Robots can make childhood more colorful.

This month Crayola unveiled their newest crayon color — a shade of bright blue — along with a contest to name it;  the company will announce a winner in September. People have tossed around some fun names for the crayon on Twitter, like “Bright Earth Blue” and “Blue Tang,” but their ideas may pale in comparison to the color names a robot is already dreaming  up.

“Stanky Bean”, “Catbabel”, “Stoner Blue” and “Snowbonk”. Good luck against names like these, team human. (Jay Zehngebot/illustration)

Optics industry research scientist Janelle Shane recently published a set of computer-generated colors with creative names like “Stanky Bean,” “Turdly” and “Snowbonk”  that could easily contend in Crayola’s next crayon naming contest.

A kid in the future might only know algorithmically generated colors. (Jay Zehngebot/illustration)

To get these names, Janelle fed a computer algorithm 7,700 different Sherwin-Williams paint colors, names and other information. The computer deduced patterns between the letters that compose color names and the colors they identify. Training the machine to cook up these names took less than an hour, and now this algorithm could generate 2 million names in about a day.

While machines take on an increasing number of creative tasks, human roles will have to evolve. (Jay Zehngebot/illustration)