Today started off like like any other Thursday here at the VICE HQ in Brooklyn. Inside the office, the Broadly staff sat with VICE blankets draped over our shoulders and drops of motherwort in our drinks as we wrote, commissioned, and published articles.
Everything felt like a typical Thursday. That is, until our socials editor casually shared a list of what appeared to be Broadly headlines into our Slack channel:
- Nice Day for a Sexual Relationship
- The Juggalo Rapper Who Sang on a Man for Farting
- The Feminist Terrier Pawing Her Way to Map and Find Girls at Risk of Homelessness
- Learning to Skateboard When You're on Your Vibrator?
- Before the Paleo Diet, Walt Whitman Took a Dick Pic
As we read through the list of perfect headlines for Broadly stories clearly too genius for our minds to ever dream up, we knew we needed to find out more about their creation. Who was the artist, the mastermind, the secret Broadly headline writer who so perfectly understood the essence of our brand?
And then we found him: A man with a bot.
"I generated them with a python package called Markovify," explained Paul Glenn of VICE's global business analytics team. "Essentially, it looks at pairs of words in a body of text and comes up with probabilities of what word is going to start a sentence, as well as the probabilities of what words follow one another. Then it uses those probabilities to generate random strings of words."
We weren't the only ones moved by the result of these algorithms. "This has brought a lot of joy to my Thursday," Glenn told us.
Technology really is cool. The Broadly team would like to thank Paul Glenn and the bot for doing our jobs better than we could. See more of the Markovify-generated headlines below:
- Zookeepers Explain What It's Like to Be Beautiful
- Men Want You to Break Up With Someone You Gave Them an STI
- Which Pop Stars Are So Sexist They're Losing Women Who Suffer from Their Giant Penises? A Short Investigation
- Getting Laid to Get Abortions
- Should You Go to Jury Duty?
- Sideshow Performer Who Was Almost Queen Elizabeth I
- The Artist Who Paints World Leaders with Her Is Not Alone: All Florida Girls Believe in Demons
- Meet the Female Journalist Right Now?
- The Woman Who Owns Huge Hissing Cockroaches as Pets in the Age of Trump Tower