AI Might Enslave Humankind One Day, but It Can't Yet Create Good Objectives for a Mean Goose

AI Might Enslave Humankind One Day, but It Can't Yet Create Good Objectives for a Mean Goose

Untitled Goose Game would be weirder, but probably not as fun, with these objectives from a neural network.

Part of Untitled Goose Game's massive appeal (it's still #1 on the Switch eShop) has to be its simple, mischievous objectives. Developers House House never ask players to do something beyond the abilities of a determined, occasionally cruel goose, but everything item you cross off your list is sure to create a headache for one of the village residents once they've realized they've been duped by the goose. This nuance in design and language is easy for humans to pick up on, but a recent exploration by writer and scientist Janelle Shane shows that artificial intelligence needs some nudging to match humanity's goose game.

For an entry at her blog "AI Weirdness," Shane dumped the first eight objectives from Untitled Goose Game into a neural network that's tasked with completing snippets of text. The network, a limited version OpenAI's GPT-2, was trained on gigabytes of text from the internet earlier this year. Training took place before the release of Untitled Goose Game, meaning the chances of the network having seen much in the way of goose to-do lists are slim.

The objectives that GPT-2 spit out range from utterly nonsensical to incredibly amusing, but in between those two poles is a whole lot of boring. While "Paint the Chicken with the Golden Hourglass" could probably be at home in a bizarre Scribblenauts spin-off and "Have a Dance Party" would be a great for a co-op version of Untitled Goose Game, the inclusion of "Leave the Groundskeeper Alone" and "Keep the Groundskeeper Happy" reveal just how ill-equipped the network is to grasp what it means to be a very bad goose.

Shane tells USgamer that she first saw Untitled Goose Game at 2018's XOXO festival in Portland, Oregon, where local publishers Panic Inc. brought an early demo build. "Even then," says Shane, "they had the animation perfect on that goose. The way its head and body moved when it walked and cornered[...] I could just watch that goose walk around all day."

The nonsense goose objectives are right at home on Shane's blog, where she regularly writes spotlights attempts at humor from AI that don't quite hit the mark. A neural network-generated list of April Fool's pranks (like "Serve up a glass of juice in the fridge!") that Shane posted last year is great if you get a kick out of the Untitled Goose Game post. Shane is releasing an AI Weirdness book ("You Look Like a Thing and I Love You") this November.

For the record, Shane's favorite AI-generated goose objective might be the most enigmatic of them all: "Cookie-coated fun."

It's wonderful fun seeing people putting their own spin on Untitled Goose Game, from donning a goose costume controller to challenging themselves to dump everything they can grab from the village into a single hole. It looks like humans are perfectly capable of coming up with their own honk-tastic chaos—AI assistance not required.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Mathew Olson

Reporter

Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

Read this next

Starting Screen | Tyrants, Dollhouses, and Rude Geese: Looking Back on 2019's Great Gaming Moments

There were some great moments in video games this year. Let's look back on some of our favorites.

Untitled Goose Game Developer: "I Could Never Have Seen These Last Few Weeks Coming"

House House's Nico Disseldorp talks about Untitled Goose Game's organic, unorthodox success (and the best goose memes) with Vox.

Streamer Becomes One With the Goose With Makeshift Untitled Goose Game Controller

Streamer Rudeism’s goose suit controller is honking beautiful.

Untitled Goose Game Uses About 400 Different Tracks to Adapt to Your Goose Antics

Thanks to public domain, we could also get a soundtrack of these particular Debussy interpretations.

Apple Arcade Brings Game Pricing Concerns Back to the Forefront

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | Will successful subscription services turn into their own walled gardens?

More News

If You're Bad at Tetris 99, You Can Now Squad Up For Help

The puzzle-battle royale hybrid just got friendlier.

Resident Evil's Newest Survivor is a Living Homage to "Jill Sandwich"

Martin should probably stay away from small rooms with descending ceilings.

The CEO of Japanese Indie Publisher Dangen Entertainment Resigns As Allegations of Harassment Mount

Ben Judd is stepping back from the publisher he helped found, as well as his "other industry endeavors."

More on PC

Once the King of PC Gaming, MechWarrior is Now the Big Stompy Ghost of a Bygone Era

A legacy series returns, and there’s little else like it in gaming today.

Resident Evil's Newest Survivor is a Living Homage to "Jill Sandwich"

Martin should probably stay away from small rooms with descending ceilings.

The CEO of Japanese Indie Publisher Dangen Entertainment Resigns As Allegations of Harassment Mount

Ben Judd is stepping back from the publisher he helped found, as well as his "other industry endeavors."

The Game Awards is Launching a New Initiative Featuring Limited-Time Demos of Upcoming Games

Over a dozen games will have demos available for a limited time.

Disco Elysium: How to Get to the Fishing Village and Close the Water Lock

We show you how to get across the water and into Land's End in Disco Elysium.

More Puzzle Games

If You're Bad at Tetris 99, You Can Now Squad Up For Help

The puzzle-battle royale hybrid just got friendlier.

Starting Screen | Five Games I Missed That I'm Planning to Play Now That the Holidays Are Here

A look at the games I want to play before 2019 is officially finished.

Gotta Catch All 98 Opponents in Tetris 99's Upcoming Pokemon Crossover Event

Tetris 99's new crossover theme might be its best yet.

How to Save in Luigi’s Mansion 3

Here’s how to save your game in Luigi’s Mansion 3.