Code recreates Pfizer’s 1956 effort to procedurally generate drug names
See the original posting on Boing Boing
Procedural generation isn’t just for video game landscapes and galaxies. The technique for creating vast amounts of realistic but uncannily superficial content goes back a long way. Pfizer used it to generate drug names in 1956, feeding code to an IBM mainframe and getting potential products in return.
James Ryan (@xfoml) posted excerpts from news article from the time (above), and it’s fascinating to read how it’s described for a mid-1950s lay audience to whom computers and their ways were utterly alien.
NEW DRUG NAMES
IMPROPER FOR A FAMILY MEDICINE CHEST
From the full output list I like “coughedore” — like a stevedore, but for unloading mucus.
I wonder how long it took Pfizer to realize that procgen is useless. Read the rest