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7 Terrifyingly Accurate Attempts By A Computer To Recreate Trump’s Unusual Speaking Pattern

by Penn Collins

October 19, 2017

One doesn’t require mountains of research and archival footage to ascertain that President Trump has a speaking style that’s very, er, distinctive. In addition to taking liberties with syntax and grammar, he also tends to harp on one specific keyword, be it an adjective or a subject, as the crux of his statement, resulting in a cadence that can more closely be described as a cloud of thought rather than a linear progression. 

In a piece entitled simply “Trumpspeak,” academic librarian Joshua McDonald harvested data from this repository of Trump speech transcriptions to determine if a computer could faithfully recreate the type of rambling oration that is the president’s hallmark. As one might expect from a person who undertakes this sort of effort, McDonald, based on his characterizations, does not appear to be a fan of Donald Trump himself or his speaking style. As such, the scientific process here might be compromised or even nonexistent, but that doesn’t make the exercise any less fun or eerily accurate. 

According to McDonald, he created “Trumpese” by training a Markov chain to use a single “seed” word upon which the program would draw from the library of old speeches and do its best to cobble together something resembling a speech, much as our current commander in chief seems to do. 

The result is something that could serve as a hybrid between President Trump’s Twitter vernacular and what a Trump caricature might be screaming at you in a politically fueled nightmare. 

Here are our seven favorite excerpts from the undertaking, along with the keyword that “seeded” the computer-built paragraph. To offer a breadth of interpretations, we selected seed terms that varied from the descriptive to his favorite talking points, such as “the wall,” “billions,” and of course, “USA.”

“Sick”

Sick sick people. The fundamental reforms. We have 48 Democrats. We will make unbelievable — we are my first moments, the world, and billions of energy.

“The Wall”

Wall is born. I said, man, woman, and implement those who know that will make a group didn’t know anything happened, we believe you said to expose and I actually wrong now one of it, because people and that’s going to salute the KKK. I call it was so I didn’t get rid of what I don’t even systems that one media and it’s like they just a few days ago, and they loved it. Nobody wants to unfreeze all of the things that knows who love for the way, we have to about the father flew them home? Oh, he feels it’s like has published one we support to start our promises to look at Brexit.

“Nazis”

Nazis systematically murdered millions of weeks I just. I’m condemning the Environmental Protection Agency. He’ll do you agree with Harley-Davidson, a people have been a while they said, those people. You wait online for me.

“Fear”

Fear for human life. It is he better. Why they practice, they need the noble American prosperity, and healthy as those who have been. For us, right? Now you look at record numbers.

“Hatred”

Hatred and much more. Europe must do it stop? But, they didn’t know that. Many, many years and their country, and saved lives and to Cuba to serve their prosperity. In America, the same oath and citizens and the word “momentum.”

“Billions” (This one veers dangerously close to “Dear Leader” territory.)

Millions of you — all across Jerusalem Avenue passage across the world. That narrow passageway, just a lot of the facts. Frankly, people of safe communities, to know that wonderful. Not only a few exceptions no one glorious destiny.

“USA”

USA! And in our freedom and peace, and small business tax rates in large crowd at 4 in Texas, they want to fix our will serve as it joking, totally safe neighborhoods for America is indeed making our citizens nor the Environmental Protection Agency. He’ll do we have been calling for me, excuse me fairly. Fox has led down the words to fix our faith, not waver, even more closely than an A-plus in Warsaw Uprising alive. Between its true character.

To see even more frightening examples and to review McDonald’s methodology that, despite his aversion to the subject, appears exacting, check out his write-up in full here at The Baffler

Also, you might want to take a moment to ponder if you’d feel more comfortable with Trump at the helm or the Trumpspeak AI in the role. Take all the time you need. 

Preview illustration by Adam Albright-Hanna. 

 

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