AI Anchorman "@EdisonGPT"

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The future of news?

That's the first "Edison Thrustwell" tweet that I saw. Obviously satire, I thought, based on the contrast between his portrait icon and the image of his target audience:

But a bit more reading convinced me that his "human creators" are serious:

Oddly, his first tweet (on April 15) was an ad, posted by St Clair Newbern IV, an apparently real person who may be one of his creators:

I still wonder what audience his creators are targeting, with this camped-up blend of Ziggy Stardust and Jordan Peterson. [Thereby no doubt revealing my ignorance of the socio-political zeitgeist…]

Obligatory linguistic note: his texts are full of Texas regional morphology (y'all, -in', …) and stereotyped Texan word/phrase choices (Yeehaw, howdy-ho, mosey, …). But his pronunciation is pretty much General American News Personality — for example, consider the lack of monophthongization in the first syllable of virus:

Or similarly in the first syllable of ideas:

So apparently Edison's AI-generated voice is not modeled on a real Texan?



  1. Mark P said,

    May 15, 2023 @ 9:14 am

    Someone else on Twitter is making mullets with AI :

  2. Haamu said,

    May 15, 2023 @ 12:07 pm

    Obviously satire, I thought

    Seems likePoe's Law is involved here, except that this would be Inverse Poe's Law, if that's a thing. And I guess it is.

  3. Haamu said,

    May 15, 2023 @ 12:13 pm

    On another linguistic note, is that really the best that can be done with deep-fake lip sync nowadays? It's terrible. I thought the technology (and in particular the technology that is already available to general miscreants) had advanced more than that.

  4. MattF said,

    May 15, 2023 @ 1:39 pm

    Max Headroom, long ago, was much better.

  5. Keith Ivey said,

    May 15, 2023 @ 3:29 pm

    Sure, but Max Headroom was an real guy in makeup.

  6. Ellie Kesselman said,

    May 15, 2023 @ 6:44 pm

    Edison's vocabulary is full of regional dialect of the sort heard in hamlets and cities from West Texas to the Arkansas border. He says ain't, howdy-ho, hog-tied, y'all, fightin' words, sweet tater pie, pardner, ole Donald Trump, whippersnapper, wanderin' and hankerin'.

    Edison's accent and pace are not well-matched with his vocabulary! Just tossing this out there (I'm emulatin' Edison now… oh no, it's contagious!) Edison (over) enunciates the Texanisms much the way that Hillary Clinton did in Arkansas. I do similarly: Regional dialect is not so difficult to write once one learns it, but for some of us, nothing short of elocution coaching would soften our precise diction.

    At a first approximation, Edison's pronunciation resembles a mid-Atlantic seaboard accent in its speed and urgency. Sort of like this maybe?

  7. AntC said,

    May 15, 2023 @ 7:35 pm

    posted by St Clair Newberg IV, an apparently real person who may be one of his creators

    That's St Clair Newbern IV (spelling) — not that that spelling needs the "apparently" any the less in "real person".

    CEO at Live Energy Inc. | We provide commercial electricity procurement, natural gas procurement, and a wide variety of energy solutions to companies throughout North America. [LinkedIn]
    | Entrepreneur | Investor | Artist [Twitter]

    'procurement … solutions' in my experience means marketing eyewash for 'does nothing useful'. Is it for some reason difficult to buy electricity or gas in U.S.A.? In Texas?

    Presumably Thrustwell is from the 'Artist'. I rest my case.

  8. Jonathan Smith said,

    May 15, 2023 @ 9:23 pm

    neofascist agitprop appropriates downhomeerisms, aka how it's always done

  9. Duncan said,

    May 15, 2023 @ 10:52 pm

    > Is it for some reason difficult to buy electricity or gas in U.S.A.? In Texas?

    Texas? Not in the main, but in crisis, definitely. Very briefly, for political reasons Texas maintains its own power grid (with most of the rest of the continental US/Canada divided into the large east and west grids, maintaining that separation allows Texas to avoid federal/interstate regulation, including weatherization/resilience regulation).

    The low regulation and tightly competitive market resulted in relatively low electrical cost for years, but in February 2021 Texas had a severe winter power crisis, triggered in part due to offlining of natural gas generation due to lack of weatherization, thus decreasing supply during increased demand. (And initial loss of power to natural gas compression infrastructure reduced gas supplies further, triggering more generation offlining and electrical outages.)

    So this is the market effectively providing electrical and gas supply insurance… in place of the regulation and out-of-area-sourcing that provides that insurance to anywhere-in-the-48-contiguous-states-but-Texas.

  10. Tye said,

    May 16, 2023 @ 9:25 pm

    Those are exaggerated stereotypical regionalisms. A few things some Texans say and a lot of things people imagine most Texans say. Apparently chosen for ironic affect. I am getting "Birds Aren't Real" vibes from Mr. Thrustwell.

  11. TIC Redux said,

    May 21, 2023 @ 4:12 pm

    Apropos of nothing (or possibly of something above) is there already a variant of Poe's Law noting that, in the absence of a clear signifier, any sarcastic/rhetorical question in a comment thread will inevitably be interpreted, and answered, as if it were an actual inquiry in search of an answer?…

  12. Dan Riley said,

    May 25, 2023 @ 4:47 pm

    Max Headroom was supposedly modeled from a fictional reporter named Edison Carter (both portrayed by the same actor).

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