, it’s a great way to look back on ourselves and laugh at how we’re viewed by machines. Besides–it’s basically the future and who knows how soon it will be when this will matter.