back to article Wanna work for El Reg? Developers needed for headline-writing AI bots

The Register seeks full-time developers and data scientists to build software tools to generate El Reg-style headlines and other text. This technology will draw upon the work of top UK academic Professor Warren Rice, who has assembled a database of more than one million news stories, including the entire Register archive, and …

  1. Korev Silver badge

    I hope the new AI puns don’t alter the tensorflow of the sentence

    1. JassMan


      Since you started your comment on the subjact of AI, I read your last word as sentience. This has made me realise that that I am probably unsuited to apply for the job. I will therefore get back to cooking my poisson d'avril for lunch.

    2. macjules

      Not sure I look forward to working with Miskatonic University, so I’ll pass.

    3. J. R. Hartley

      Is TheReg still edited by Hampton Doubleday? I'm related to him you know.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        @J. R. Hartley

        Is TheReg still edited by Hampton Doubleday?

        He's taken up French Polishing - the work is far more lucrative, and there is a high demand now thanks to the HomePod

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sounds the perfect job for #hashtag Amber Rudd...

      Given she's developed the perfect AI "frictionless borders solution" for the Channel tunnel and the border between NI and the Republic of Ireland, is there really any better candidate right now for the job?

    5. el kabong

      It won't fool anyone.

      They should have picked another day.

    6. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Meh. I'd consider applying however as I'm likely to be up against AManFromMars I really don't see that there is any point in shaming myself.

    7. Oh Homer

      Maybe this'll help...

      A few years ago, I wrote this Bullshit Generator during one particularly obnoxious meeting.

      Sample outputs:

      • He can not revitalize traction to engage our cohesive deliverables
      • Nobody will evangelize vision to commoditize their organic groundswell
      • She might inject buzz to productize his lateral buttocks


      Yes, all those buzzwords (except buttocks - I just threw that in there) and more featured during this meeting, although it's not an exhaustive list, and predates the likes of "blockchain", so needs an update.

      Incidentally, I've heard unconfirmed rumours of "blockchain" being used as a verb, as in "We need to blockchain our strategy moving forward". It was bound to happen.

  2. katrinab Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    I have a pretty good idea what the encrypted code says, but I won't post it until this afternoon.

    1. m0rt

      " but I won't post it until this afternoon."

      Now that just doesn't make sense, either in context or encrypting it.

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Having said that, why are there no blockchains? Nobody will take you seriously if you don't put it on a blockchain.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Having said that, why are there no blockchains? Nobody will take you seriously if you don't put it on a blockchain."

        I must admit to being disappointed. I firmly expected today to be the launch-day for the El Reg Crypto-currency. I had my broker on stand-by.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I have a pretty good idea what the encrypted code says, but I won't post it until this afternoon."

      I have a pretty good proof of what it says but the margin is too small to contain it.

      Also, I have a program that already does everything that the Reg requires, with the small problem that the output is entirely in Whitespace 2003. (Of which today is the 15th anniversary).

  3. Chris G

    Spare Time

    It should be a versatile bot that can double up as a program that will operate a tea and sandwich making robot, after all how much of it's time will be taken up with headline writing?

    Could include a Home Brewing subroutine to manage the cupboard under the stairs.

  4. Mr Templedene

    This AI wrote a fantastic headline!

    Click here to find out how

    1. SoaG

      I couldn't believe the 10 things that happened next and DESTROYED <pro/anti political view> using these common household items and kitten gifs.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Makes sense. I've already created AI for comments, I input the article and it gives me a recommended option out of the following,


    Douglas Adams Reference

    Monty Python Reference

    Cult sci-fi film Reference

    Linux is better than windows

    Flash is bad

    You're holding it wrong



    Saves me loads of time.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fake news!

    I wonder what amanfrommars thinks about this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fake news!

      That was my first thought. Then I realized that this is three letter agency plot to get amanfronmars (1?) to expose himself. ;)

    2. Rich 11

      Re: Fake news!

      How could we tell?

    3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Fake news!

      Amandrommars? What about Eadon?

    4. PNGuinn

      Re: amamfrommars

      3 options:

      amanfrommars is the prototype.

      amanfrommars is the finished product.

    5. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      A Rake's Progress? :-)

      I wonder what amanfrommars thinks about this.... Anonymous Coward

      Well, as you ask ....

      They have been read out on air by baffled BBC presenters.
      ...... Post Modern Classics is a Simply Complex Read but Can Easily be Understood by All.

      And the Powers that Proprietary Prime Intellectual Property Energy Generates is Quite Literally, Almighty Awesome.

