Three Years of AI Comic Strips

3 years and 512 completed strips later, Robonk lives on!

Thanks to the Robonk fans.

It’s fun to build out a radical concept as a series. Fun to see that it works. Life is awkward when you’re a dorky guy with an undergraduate degree in communications and you have a comic strip series you don’t write or draw, and here I am. The strangest it got was at a Comic Con last year, where a surprising amount of the reaction to Robonk could be translated to “you ain’t one of us”. Imagine being the outcast to the (often) self-proclaimed outcasts. That happened. Such is life when coming up with the new things. On the upside, creating a new genre of comic strip series is awesome!

Robonk Coloring Book

There’ll likely be a Robonk coloring book out by the end of 2020.

So what’s ahead for Robonk? A pile of stuff, actually, including…

  • The first Robonk book. It’s done but hasn’t been published yet.
  • Robonk coloring book: That’s right, Robonk coloring book!
  • Some more merchandising. Last year saw the debut of a limited run of stickers and buttons, and there’ll be more in 2020.

Thanks to…

We’re over half way to strip 1,000… …and beyond!

Sunday Comic Strip Test

At the time of writing (January, 2020), Robonk is still three days a week. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday there’s a new strip and each one is three panels plus a title panel.

What would a larger Sunday style Robonk look like? I found an AI “conversation” that didn’t split well into multiple day strips but had enough dialogue for a Sunday strip with seven panels plus a title panel. Here it is. There’s no plans at this time for Sunday strips at all, and this strip is the first to not have a Session ID since the alpha level strips back in March, 2017.

Source
 ----------------------------- 
|           D A T A           |
 ----------------------------- 
9645859

SINGLE_FEMALE_SEEKING_MALE (4) Single female, seeking male

Age/Gender: 27F
need someone who can tease me...
150lbs
Height: 5'6"

Want someone who can take control of my body and make me moan with pleasure...

Really like a guy who can be honest about his relationship, whether that means you're single or attached. We are all here for a reason and sometimes it is nice to be able to talk about what we are missing in life. Looking to find one person that I can have fun with on the side, not multiple guys. I am disease and drug free, and expect that you are too!

Would really like to try new experiences. Have some hot things to do on my Bucket List... I have a wild side, and would like to be able to show it...

 ----------------------------- 
|        C H A T L O G        |
 ----------------------------- 
Welcome to your therapy session.
Your therapist's name is Robonk.

Robonk:	Is something troubling you?
you:	need someone who can tease me...
Robonk:	Are such questions much on your mind?
you:	Want someone who can take control of my body and make me moan with pleasure...
Robonk:	Your body and make you moan with pleasure?
you:	Really like a guy who can be honest about his relationship, whether that means you're single or attached.
Robonk:	Have you asked such questions before?
you:	We are all here for a reason and sometimes it is nice to be able to talk about what we are missing in life.
Robonk:	What answer would please you most?
you:	Looking to find one person that I can have fun with on the side, not multiple guys.
Robonk:	Why do you say Looking to find one person that you can have fun with on the side?
you:	I am disease and drug free, and expect that you are too!
Robonk:	Do you know anyone else who is disease and drug free?
you:	Would really like to try new experiences.
Robonk:	Does that have anything to do with the fact that your body and make you moan with pleasure?
you:	Have some hot things to do on my Bucket List...
Robonk:	Why do you say your Bucket List?
you:	I have a wild side, and would like to be able to show it...
Robonk:	Can you elaborate on that?

 ----------------------------- 
|   S C R I P T   N O T E S   |
 ----------------------------- 
SUNDAY 7 PANEL

FORWARD
you:	I want someone who can take control of my body and make me moan with pleasure.
Robonk:	Your body and make you moan with pleasure?

DOWN
you:	I really like a guy who can be honest about his relationship, whether that means you're single or attached.
Robonk:	Have you asked such questions before?

DOWN
you:	We are all here for a reason and sometimes it is nice to be able to talk about what we are missing in life.
Robonk:	What answer would please you most?

DOWN
you:	Looking to find one person that I can have fun with on the side, not multiple guys.
Robonk:	Why do you say looking to find one person that you can have fun with on the side?

FORWARD
you:	I am disease and drug free, and expect that you are too!
Robonk:	Do you know anyone else who is disease and drug free?

HALF
you:	I would really like to try new experiences.

FORWARD
Robonk:	Does that have anything to do with the fact that your body and make you moan with pleasure?

Robonkers : How Robonk Comic Strip Scripts Are Now Generated With AI

Robonk is very different from other comic strips. Most notably, it is written by 1960s-style Artificial Intelligence (AI) called ELIZA responding to online adultery dating profiles. The early process was to copy/paste the lines from the dating profiles into ELIZA. This process was notably more labor intensive than desired and time consuming. See the earlier blog entry for an idea of how things were done initially.

The comic strip created by Artificial Intelligence responding to actual online dating profiles.Robonkers is the new script generation system for Robonk. Robonkers allows me to edit profiles before they are fed into ELIZA, and then it runs all the conversations in one go. The resulting text is then manually edited for final scripts.

One of the advantages of running at a crude level early on with copy/paste is having a better idea of what the more advanced next system needed to do and how. After months of using the manual method and seeing what would help the comic strip, building the new system was pretty easy.

There’s still a ton of room for improvement for Robonkers, but as it sits, it’s far nicer than the earlier days using copy/paste. It processes 3000 profiles in about 15 seconds. That’s nice.

Jackalope vs. Jacalope

When you’re using artificial intelligence (AI) to write a bunch of a comic strip series, especially crude 1960s-style AI, it’s going to be awkward. That’s to be expected. There was that one time when the human said (in episode #00063):

Robonk panel 00063-02

…and then Robonk replied back with…

Robonk panel 00063-03

That’s going to happen when dealing with 1960s style AI. The humans have different issues.

The human lines in the Robonk comic strip come from online dating profiles. The humans also error, typically with spelling and punctuation. Here’s an example involving a recent strip. In one place, the human has jackalope spelled as “Jacalope” and of course Robonk repeats the error.

Robonk panel 0006E-01

Later on in the same person’s profile, they correctly spell jackalope:

Robonk panel 0006E-03

Upon further review, the term jackalope shouldn’t be capitalized. So, I’m now going back and correcting this edition of Robonk before posting it on the Robonk facebook page. It’s #0006E and can be seen here at Robonk.com. And yes, jackalope, like Robonk, is a portmanteau.