A bot that writes Mike Hosking opinion columns

  • 29/04/2018
Mike Hosking.
Mike Hosking. Photo credit: TVNZ

A Kiwi artist has created a bot that writes opinion columns in the style of conservative broadcaster Mike Hosking.

Auckland-based Joshua Drummond fed a number of Mr Hosking's recent columns into "an AI predictive text-bot thing" called Botnik to see what it would spit out.

Botnik "works a bit like a mix of MadLibs and what happens if you mash the middle button in the predictive text app for your smartphone", Mr Drummond explained on his blog.

"It spits out a variety of potential words, and a human user gets to pick what will be the next one in a sentence."

The Botnik app made headlines earlier this year when its creators used it to write a surreal new Harry Potter chapter, called Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash.

Mr Hosking's opinions often appear on talkback radio station Newstalk ZB and in the New Zealand Herald.

"Even if you can't stomach his sounds-of-a-dying-wasp-nest drone on radio, Mike Hosking's most-days printed mindfart is a must read," Mr Drummond wrote on his blog. "It's like having a portal straight into the mind of every slightly shitty person you know."

Mr Drummond said if Mr Hosking's employers wanted to cut costs, they could fire him and use the bot instead.

The article it created includes suspiciously Hosking-like phrases, such as: "Why Labour are the Government doesn't directly pan out. New Zealand is very competent as a country, apart from anything you need to change," and: "If Jacinda is the gap between that and what we have sympathy for, she'll argue cars out of the city."

Mr Drummond said he'd like broadcaster Jeremy Wells to read the column in his infamous 'Like Mike' voice, in which he uncannily emulates Mr Hosking's mannerisms and speech.

"I honestly think that reads more like a Mike Hosking column than most Mike Hosking columns," Mr Drummond wrote.

Read his full fake Mike Hosking column here.