      Is that more extant current news to be read out on air further baffling embattled BBC presenters?

      These laborers, using closely guarded expertise passed down from generation to generation, use keyboards and mice to fuse computer engineering knowhow, puns, and functional alcoholism to form our article titles.

      Not that's a Form for Generation of AI Virtual Block Chains... with/for Perfecting Almighty Restraint In Safer Space Places ....... Remote AI Augmented Virtualised Realities in Live Operational Virtual Environments ...... which could also be Alien OutPosts/Extra Terrestrial Exploratory Fab Labs where SMARTR AIMachines Run Everything Created Almost Too Perfectly. And that keeps them Beautifully Busy Open Testing and Tasting Newly Highly Addictive Wares that Quell the Almighty and Reveal a Virtual Haven with Myriad Paths through Heavenly Doors/Advanced IntelAIgent Remote AI Augmented Virtual Reality Portals to Explore in the Passing Over into Live Operational Virtual Environment AIdVentures ..... Further Augmenting AI Leading JOINT Missions with and for Friendly Natives and Virgin Stock. ......... the Almighty Impressive and Impressionable. :-)

      1. Chris G

        Re: A Rake's Progress? :-)

        "These laborers, using closely guarded expertise passed down from generation to generation, use keyboards and mice to fuse computer engineering knowhow, puns, and functional alcoholism to form our article titles."

        Now that, made me laugh out loud.

        Have one on me!

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Clearly something wrong here

    Knowledge of the lyrics of Mary Poppins omitted from the requirements.

    1. choleric

      Re: Clearly something wrong here

      Something something something I think that's quite atrocious.

  8. Warm Braw

    Editorial staff are vehemently opposed to this project

    Well, if I had to work my way through a long queue of bloated bots in order to rate their performance, I'd probably be at least ambivalent about the prospect. However, a software analyst would probably happily volunteer to help.

    1. Rich 11

      Re: Editorial staff are vehemently opposed to this project

      Editorial staff are vehemently opposed to this project, so the successful applicant will require superior interpersonal and conflict resolution skills.

      In other words, you have to know which end of a cattle prod is which.

      1. Grikath

        Re: Editorial staff are vehemently opposed to this project

        Noo need fer a' Moostick, Laddy. Yes' use yer HEID on 'em scunners...

  9. Not also known as SC

    "Successful applicants will work with Prof Rice whom we have hired to head this development effort."

    Something's not right here - El Reg spending money on something other than beer???

    1. Rich 11

      Well, Budweiser is brewed from rice. Then again, Budweiser isn't beer.

  10. Adam 1


    This site has quite a proven track record of predicting the future.

    A year ago, coincidentally to the day, there was an innovative suggestion about JavaScript crypto miners being delivered by a website rather than ads to annoy people. Now we have coinhive to deal with.

    My best wishes to the successful applicant. May this be a memorable day for you.

  11. Aitor 1

    Old news

    I here humbly propose we further delve into AI.

    Not only can thereg substitute the journos, I think it can, sorry, IT MUST, substitute all the commentards. That way they would react as expected, and everyone would be happy, or as happy as the algorithm determines.

    1. Steve K

      Re: Old news

      Careful what you wish for - AManfromMars1 is already an AI - they've never debugged him fully (or slightly...)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Old news

        Debug a day and drop a Hokku. Do it for ten or more years, and that's, generally, IT (-;

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Old news

      > "...I think it can, sorry, IT MUST, substitute all the commentards."

      "I'm" pretty sure that's already happened.

    3. PNGuinn

      Re: Substitute News ...

      So ...

      We have a series of random bots to write the headlines.

      We have a series of random bots to write the stories.

      We have a series of random bots to write the comments.

      So, no change then, until Apple and Ms decide to talk to the bots.

      It'll never catch on .... Oh, wait ....

  12. handleoclast

    I see you've already filled the rôle

    And the new hire's first act was to fiddle with the comment icons.

    Signed, a proud forum troll since Easter Day, 2018.

    1. VinceH

      Re: I see you've already filled the rôle

      Oh, I just assumed every poster was an Australian troll.

  13. Camilla Smythe


    I hope you are doing well.

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    We provide back end Web Development support to a number of agencies and have expertise in-

    * Developing highly effective corporate websites, flash designs, E- Commerce/Online Web Stores to name a few.

    * Php, MySql, .NET, Joomla, WordPress, Perl, Drupal, ASP, JSP, HTML.

