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Character Names

AI Has a Limited Cast

By Judey Kalchik Published 6 months ago Updated 3 months ago 3 min read
15
created by the author using Canva

Type 'common character names in AI fiction' into a search bar and you get a LOT of results. Here are two, which explain exactly what this chapter is NOT about:

I DID find one, however, that comes close to our topic of names that AI assigns to the characters in the content it produces. This article, from January 2023, explores the common names that AI used when it was producing the script for a movie.

As the article's author discovered, the cast of characters became repetitive and predictable. He did further research into the historical first names, last names, and professions of movie characters, and was not surprised that the AI-generated names closely matched the movie names. This is to be expected since AI uses massive data dumps in order to produce content.

This is also true in written content that is AI generated or assisted.

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Common Character First Names and Variations

Our example pieces, which were all published on Vocal 8/18/23, contained many of these names. However, in order to make a more complete list the AI-assisted/generated content identified on 8/25/23 were also scanned for names, too.

  1. Aiden
  2. Alarion
  3. Alex/Alexander
  4. Alistair
  5. Amelia
  6. Aria
  7. Aurelia
  8. Aurelius
  9. Aurora
  10. Daniel
  11. David
  12. Elara
  13. Eldar
  14. Eleanor
  15. Eliza
  16. Emily
  17. Emma
  18. Ethan
  19. Evelyn
  20. Gabriel
  21. Helen
  22. Isabella
  23. Jack
  24. Jake
  25. James
  26. Kevin
  27. Leo
  28. Liam
  29. Lily
  30. Lucas
  31. Lyra/Lira
  32. Lyriel
  33. Lyrion
  34. Maria
  35. Mark
  36. Maya
  37. Max
  38. Mia
  39. Olivia
  40. Sam
  41. Sara/Sarah
  42. Seraphina
  43. Sophie/Sophia
  44. Thomas/Tom/Tomas
  45. Timmy
  46. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    Finding the Commonalities Among Names

Although this is a sample of less that 50 AI-generated pieces, there are interesting commonalities that give insight into how AI assigns the names to each character.

Names shown bold and underlined above each begin with 'Au', and these are the winged characters that had the name:

  • Aurelia : bat
  • Aurelius : Phoenix
  • Aurora : butterfly

A larger sample will need to be checked to see if a name beginning with 'Au' is assigned to only winged creatures within the content AI generates.

Names shown bold and italicized above are magical and otherworldly characters. These names favor the letters 'A', 'L', and 'R', but more than looking alike they roll off the tongue with the same rhythm and movement. Several were used in more than one of the samples; here are their roles:

  • Alarion : alien
  • Alistair : wise sorcerer
  • Elara : girl traveler to space, girl that walked through a portal, explorer that found mystical cave, a young companion, enchanted girl from the woods
  • Eldar: noted as an 'enigmatic figure' and a traveler
  • Lyra/Lira : gentle healer, space woman
  • Lyriel : alien woman
  • Lyrion: alien male
  • Seraphina : malevolent sorceress, mage from Eldoria

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Last Names May Seem Familiar

It is unusual to have a character identified with a last name in AI generated content. Usually it shows a person in authority: mayor, doctor, teacher, parent, scientist, etc.

Here are the last names found in our sample content:

  • Anderson
  • Blackthorn
  • Blackwood
  • Hawthorne
  • Ramirez
  • Thompson
  • Williams

The bold and italic names are much like location names in AI content, a mix and match mashup.

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The Unnamed

A very large presence in AI generated content has no name. Much like a NPC (non-playable character) in a roleplaying or online game, these unnamed exist to interact with the main characters and/or scenery.

They are most often 'the villagers' or 'the townspeople', 'the neighbors', and if the setting is non-human: 'the school of fish', 'the cat colony', etc.

author screen shot

Sometimes only the name of the location is used, further depersonalizing the narrative.

screen shot by author
screen shot by author

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The more you scan AI generated content the more you will notice variations of these common names.

The next chapter is on: Story Arcs.

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The content above is from my work in progress, described in this Vocal post:

The previous chapter is Location Names.

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Please subscribe to get a FREE notification of the next chapter in this guide, as well as my other newly published Vocal content.

And while you are here, please add a comment below: What other common names have you noticed? Did you spot any of the AI keywords in this chapter?

Self-helpNonfiction
15

About the Creator

Judey Kalchik

It's my time to find and use my voice.

Poetry, short stories, memories, and a lot of things I think and wish I'd known a long time ago.

You can also find me on Medium

And please follow me on Threads, too!

Reader insights

Outstanding

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Comments (11)

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  • Novel Allen19 days ago

    I never paid attention to the names, but the lilt of the stories are all the same. Instantly recognizable. I should pay more attention. Very informative article and chapter.

  • J. S. Wade6 months ago

    The more we publish the more we feed the AI monster. Maybe I will encourage everyone to use “Judey” in every piece and see if we can move the needle. 😎😂 Good article Judey.

  • Naomi Gold6 months ago

    This was informative and entertaining. LOL @ the AI love of names with otherworldly or winged connotations. I so rarely write fiction, but when I do, the characters name themselves. I’m loving these well researched chapters.

  • Cendrine Marrouat6 months ago

    Another excellent chapter in your guide! I can see a book coming!

  • Continuing well. Great info.

  • Heather Hubler6 months ago

    So very interesting! Thank you for putting this together and sharing it :)

  • Dana Crandell6 months ago

    Thanks for another useful addition to your guide!

  • JBaz6 months ago

    Interesting, We may see a whole new generation of unique names.

  • Atomic Historian6 months ago

    Thank you for this Judey. I read it earlier. Thought I left a comment. Now I'm extra glad Alex decides to go stick with his cover name of Raul 🤣

  • Ian Read6 months ago

    Shame, a lot of these are good names. I use Alistair and other Scottish based names (call it my own heritage bias). Also, does AI have a thing for His Dark Materials or something??

  • Jay Kantor6 months ago

    - They forgot 'Judey' our in-house 'Character' - Jay

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