“The neural net has no concept of color space, and no way to see human-color perception,” she says. Instead, it processed colors by their RGB values: the combination of red, green, and blue that come together in each hue. “It’s really seeing [colors] not as a number at a time, but as a digit at a time. I think that’s why the neural net had a lot of trouble getting the colors right, why it’s naming pinks when there aren’t any pinks, or gray when it’s not gray.”
For her, this experiment—and its viral popularity—has hinted at the strange, savant quality of neural nets. How do 7,700 paint colors, fed into a program and given little other guidance, result in “Burble Simp?” Shane isn’t sure either. “I play around with [neural nets] for pure entertainment purposes. I’m endlessly delighted by what it comes up with, both good and bad,” she says.
She’s also previously used neural nets to generate new death-metal band names (Inbumblious, Vomberdean, and Chaosrug are highlights) and the names of new Pokémon (Tortabool, Minma, and Strangy). Once, a death-metal forum got ahold of the band names and started arguing what genre they should be.
Also, her favorite auto-generated paint colors are Hurky White and Caring Tan. And it’s true those are lovely. But personally, I prefer Turdly.