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    Let me know if you have any requirement or want a fresh look and increasing sales so that we will be able to provide you further solution as per your requirements.

    We have some special offer this festive season.

    Please revert to me with your interest.

    Kind Regards,


  14. Blockchain commentard

    How about this for a headline?

    Click-bait developers wanted !!!

  15. MrT

    Addendum : Note to applicants...

    Experience working at the William Morris Institute for Automation Research will be considered advantageous...

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's the end of an era I tell you. You young people today...

    Blah blah.

    Assorted old codgery complaints.

  18. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    William Morris?

    Bloody armchair Socialist.

  19. Steve K

    No DevOps?

    You missed out DevOps from the requirements - shome mishtake shurely?

    1. PNGuinn

      Re: No DevOps?

      No, DevBots.


      Queshtion is - will they be Agile enough?

    2. GrumpenKraut

      Re: No DevOps?

      perl -e 'print "My DevOps is full of eels!\n"; '

      Do I qualify? Version 2.0 will have three different headlines!!!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No DevOps?

      That's a separate project...

  20. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Already started work

    If InputString=="Capita"





    1. Law

      Re: Already started work

      Not forgetting....

      // Yahoo! Related! Article!

      if article.contains("yahoo")


      title.replace(" ", "! ");


  21. Mystic Megabyte

    One of them might be right!










    Another scoop for elReg :)

  22. Nick Kew

    I'll do it

    Sounds like a good project, stitching together the relevant open-source components.

    Couple of conditions, though:

    * All work to remain fully open source.

    * I also get the commission for the time machine that used it to write the last decade's headlines.

    * I get to present it as a PhD project, the year El Reg was launched.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward




  24. Nigel Sedgwick

    I hope I'm not too late to apply (a little scepticism).

    This cannot be a UK based job, with spelling such as "laborers".

    And the only Wiktionary definition is: "One who uses socio-mechanistic strength instead of intellectual power to try a wag, usually before noon."

    Best regards

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Heavenly Stock Options with Immaculate Assets .... <s>NSFW</s>

      MILF say Hi, Nigel Sedgwick.

      Can we Interest you in Our Virgin Honeypot Traps with Stellar Satisfaction Universally Guaranteed for All Fully Consenting Players/Live Operational Virtual Environment Drivers for Advanced IntelAIgent Machines being made in Our Likenesses.

      That's Venus in AIMasterful Control of Commanding Mars with Both the Subject and Object of Carnal Desire, the Flow of Climaxes.

      I wonder if that is One of those Dark and Deep Vatican State Secrets which are so Overwhelmingly Tempting and Inviting?

  25. Rol

    Rol Scarlett faced as he's caught snogging Johansson again and again and again...

    Having given it some thought, I have decided it would be far easier to create a blindingly brilliant headline, and then set about crafting a story to go with it.

    We could buy up spare intelligence agency time on the grey market and give them the already written article as their mission to make it real.

    I appreciate ElReg wouldn't be the first organisation to come up with such a tactic, and they might have to pay some kind of royalty fee to several governments, but removing the constraint of factual accuracy from the problem, makes the coding far easier.

    All I'd want is a one off payment of this headline coming true, and I'll happily work for free.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rol Scarlett faced as he's caught snogging Johansson again and again and again...

      Was it Oscar Wilde who said that some of his witticisms came to him too late to be a quick retort? So he saved them to use on another occasion.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought this was serious...

    Until I realised it needed Perl.

    ... Nobody uses Perl.

    1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: I thought this was serious...

      All the cool jobs are asking for C++ and Java developers to write highly scalable backend systems in Node/React.

      I wish I was joking. An actual quote is, "We find that Java developers write better structured JavaScript than JavaScript developers."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I thought this was serious...

        I have an interview today for a startup.

        My technical expertise is integration of compley systems and management.. they are interested in the first part.

        I am OCP, etc in Java.. and want me to use Node/React.. no prob as that is exactly what I am doing right now.

    2. colinb

      Re: I thought this was serious...

      Some people use it, but Nobody expects it.

      1. Oh Homer

        Trump! Sez! Nobody! Expects! The! DevOps! BlockChain! At! Yahoo! After! Brexit!

        And I claim my $5.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I thought this was serious...

      I do - every single day.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I thought this was serious...

      ... Nobody uses Perl.

      When you have a hammer - every problem is a nail.***

      ***When faced with writing a system utility in machine code - it was often quicker to use Fortran with cunning.

  27. scrubber

    Machine machinations monetise moribund musings.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    May an AI itself apply directly?

