In what is apparently becoming an annual tradition, artificial intelligence is having a bash at writing Christmas carols. With lyrics like “Christmas br he, or the wang,” this neural network isn’t likely to come up with something to replace “Jingle Bells” anytime soon, but it did somehow dream up a whole new bit of Christmas folklore to rival Santa and Krampus.

As A.I researcher Janelle Shane explains on her site A.I. Weirdness, she rather cruelly forced a neural network to devise Christmas carols with literally no help — not only did it have no instructions, but it didn’t even start out knowing English.

It just had a dataset of 240 carols to learn from, and it set about smashing together letters and comparing them to the existing carols to see what looked right and what didn’t, then repeating the process. That lyric about Christmas or wang was part of one of the earlier attempts from this iterative process.

Here’s the full carol it came up with: Hart fon the be the he br wong on the stor Christmas br he, or the wang Christ, Christ, on bn a me the stord Hont on thr st bong the wor I he a s de poog the stow tome on be ser snur As you can see, a lot of those words aren’t words at all, though you can see the beginnings of the English language start to emerge from the lexical chaos. At this point, you might be tempted to think the “wang” in that carol is just one of the nonsense words, but maybe not. Read more from…

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