One of the reasons why we love fairy tales is because they are so familiar to us. The stories and themes are universal and have been the same for years, sometimes centuries. However, putting a fresh spin on our favorite fairy tales is also fun. And that’s what Microsoft’s Megatron Turing Natural Language Generation AI is doing.
Developed alongside Nvidia and announced in October, Megatron is described by Microsoft as “most powerful monolithic transformer language model trained to date”.
Researchers have been training the model on 15 datasets coverings 339 billion tokens. The companies say this highlights how larger AI models can understand with less training. The AI is available online for public use and data is curated by Microsoft Bing.
One of the abilities of Megatron is to generate words to complete open text tasks, including unfinished sentences. By charting a summary of a document, the AI can create direct answers to questions.
To showcase the abilities of Megatron, Microsoft has used the AI to rewrite some classic fairy tales, resulting in new endings for each. Specifically, Jack and the Beanstalk, The Three Little Pigs, and The Elves and the Shoemaker.
Microsoft’s parameters include the fairy tales still having a good outcome based on constraints such as kindness, friendship, etc. However, beyond that the results are unpredictable and random.
As Megatron is a public AI, Microsoft is allowing anyone to visit the website and see their own outcome for each fairy tale. Naturally, that is the sort of invitation I cannot pass up. So, I headed to the AI Story Generator site and fired up The Three Little Pigs.
Now, the original 3 Little Pigs tale has several endings, all involving the Wolf losing either by running away or dying, depending on how dark you want to make it. So, how does Microsoft’s AI transform this ending?
On the site, you are given an ending type you want from happy ending, an interesting deal, a good piece of advice, kindness, or some room improvement. Being the malevolent person I am, I chose the latter because it is the vaguest.
Here is the full story I got:
“Once upon a time, there were three brother pigs who decided to go out into the world to seek their fortunes. The first little pig found some straw and used it to quickly build his house. The second little pig gathered sticks to build his house. The third little pig worked even harder and built his house out of bricks.
The next day, a wolf happened to pass by the lane where the three little pigs lived, and eard them singing. The wolf felt very hungry and tried to enter the house of the little pig who lived in brick. But the wolf found the bricks were very hard and it was almost impossible to get inside. In frustration, the wolf hurled itself against the door and, to the horror of the pig inside, made a hole in the wall large enough for it to enter.
Then the wolf rushed in, closed the door behind him and made the house much more comfortable for himself by tearing up the floor and furniture.
When the third little pig came home and heard the story, he was furious. He immediately ran outside and met the wolf. They began fighting and ended up rolling down the hill. When they finally stopped rolling, they both were so exhausted that they lay down and fell asleep, and when they woke up they decided to become friends. And so the first two little pigs paid a little visit to the third pig’s house and they found it much easier to enter.
Better or worse? I’ll let you decide, while you can also create your own endings at the Microsoft source below.
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