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Scientist Teaches a Computer to Create Brand New Pokémon

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A research scientist has created a neural network that can independently come up with brand new Pokémon designs. The Pokémon Company staff could learn a thing or two from this since their newest designs of Pokémon have become somewhat lacking as of late.

For those who don’t know, a Neural Network (NN) is a computer system that is built to model that of a human brain and nervous system. The system is given a set of parameters and will create more content based on said parameters, and from there it can basically teach itself to carry out the tasks that are asked of it.

Research scientist Janelle Shane has played around with NN’s before, having them create things such as cookbook recipes, superhero names, and even a Lovecraft/cookbook mashup. This time Shane posted on Tumblr her efforts on getting her neural network to generate brand new Pokémon.

“I decided to train the neural network to randomly generate Pokémon names and abilities based on this list as a training set – and found that it was good at generating Pokémon. Annoyingly good at it – by the time it had gone through the training set 50 times, it was already fluently plagiarizing Pokémon word for word.

“I had to go back to my very first snapshot of the neural network (16 times through the training set), at which point it hadn’t yet learned the entire set of names and abilities, and was still coming up with hilarious new ones”.

The list Shane is referring to is about the stats from all 720 Pokémon, which has been broke down into a long chart. This turned out to be a great source because of the examples that the NN came up with, sound very much like what could be official Pokémon to the uninitiated. Here is a list of samples that Shane’s NN came up with:

  • Quincelax
    Abilities: Sturdy, Secene Grace
    Hidden ability: Tunged Leus
  • Tortabool
    Ability: Healy Stream
  • Strangy
    Abilities: Wharmwbra, Darp
    Hidden ability: Magic Guard
  • Staroptor
    Ability: Stench
    Hidden Ability: Stick Hat
  • Stangute
    Ability: Banger
    Hidden Ability: Drang
  • Tyrnakine
    Ability: Beak Eye
  • Minma
    Abilities: Buttery armor, Shell Armor
    Hidden ability: Weak armor
  • Ronch
    Abilities: None
  • Mawuh
    Ability: Rum Power

After seeing this, another Tumblr user and artist Lauren Dawson “Iguanamouth” decided that these new Pokémon characters needed some bodies to match their new identities. These are the ideas she came up with down below:

Jayden Hausfeld is an aspiring Pop-culture/Video game journalist from Australia. When he isn't studying for his Bachelor degree in Journalism or fighting off all the animals that could kill him, he's generally playing video games or binge watching Netflix shows which take up the rest of his free time.

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