Artificial-intelligence algorithms have been known to do some odd things when left to their own devices. The ones that power Google Translate have been showing a weird tendency to translate gibberish from obscure languages into bizarre-sounding prophecies in English.
A subreddit devoted to odd and interesting results from Google Translate noticed the pattern in recent weeks. For example, repeatedly typing “dog” and translating it from a language like Hawaiian would yield interesting results.
Then Vice’s Motherboard site began experimenting and discovered that typing “ag” repeatedly and translating it from Irish resulted in other strange translations into English, such as, “As a result, the total number of members of the tribe of the sons of Gershon was 150,000,” and, “As the name of the LORD was written in the Hebrew language, it was written in the language of the Hebrew Nation.”
Motherboard said that some people on Twitter suggested ghosts or demons were behind the translations, or that they were drawn from private messages. A Google spokesperson denied that, telling Motherboard, “This is simply a function of inputting nonsense into the system, to which nonsense is generated.”
Whatever the reason, the translation was a fascinating glimpse at the strange things that AI can produce, such as things that appear to be speaking in tongues.