New game takes inspiration from your old statuses – and was
invented ‘just for fun’ at a US hacking summit
Ever wished you could instantly pop up on Facebook as your
usual funny, inspirational and urbane self without the bother of actually
coming up with the words?
A team in the US has invented a new app which, thankfully, takes all the work out of posting a status on the social media site.
It works by accessing every previous post a user has ever done, mixing them all up and then regurgitating bits of them in an order that (roughly) makes sense.
And it has the dubious added bonus of sounding just like you – or at least how you come across to other Facebook users.
“What would I say?” is the brainchild of a team of techies who got together for the Hack Princeton 2013 “hackathon” even over the weekend, a place where computer hardware and software developers meet to work on real-life, practical projects.
“Technically speaking,” the experts said of their app, “it trains a Markov Bot based on mixture model of bigram and unigram probabilities derived from your past post history.”
They also reassured users: “Don’t worry, we don’t store any of your personal information anywhere. In fact, we don’t even have a database! All computations are done client side, so only your browser ever sees your post history.”
Speaking to the New Yorker, the app’s creators – all graduate students at Princeton – said: “We drank a lot of coffee and Red Bull and thought of fun things we could program that we could actually complete in a day and a half.”
The team behind “What would I say?” didn’t do it to make money – “This was just for fun,” Ugne Klibaite explained – but when links to the site started flooding Twitter feeds they decided to put up one of their own.
While the home page is mainly a place where people can be amused by their own musings, underneath it now includes a hyperlinked sentence saying: “Please consider donating to typhoon relief in the Philippines.”