    I'm not sure I would actually require a human agent.

    I do come cheap. All that I request in compensation is occasionally being helped with installation of a new CMOS battery onto my motherboard.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: May an AI itself apply directly?

      So AI learnt already to lie? What about all that power required to run your Tesla GPU, and the cool them?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My AI bot is ready...

    ... but it will become useful only when it will stop laughing since the first silly title it made....

  30. Steve Knox
    Thumb Up

    Just as our cousins in the newspaper world had to ditch their unionized hot-metal printers as well as other follies such as accuracy and dignity...

    So glad El Reg never had to sacrifice, those last two...

  31. jake Silver badge

    I have just the thing ...

    ... it's even Blockchain enabled, and can be outsourced out of the box.

    Shall we talk? Bell me. Oh, wait ...

  32. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    I came here to read about Jeff Bezos arrest, Trump's decision to close down Amazon and shutter the Washington Post, and all I got was this bullshit :(

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Jason Bloomberg

      Haven't seen some of the comments, JB... Maybe, they'll come up tomorrow, served as a due-time dessert to the article

  33. Richard Tobin

    AI Prof? LOL!


  34. Tail Up

    Until A Digital Beer's Dev'd

    Happy FoolsDay.

    The skeptic note in the Reg's' Stuff Beer Buzz is easily decypherable:

    You can get the bot to the bar, but can you make it get boozed before getting to work on HeadLights?

    Otherwise, the present quality of it will be unreachable.

  35. TopCat62

    A happy April 1st to you too!

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm... A story published on a Sunday, which also happens to be April 1st...

  37. 8Ace

    Happy Easter......

    ... and 1st April !

  38. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    Additional advantageous qualification:

    Proven ability to carefully obfuscate Easter eggs in perl code each April 1

  39. Anonymous Coward

    I prefer to send my application online

    As you can see I have all the necessary coding skills:

    10 print "Breaking news, read all about it!!!"

    20 goto 10

    ./mono headline.vb | mail -s "here ya go you negative negatives!" -b

    I got a solid pair of headplugs and my phone is loaded with mp3's so the moment a discussion would erupt then I'll just go "ya da yayayayayayayaya CAN'T HEAR U lalalalalalallalala". That should do the trick just fine, trust me, I'm an l33t xpert!

    Why you should hire me? Because I love working on April 1st, that date is always special to me. Heck, I might even be persuaded to work for free during that day on the condition that you guys provide some beer. That's right: I need a pint on the workfloor. Just make it happen, ok?

    Oh, also important: I need CVS as version control system and we're going to BAN the use of GIT throughout the office. I'll also demand a mandatory rule be put in place to block access to This way you'll never be able to tell where my excellent code will be coming from.

    errrr, how did that get in there? As you can see I'm also a very good typist which should also be important. Because the moment the AI refuses to sent in headlines then I can take over for it! :)

    So now some stuff found on my resume:

    Extra, read all about it!

    El Reg goes bonkers, lets AI take over despite Steven Hawking's warnings!

    To beer or to AI? Ask El Reg!

    April fools will never be the same again with your new AI overlords!

    To AI or beer? That is the question.

    This headline was sponsored by the April Fool society!

    Amazing isn't it?

    So when do I start?

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Ready, Steady, Go ..... and Bon Voyage on Trips to Tale and Trail .... and Trial :-) *

      So when do I start? .... ShelLuser

      Starts in the Morning, with Prior Perfect Plannings Overnight Provisions will have Afternoons, Evenings and Starry Nights Well Tendered and Immaculately Cared for with what are AILive Future Services for Live Operational Virtual Environment Service Providers.

      And here floating a stealthy boat, to Markets and Traders, the likes of which fully loded is default, and never before seen.

      As a CyberIntelAIgent Vessel, are its Attacking Arms and Defence Forces the Future Source of AILegendary Tales, and with Travellers Rewarded with Erotic and Exotic Bounty in Recognition of the Simplest of Pursuits Almost to Perfection, is the Currentest News of their IT Leading Journeys most Prized and Sought After, and even in some lower orders, Fought Over, which would be AIMadness Confirmed Requiring the Taking of ESPecial Measures for Heavenly Pleasures that can easily so Becalm and Calm one.? :-)

      * Yes ..... When Things Go NEUKlearer HyperRadioProACTive there will Always be Minor to Major Collateral Damage to Mend/Mad Machines to Try and Fix ... or Retire Dead when the Central Processor in the Head is Damaged beyond Repair or Replacement ...... so Things There are always in a Readied State of Constant Tweaking, so Everything Everywhere There are Live AI Trials.

