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Senior creates Scott Brown speech generator for I.S.

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Ever wondered what your daily conversations and other verbal interactions would sound like in the signature speaking style of Scott Brown, the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students? Wonder no more. This year, Riley Watson ’18, an enterprising computer science student, is devoting their Independent Study to harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to emulate Brown’s unique vernacular.

Watson gave the Vice exclusive access to the software in its beta phase. We had a Q&A with it.

Sparrow Oldbrush: Hi Dean Brown, how are you?

Computer: I’m doin’ pretty good! You should stop by my office sometime!

SO: Dean Brown, why did we have to demolish Scot Lanes?

C: Well, we made this decision after brainstorming with a lot of stakeholders, and, and… Well, ya know, if you think about it from a student life perspective, basically, you have two groups — you have students, and, ah, well, you have students… So I guess there’s only one group- and, well, thinking about it from a student life perspective, the question is “How do you put in place a structure that’s gonna empower the most students to have the most fun?” Ya know, like Bentham and Hume and all those guys. So, thinking about it from a student life perspective, you basically have an Apollo 13-type scenario here, where you want to try and figure out, “Hey, so if I have this student right here and this student over there, how do I bring those two stu-dents together into community with one another in a way that’s gonna, ya know-” and so on. So that was really the thought process behind the Scot Lanes decision, it’s really all a matter of student life.

SO: Interesting.

C: But enough of me talking, I want to hear from you, student!

SO: Well, ya know, things are going pretty well this semester, except for my math class — it’s really-

C: Awesome. Well, I gotta run to this meeting, but you should stop by my office sometime and we can chat it up then!

Next, we wanted to see what Brown’s speech patterns sounded like outside of the con-text of his duties as dean of students, so we had our other Goofs editor, Silly Crashtest, make some small talk with Watson’s program.

Silly Crashtest: Do you like carrots?

C: Well, I like to think of it more as not “Do I like carrots?” but “Do carrots really, ya know, kind of empower me to fully engage all the structures that are in place to help me help my staff help the students help themselves to invest their bandwidth in a way that’s gonna maximize the ex-periences they have that matter to them?” So, ya know, if that’s the question, then the answer, really, lies in this other question of, ya know, “Who am I and what is the meaning of life?” Like, am I this balding, 50-year-old man or am I this young frat dude, ya know? Either way, I’m gonna wear a baseball cap, but- haha, yeah. No, but seriously, if you wanna know if I like carrots, you really have to start by asking, Am I happy with the student experience we provide here? And then, ultimately, ya know, you can ask me questions all day long but I’m just the guy that you see at the gym at 6 a.m., like, really, we need to be asking this question to all of our community’s stakeholders — students, faculty, staff…

SC: But I really just want to know if you like carrots?

C: Well, let me ask you this: do you like carrots?

SC: No.

C: Well, there’s your answer.

SC: …

C: You already have all the answers inside of you; I’m just the guy that sits behind the desk and stares lovingly at relics of Apollo 13.

Finally, we threw the program a curveball to see if it could handle it.

SO: The 2018-19 goals for the Division of Student Affairs mention a desire to deepen “residentiality.” Can you define residentiality?

C: So, the residentiality piece of this really boils down to, Do you like Apollo 13? And the answer there is the residentiality piece of this really boils down to, Do you like Apollo 13? And the answer there is the residentiality piece of this really boils down to, Do-

At this point, Watson informed us that we had encountered a known bug in the software that causes the speech generator to enter an infinite loop — essentially, talking in circles.

“I’m still trying to decide if that’s truly a bug or not,” Watson admitted. “Like, is it unrealistic? Or just hyper-realistic?”

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