Procedural generation isn't just for video game landscapes and galaxies. The technique for creating vast amounts of realistic but uncannily superficial content goes back a long way. Pfizer used it to generate drug names in 1956, feeding code to an IBM mainframe and getting potential products in return.
James Ryan (@xfoml) posted excerpts from news article from the time (above), and it's fascinating to read how it's described for a mid-1950s lay audience to whom computers and their ways were utterly alien.
Based on the newspaper's description, Hugo (@hugovk) reimplemented the 60-year-old generator, and now you too can generate thousands of realistic but uncannily superficial drug names.
NEW DRUG NAMES
IMPROPER FOR A FAMILY MEDICINE CHEST
From the full output list I like "coughedore" -- like a stevedore, but for unloading mucus.
I wonder how long it took Pfizer to realize that procgen is useless.
Concept artist and illustrator Vlada Monakhova (artstation, ko-fi) reports that a family acquaintance is “stuck in a hotel in Saudi Arabia” but has been given a menu to work their way through until the pandemic lockdown lifts. So my mother's friend's husband is stuck in a hotel in Saudi Arabia and this is the order […]
A Volkswagen ad posted to its official Instagram account depicted an enormous disembodied white hand dragging a black man away from a Volkswagen Golf, then flicking him into a building signposted “Petit Colon”, which translates as “little colonist”. Volkswagen soon removed it an apologized. “We posted a racist advertising video on Volkswagen’s Instagram channel,” the […]
Your heart will race and your skin perspire, of course, but the real magic happens in your kidneys. Dr. Bernard Hsu reports on B.B., a 21 year old man presenting to the emergency room unconscious, having been found collapsed while studying for his final exams. Unfortunately, his worst subject just happened to be chemistry.
Promoting products is almost nothing like it was back in the Mad Men days. In fact, the digital landscape has changed the ad game so much that it barely even resembles early Grey’s Anatomy days anymore. Marketing a product digitally isn’t about the right ad slogan or color scheme. It’s about crafting the narrative around […]
Every once in a while, we see a new product come along that’s so versatile and elegantly simple that it’s strange no one’s ever gone there before. Portable lights themselves aren’t new, but there’s something about the MOGICS Coconut Light that’s so seamlessly well-designed and adaptable that it feels startlingly original. The Coconut is basically […]
With the U.S. cautiously reopening, it’s probably time to take stock of where you’re at. After spending all these weeks in the house, you’ve likely already assembled a little list of items you either realized you were missing or need to replace. And those kinds of revelations probably apply to nearly every room. We got […]