We now have the processing power, and mountains of language data, to automate all kinds of useful language tasks, from translation to reading messy handwriting. These automatic text generators may not be, strictly speaking, useful, but usefulness was never what we really loved about language anyway.
Information about rhymes and stress patterns are used by Mark Sample (@samplereality) to make the mesmerizing @FavThingsBot, which constantly finds new verses and choruses for the classic Sound of Music song “My Favorite Things.” These go way beyond raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.
2. Google Poetics (@GooglePoetics)
This collection of found poems that emerge from the autocompletion of search terms on Google offers a funny, and sometimes sad view of humanity and the things we seek. Curated by Sampsa Nuotio (@SampsaNuotio).
3. Pentametron (@pentametron)
This bot, created by Ranjit Bhatnagar (@ranjit), mines tweets for stress patterns and rhymes in order to make couplets in iambic pentameter. The results, drawn from the bottomless bucket of Twitter activity, are consistently amazing. Read them in pairs.
4. Anagramatron (@anagramatron)
This clever bot by Colin Rothfels (@cmyr) finds pairs of tweets that are anagrams of each other (they contain the same letters arranged in different orders). Guys, you have no idea how many sentences are anagrams of each other.
Another bot by Rothfels builds haikus out of three unrelated tweets.
6. Pangramtweets (@pangramtweets)
A pangram is a sentence, such as, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog,” that contains all the letters of the alphabet. Jesse Sheidlower’s (@jessesheidlower) bot finds natural pangrams in the Twitter wild.
7. Times Haiku (http://haiku.nytimes.com/)
The New York Times has its own haiku generator, built by Jacob Harris (@harrisj), that finds haikus in the connected text of its articles. Topical and sublime.
8. RealHumanPraise (@RealHumanPraise)
In response to a report that Fox News had staffers set up fake accounts to praise the network in online comment sections, Rob Dubbin (@robdubbin), a writer at The Colbert Report, created this bot that automatically creates reviews of Fox programming by substituting names of Fox anchors and shows into movie reviews from RottenTomatoes.com. It’s generated over 180,000 tweets since last November, and still hasn’t stopped being funny.
9. I am the x of y (@x_of_y)
Alexander Furnas (@zfurnas) created this bot that randomly pairs famous names with present participles to create the perfect absurd boasts for your resume.
10. snowclone a minute (@snowcloneminute)
A snowclone is a type of hackneyed phrase in which some of the pieces can be swapped out, but the template remains the same. It was named “snowclone” in honor of one of the most well known such phrases, “If Eskimos have N words for snow, surely X have Y words for Z.” This bot created by Bradley Momberger (@air_hadoken) tweets out an original snowclone phrase every two minutes by randomly combining the templates at snowclones.org with the word database at wordnik.com. They really highlight the staleness of these template phrases. Here are a few recent gems.
11. Metaphor a minute (@metaphorminute)
Darius Kazemi’s (@tinysubversions) metaphor generator substitutes random words into a template to produce metaphors that hover just on the edge of somehow maybe making sense.
12. AmIRite? (@amiritebot)
Kazemi also created this bot that purposefully makes terrible “amirite” rhyme jokes about trending topics on Twitter.
Lauren Hallden’s (@phillylauren) generator creates filler text out of online dating profiles “because most profiles are word soup anyway.” You can generate in “typical inane jabber” mode or “with a side of crazy sauce.” This guy I conjured up in typical inane jabber mode is pretty realistic:
Working at a coffee shop only looking for something casual coffee going to the gym. Ask me anything foodie shoot me a message passionate about joking around, working on my body and my mind training for the marathon foodie chilling at a bar with friends bacon. Quizzo Kurosawa Vampire Weekend strong and confident if you like my profile my friends tell me they don't get why I'm single.
Sadly, the same holds for side of crazy mode too:
Someone to provide for you proper grammar I love the smell of I despise. Ask your mother with morals MFA shotgunning beers I'm a nice guy, my beard performance art other shenanigans skydiving for real though. Snapchat I'm too lazy to keep typing I'm a nice guy if you like crossfit nubile.
14. The Idiomatic
This automatic proverb generator mashes up timeworn bits of wisdom and gives them new, intriguing life.
“The best things in life spoil the broth.” “A rolling stone is your oyster.” “When the cat’s away the mice come in small packages.”
And remember (as grandma always said):
“The road to hell is where the heart is.”