back to article When neural nets do carols: 'Santa baby bore sweet Jesus Christ. Fa la la la la la, la la la la'

"King of toys and hippopotamuses full of the light of that stood at the dear Son of Santa Claus." What is this latest madness? you may ask. Well, it's 2017 and it's Christmas so someone has obviously had a crack a training a neural network to write carols. The results are at least entertaining, even if they might offend the …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "hippopotamuses [sic]"

    IIRC That is the correct plural based on the Greek original. The use of hippopotami is for those who forget that the Romans borrowed the word from the Greeks.

    1. JimC

      But (it was a long time ago and I was an *appalling* greek student) wouldn't the greek, transliterated, be hippopotamos, plural hippopotamoi? So hippopotamus is indeed the latin borrowing, and would have the latin plural hippopotami?

      Incidentally, doesn't this demonstrate that those churchmen who get upset about the santafication of Christmas have a very good point?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "[...] wouldn't the greek, transliterated, be hippopotamos, plural hippopotamoi? "

        The Oxford Dictionary favours hippopotamuses.

      2. MonkeyCee

        Christmas isn't Christian

        "Incidentally, doesn't this demonstrate that those churchmen who get upset about the santafication of Christmas have a very good point?"

        Surely it's the other way around? Christians deciding to nick an existing holiday, then get pissy about people still liking the original.

        IIRC Christmas wasn't celebrated for the first ~300 years of the church, there where extensive arguments over when Christ was born, and the original date chosen was the winter solstice based on that being Christ's conception. The whole "sun dies for three days and is reborn" is widely prevalent in winter solstice celebrations predating Christianity (and Judaism) by thousands of years.

        For quite a while (~800AD) Epiphany, the 12th day*, was the major religious celebration. It was a secular event (coronation of on Emperor IIRC) on Christmas day that started it as being the focal point.

        In fact, the majority of festivals that people actually bother celebrating are the same ones we celebrated way before any of this monotheistic ideologies came along. It was far easier to just claim the holiday as being part of the new thing rather than try and oppose the will of the people.

        So stop this santification of santa :)

        * There's also the whole Julian/Gregorian calander issue, which is why the coptics celebrate Christmas on 7th Jan, that being 25 Dec in Julian IIRC

        1. Kyle Roberts

          Re: Christmas isn't Christian

          I may agree about the superimposition of Christian meaning on other festivals such as this one, but really, serious study shows that monotheism predates the deviant religions you allude to. Many examples of ancient cultures having one supreme God (with characteristics of the Judeo Christian God) to whom is added gods and demi-gods can be found.

          Monotheism 'evolving' from primitive polytheism is a myth attractive to a certain section of society.

          Happy holidays :-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      According to Flanders and Swann it's definitely Hippopotami that's good enough for me as that Hippopotamus was no ignoramus

    3. Morten_T

      "...those who forget that the Romans borrowed the word..."

      Just how old do you think we are, man? :)

  2. Semtex451

    12 Days of Regmas

    Your 12 Days of Regmas cheered up this old scrooge and summed things up nicely too. Well done.

    (but you forgot IoT)

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: 12 Days of Regmas

      And also misinterpreted Bitcoins, which are currently falling, to no-ones surprise...

    2. BillG

      Re: 12 Days of Regmas

      Should read "The 12 Days of Rebma".

      (All roads lead to Amber).

    3. macjules

      Re: 12 Days of Regmas

      Nicely done, but i would have gone with the "Two Outsourcers Outsourcing"

      But, it's Christmas, I have to lay off* Steria and Capita for at least 1 week per annum.

      * Unlike what they do to their staff! (Boom boom!)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 12 Days of Regmas


      I prefer the 12 days of Xmas the commentards came up with here

  3. Mark 110

    Have a good one

    Just dropped in to say have a great break to my fellow commentards. Not sure this thread will get enough traffic but can't see another one thats appropriate.

    Happy Christmas. Have a great New Year. Lets hope its a good one.

