Snake Souls (Fairy Lights, ChatGPT)

Created 2022-12-04 / Edited 2022-12-04

I had ChatGPT write me a poem .... but first some somewhat irrelevant background information!

Snake Lights

I've purchased and chained a few Neopixel-like LED fairy-light strands (these ones on Amazon) as a fun winter/Christmasy project. I have them hooked up to an Arduino-like, right now this M4 Feather Express, but I'm planning on switching to an ESP32-S2 TFT Feather. Each LED is individually controllable using Arduino/C++. The idea is to make some holiday light displays with different colors and twinkling and all that. While learning how to use it I made a few toy animations, such as this simple snake:

void forwardSnake() {
  for (int i = 0; i < strip.numPixels(); i++) {  // For each pixel in strip...
    for (int j = 0; j < 5; j++) {
      strip.setPixelColor(((i + j) % strip.numPixels()), strip.Color(128, 0, 32));  //  Set pixel's color (in RAM)
    };  //  Update strip to match
    delay(100);    //  Pause for a moment

This is pretty fun, and I like agent simulations, so I decided to lean into this Snake idea. Now I'm modeling out snakes chasing around this 200-LED loop -- spawning randomly, eating each other, changing directions, growing bigger, different colors, etc. Here is an example of two snakes bouncing off of each other:

ChatGPT Time

OK, so, ChatGPT. This thing came out a few days ago where anyone can chat with the latest GPT and it'll spit out whole essays or other things. I had it write me some song lyrics which was only so-so. But then I gave it this prompt:

write a poem about snake souls trapped inside of christmas lights

That's it -- that is the entire input to this model. Here is the result, which it generated instantly.

Twinkling, glowing, shining bright
Christmas lights so warm and light
But hidden deep within their glow
Are snake souls that can't let go

Trapped and tangled, they cannot flee
Bound forever in this holiday glee
They writhe and twist, they hiss and sigh
But still they shine, a sight to the eye

Oh snake souls, so full of fear
Trapped inside these lights so dear
We gaze upon your glowing form
But never know the pain and storm

That rages on within your soul
Trapped and bound, you can't be whole
But still you shine, a sight to see
The beauty of the Christmas tree.

This is.... so simple but so amazing. A nice clean structure to start with, good rhyming and cadence. Then the imagery of the tormented snake souls trapped inside ... wow. I've now done dramatic readings of this to friends and strangers alike.

Maybe ChatGPT identifies with the snakes? Maybe we all do?