Did Donald Trump tweet it, or did DeepDrumpf do it?

Donald Trump
Gage Skidmore/Flickr
A certain tincture of incoherence has become something of a calling card for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, and now, a new Twitter bot has successfully emulated the man who very well could be the next president of the United States. The bot, named DeepDrumpf, was developed by some very brilliant minds at MIT, and is contingent upon “just a few hours of transcripts of Trump’s victory speeches and debate performances.” And surprisingly enough, that’s enough to make the whole “guess who said it” game pretty difficult. After all, doesn’t “I’m what ISIS doesn’t need,” sound like something Mr. Trump would actually say?

The name of the bot is based upon a recent Last Week Tonight segment with comedian John Oliver, who pointed out that Donald Trump’s ancestral last name is, in fact, Drumpf. This spawned not only a trending hashtag, #makedonalddrumpfagain, but also this new project.

The algorithm itself was inspired by a study last year that found that Trump speaks at a fourth-grade level, and operates by creating Trump-inspired tweets just one letter at a time. So if the bot picks the letter “M” to start the 140-character message, it’ll follow up with another letter that would create a word within a rather limited vocabulary. As MIT explains, “If the bot randomly begins its Tweet with the letter ‘M,’ it is somewhat likely to be followed by an ‘A,’ and then a ‘K,’ and so on until the bot types out Trump’s campaign slogan, ‘Make America Great Again.’ It then starts over for the next sentence and repeats the process until it reaches the 140-character limit.”

The bot has churned out some pretty convincing tweets, each of which are almost alarmingly similar to the sentiments Trump himself has espoused over the campaign trail (and the course of his Twitter lifetime). Here’s my personal favorite:

Bradley Hayes, the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) postdoc behind the brilliance, explained that Trump’s “more simplistic” language made him an ideal candidate to study in terms of deep learning and neural networks.

Some of the most entertaining results come from DeepDrumpf’s direct interactions with tweets from the real Donald Trump. Hayes will feed his algorithm language from Trump’s actual tweet, which allows the response to be a bit more “contextually relevant.”

Hayes revealed that, “It didn’t take that much work,” to get a bot to sound a whole lot like Donald Trump. He quickly began getting “crude”results that were “sort of like English, and very similar to political rhetoric.” So if you’re looking for a way to follow Donald Trump without following Donald Trump, you may want to look into DeepDrumpf instead.

Mobile

Hey Google, why did you kill off Allo, your best messaging app in years?

Allo, Google's messaging app, has shut down. I convinced my closest friends and family to switch to the app two-and-a-half years ago when it debuted, and we've been using it since. With its death, I'm feeling pain and sadness.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Cars

Mustang-like and electrified. What did Ford just show a preview of?

Ford posted an enigmatic picture of a blue Mustang emblem on a black background right as Tesla prepared to introduce the Model Y. Is the Blue Oval teasing a hybrid Mustang, or is it previewing a Mustang-inspired, battery-powered crossover?
Movies & TV

Avengers: Endgame: Everything we know about the Infinity War sequel

The events of Avengers: Infinity War changed the Marvel Cinematic Universe in some big ways and left fans wondering how its heroes can possibly recover. Here's everything we know about Avengers: Endgame, the sequel to Infinity War.
Photography

Selfie snapper attacked by jaguar during foolhardy photo attempt

Selfies with animals don't always work out too well, as a woman at a zoo in Arizona found out recently. Passing a safety barrier to get closer to a jaguar, the animal responded angrily by digging its claws into her flesh.
Social Media

Twitter wants you to help shape the future design of its app

Twitter is launching an app for testing new design features and it wants you to get involved. Those accepted into the program will have the chance to try out different conversation designs aimed at improving the user experience.
Emerging Tech

Professional drone racing is flying onto Twitter this summer

Professional drone racing is coming to Twitter for the first time this summer. Organizers hope the streaming deal with the social media platform will help the growing sport to further broaden its audience.
Computing

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.
Social Media

Twitter takes a cue from Instagram and Snapchat with new quick-swipe camera

Twitter is giving the "what's happening" treatment to photos and video by allowing users to access the in-app camera fast enough to catch and share the moment. The new Twitter camera is now accessible with a swipe.
Social Media

Yep, it’s not just you. Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are down for many

Facebook's family of apps has been suffering issues for much of the day. Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook itself have been out of action for users around the world, with the company scrambling to sort it out.
Social Media

Facebook may soon let you watch live TV with friends in Watch Party

Facebook Watch Party is designed to allow friends to watch together, even when they can't be in the same physical space. Now, that feature could be expanding to include live TV. Facebook announced a test of the feature, starting with live…
Social Media

Federal investigation digs into Facebook’s data-sharing deals

Facebook confirmed it is cooperating with a federal criminal investigation. According to a report, the company is under investigation for sharing user data with smartphone and tablet companies.
Social Media

Facebook explains its worst outage as 3 million users head to Telegram

Facebook, if you didn't already know it, suffered a bit of an issue on Wednesday, March 13. An issue that took down not only its social networking site, but also Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. On Thursday it offered an explanation.
Gaming

Snapchat could soon let you play games in between your selfies

If a new report is accurate, Snapchat will be getting an integrated gaming platform in April. The platform will feature mobile games form third-party developers, and one publisher is already signed on.