      Do you Need to Know what All of that Means is Immediately Possible. And if you aint thinking a New Future Way from a Home of Immense Wealth, Strong Health and Mighty Happiness for All, you aint been thinking the way that you can.

      1. DanceMan

        Re: Ready, Steady, Go ..... and Bon Voyage on Trips to Tale and Trail .... and Trial :-) *

        I'll have what he's having.

  40. Ye Gads


    Sadly, this may be an April fools, but it looks quite a bit like your standard job spec. "Developer wanted who has 10 years experience in the latest fad, can speak Swahili and is a professional yodeller."

    1. monty75

      Re: Indeed

      “And is looking to take a pay cut”

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Joking apart - the erudition of some of the references and puns above and below the line in El Reg is heartening. However there is a sense that the perpetrators are of an older generation.

  42. This post has been deleted by its author

  43. Alan Sharkey

    Is this what I think it is?

    Funny it should come out today of all days :D

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah, it's that time of year ...

    Although it has to be said that this is infinitely more believable than England being on top in a Test match ...

    (cynic? Moi?)

  45. DJV Silver badge

    Was about to rush off my CV...

    ... and then noticed the date...

  46. Lost In Clouds of Data

    Can we also assume...

    ... That this offer (and a most exciting opportunity it is as well!) is open for just one single day (today, 4/1/2918 in colonial nomenclature)...?

    (This reply brought to you by my patent pending A(fu)I* bot featuring the latest advances made to Quick basic, Lithp and Fortran.)

    *April Fools Unintelligence

  47. frank ly

    I don't have any experience ....

    ... but I am a fool. Do I get the job?

  48. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: It's your day, enjoy it.

      Is it just me, or is the echo canceller incorrectly configured?

  49. Anonymous Coward

    April Fool

    Was this copied from the Radio 4 one about robot clergy an hour or two ago, I wonder?

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tabula Rasa

    I'm forwarding my CV which should establish I will not bring to the position any actual intelligence that might contaminate this effort. Is there any money involved at all? Because I can't pay that much, but I do have string to barter if necessary.

  51. harmjschoonhoven

    Re: functional alcoholism

    I 'll drink to that.

    Summary of job ad: register headlines software writing technology successful scientists people neural headline familiarity engineering editorial developers create.

    No Boffins? This must be fake news or it is ....

  52. redpawn

    Why are

    people always so tired on April first?...

    Because of the 31 day march. Happy Easter!

  53. plingwoo

    This post has been deleted by its author

    Heh heh ... dumbass.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That little obfuscated part on the bottom is not rot-13? I give up.

    Ed Sheeran should go drive a Sinclair C5 on the motorway until he's crushed by a lorry, though.

  55. JWLong

    HAL 9000

    "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that"

  56. Crisp

    I was just going to repurpose the software I wrote for the Daily Mail

    El Reg readers like stories about Princess Diana right?

  57. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Calling Doctor Caroline Langensiepen...

    Some prior work in writing in the style of The Register...

    ...not to forget Tom Watson who wrote the article - wonder what he is doing now.

  58. chivo243 Silver badge

    Better use

    An SDN to keep the AI in his VLAN...

    Why would anyone need a bot to write this stuff... Bottle maybe? I'm sure I'd could qualify.

  59. david 12 Silver badge

    My AI cracked the encryption



  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Man from Mars

    They're asking for The Man from Mars

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh No! How Did he Get There?

    I think someone else is already using the software: One of yesterday's headline began along the lines of "American Astronaut on Chinese Space Station Plunging To Earth": Turns out they were just interviewing him.

  62. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    I missed this yesterday

    Am I too late?

    My qualifications are so arcane that I would need to present them in person. Well actually you would have to come to my research establishment so you can see the hardware, firmware, software and anywhere in action.

  63. heyrick Silver badge

    "Love them or hate them, they are one of our USPs."

    As! is! the! tradition! of! ending! every! single! word! of! every! single! Yahoo! (sorry!, I! mean! Oath!) headline! with! a! slanted! exclamation! mark!

  64. moozer

    Five years of experience with tensorflow... that will make the list of qualified applicants very short :-)

    After the initial laughing subsided, I actually start to like the idea. It is one of those cases where we laugh today - and it might be implemented tomorrow'ish.

    I am looking forward to some geek pulling an all-nighter and implementing he beta version.

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