    See you all in the New Year. Lets hope for peace throughout the world (one can dream)!!


  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I wanna give it to you Ding dong, ding dong Christmas day"

    Can I be the first to say "Ding Dong" in a 1950's smutty innuendo sort of way?

    1. sandman
    2. Mark 85

      It does have a touch of Chuck Berry in it, doesn't it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You can never tell

      2. Michael Strorm Silver badge

        Chuck Berry occurred to me too, but I suspect that the OP was thinking more along the lines of Terry Thomas or- specifically- Leslie Phillips (whose catchphrase *was* "Ding dong!").

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Michael Strorm

          You are indeed correct.

          Ding Dong.

          1. Francis Boyle

            I could have sworn

            it was the B-side to "The Fastest Milkman in the West".

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      "Can I be the first to say "Ding Dong" in a 1950's smutty innuendo sort of way?"

      And a "Ringer ding ding" to you in a Bill Murray sort of way to you.

  5. Tom 7

    This suggest to me that

    neural networks are in fact just computers strolling home pissed on friday afternoon.

  6. workhouse

    Long time ago in London

    So the Google Bible say

    Deepmind’s boy child, AlphaZero

    Was born on Christmas Day.

    Hark now hear the Smartphones sing

    Your King was born today

    And man will serve for evermore

    Because of Christmas Day…

  7. TrumpSlurp the Troll

    Merry Christmas everyone

    See above :-)

  8. handleoclast
    Thumb Up

    Those carols were amazingly good

    They made more sense than the Babble does.

  9. Teiwaz

    A certain rhythm but no sense.

    The resulting carols have a certain rhythm to them but make no real sense

    Are we sure it's just switched to writing Psalms...?

  10. Franklin

    Someone record these, stat

    If stores played these carols instead of the same old schlock they normally play, I might do less of my Christmas shopping online.

    1. macjules

      Re: Someone record these, stat

      Me too

  11. Morten_T


    "...explicit takes that Shane cut out of her blog for reasons of good taste – obviously not something that so troubles El Reg."

    And this is why we all love you guys (well, part of it) :D

    Merry christmas everyone. have some of these ->

  12. Mage Silver badge

    learning how to cap up letters,

    No, not learning anything. It's really a specialist type of human fed/curated database with query system.

    A lot of supposed Christmas songs and carols don't make much sense anyway. It's going to make less sense mixed through an algorithmic mincer that has no intelligence and few rules of context added.

    This sort of thing is hardly new (about 30 years older than the Harry Potter experiment the other week).

    It's curious when you analyse the Brilliant Douglas Adams' HHGTTG series that the 1st book (actually the radio play is the best) has most original content, which falls with each book in the series. I mused on this as I read the approximately 60th Chalet School story and considered other series, such as Pern and Dune. Obviously the readers expect the same "world" and kind of stuff to keep going back ...

  13. Milton

    Wrong genre

    Should let the so-called AI (which is clearly and above all things, NOT "intelligent", artificially or otherwise) practise on rap—you know, rap with the silent 'c'. It's incoherent, moronic drivel *already*. "AI" could only improve it.

    PS: Since it becomes more obvious every single day that "AI" is a misnomer, just marketing hype, and that the systems flagged as "AI" are just highly specific machine learning systems incapable of actual thinking or creativity, shouldn't we rename them? We could even keep the initials if we just opt for truth and call them "Artificial Imbeciles".

    Or will that cause confusion with the White House?

    1. Nuno trancoso

      Re: Wrong genre

      So, you want an artificial construct with the equivalent of a few hundred neurons to match the densest brain we know. Sounds realistic...

      Or, maybe your rant on the issue brings out what is truly scaring people shitless. That all in all, all we have going for us is the depth and breadth of our NN, and if/when we can match that in silico, or come close to it, we'll have to admit that our so called "intelligence" is nothing more than abundance of processing power and our "creativity" nothing more than flaws and a happy/sad byproduct of several biases.

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