Many people wonder why the things President Trump says seem so random, or unwritten, or even nonsensical, as if no human could ever conceive of writing them, that’s because they weren’t written by a human at all — a computer program created them.
Many Americans are unaware that President Trump’s speeches are not written by a team of speechwriters, as is typical for politicians. Instead, Trump’s prepared remarks are created by a text generation program that is known around the White House as the “Speech-o-Matic.”
The computer program is constantly fed fresh information to generate speeches from. Every day, the senior staff adds transcripts of the president speaking, tweets, Hannity clips, things that Stephen Miller jotted down, Breitbart stories, Jared Kushner’s latest burn book entries, and recordings of drunk people trying to describe the plots of movies that they only saw half of. The Speech-o-Matic then randomly selects passages from this trove of words, and cleans them up according to the rough grammar guidelines taught to chimps who are learning sign language.
The program then takes this draft and passes it through an algorithm that replaces words with more than four syllables with shorter synonyms. If a shorter synonym isn’t available, the program slots in “sad” or “our White House is running amazingly.” The program also replaces every other use of the pronoun “I” with “Trump.” The speech is then read aloud by a computerized voice designed to sound like a rude 14 year old boy with something to prove, and this spoken audio is transcribed and saved as the final draft.
The Speech-o-Matic allows the White House to quickly and efficiently generate speeches. All the staff has to do is enter a topic for the speech, select a tone (“angry,” “bragging,” or “mixed”) and a level of bigotry (1-5), and then selecting the length of the speech (no more than 22 minutes). The program then gets to work generating, using arriving at a final product in less than 30 minutes.
So far the machine has generated such noted phrases as “American carnage,” “build wall” and “Little Marco.” The White House is confident that the machine will get better and better, and are hoping it will reach optimal quality and speed by the time Trump is inevitably impeached.
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James Folta is a writer and comedian based in NYC. He has written for The New Yorker, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The American Bystander and more. He’s a performer at the UCB Theatre. Read his writing online at www.JamesFolta.com and his shortest writing at @JamesFolta.