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This AI-generated dictionary is very cool and also terrifying.

Jessie Gaynor

May 14, 2020, 11:18am

Disclaimer: I find most things related to machine learning terrifying if I think about them for longer then a few seconds, both because at this point in my life, my STEM knowledge ends with PEMDAS, and because I have enough jealousy toward humans—I don’t need to start worrying about robots coming in here and stealing my thing. (Words? I guess?)

Still, I can’t deny that This Word Does Not Exist, an AI-generated dictionary that invents, defines, and contextualizes words, is really cool, even as it deeply unsettles me!

Thomas Dimson, the engineer who created This Word Does Not Exist, also authored Instagram’s algorithm, lest you have any doubt about his ability to drag you down rabbit holes. At least this one is related to language, rather than your middle school best friend’s first husband’s new wife’s Zoom baby shower!

The non-existent words that I’ve encountered on the site are pleasant combination of plausible and bonkers:

insignif (n): a magazine of the Austrian tabloids, with a list of subscribers and advertising records
// “something I’ve always wanted in my insignif”

polypunctuate (adj): relating to and characteristic of a period of several years in which long unmarried men are responsible for the reproduction and aging of young men
// “a polypunctate woman”

snotpiece (n): an instrument with a rounded rounded point next to the point that passes across the throat from chin to neck
// “she tried in vain to avoid a rattling snotpiece”

Yeah, I think I’m gonna be here for a while.

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