A Nightmare Face Is Haunting AI Art, And There’s A Reason We Shouldn’t Look Away : ScienceAlert

She’s out there somewhere, hiding in a parallel universe of possibilities. All you have to do to summon him is type the right prompt into the AI ​​image generator.

Like digital magic, the words will reveal the eerie face of a middle-aged woman with dead eyes, a blank stare, and a disturbing grimace.

Her name is Loab (pronounced “lobes”) and she was “discovered” by an artist based in Sweden called Supercomposite on Twitter.

Supercomposite is one of the first wave of modern creators to explore the realms of text transformation AI generators. This year, while experimenting with negative prompts (which require machine learning algorithms to find the extreme opposite of something), the artist stumbled upon a creepy face.

When Supercomposite ran the prompt again, they said the same woman returned, this time next to the word “loab.”

“The AI ​​played her easier than most celebrities. Her presence is persistent and she haunts every image she touches,” Supercomposite wrote on Twitter in a September 2022 thread about Loab’s discovery.

“Sit down. This is a real horror story that is downright scary.”

With a hook like that, it’s no wonder Loab started taking the internet by storm. The image of this mysterious woman is now so well known that she even has her own Wikipedia page.

Part of Loab’s secret is what she represents. Loab’s figure has become a kind of modern “tronie”, a form of art from the Dutch Golden Age that exaggerates facial expression. – one such does not represent a person but an idea.

Loab’s allegory is only slightly scarier than that saythe theme of the most famous thrones with the name A girl with a pearl earring. Even more profoundly, it was not created by an artist who could tell us more about the idea they were trying to represent.

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Among the hundreds of iterations of Loab, Supercomposite has many features built into it divided or screaming children in the background. Some of the images created by artificial intelligence were so grotesque that the artist decided not to share them publicly.

“I took Loab apart and put her back together. She’s a new island in a latent space we don’t know how to find with text queries.” writes artist on Twitter.

“She finds everyone sooner or later. You just have to know where to look,” Supercomposite adds.

Loaba has attracted the attention of the world not only for its nightmarish qualities. Pulled from the Abyss through what the Supercomposite calls an “Crash Statistical Crash”The terrifying woman represents a new era of creativity that we may or may not be ready for.

Brendan Murphy, a photographer and lecturer in digital media at Central Queensland University in Australia, spends much of his free time thinking about the future of artificial intelligence and sampling image and text generators.

As technology has recently advanced, he thinks the art world is heading for a paradigm shift, similar to when photography came on the scene in the early 1800s.

These days, when Murphy uses AI to create art, he thinks of it like landscape photography, wandering around a place looking for interesting things to capture. Except in this case, the landscape he explores is a kind of parallel universe of human art.

After all, AI generators are trained on human knowledge, culture, and artistic traditions, which means we could have done anything they create.

These unrealized possibilities are now available to humans, and Murphy and Supercomposite are among the first to join the hunt.

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“There are things that you see that you’re interested in that you really want to amplify and really want to go in that direction,” Murphy explains to ScienceAlert.

“There’s no reason to go down those roads. And there’s probably really good reasons why people never went down those roads. Because it’s probably never going to impress anyone or sell anything.”

This is not to say that using AI to create art is frivolous. Instead, Murphy says AI is a tool that artists can use to advance their artistic practice. And every now and then a valuable figure like Loab emerges from the abyss.

“I think Loab is a great story. It’s not just technology. It looks at what drives technology. It looks at the possibilities of technology,” he explains.

“And I think that’s great. I think it’s a valid piece of art. Much more valid than just making a particular image of an AI. There’s a lot of thinking, a lot of experimentation, a lot of iteration.”

Anne Ploin, a digital sociologist at the Oxford Internet Institute who studies the potential impact of machine learning on creative work, agrees.

“AI models can extrapolate in unexpected ways [and] to draw attention to a completely unrecognized factor in a particular style of painting,” says Ploin.

“But machine learning models are not autonomous. They will not create new artistic movements by themselves.”

Murphy and other art experts say it’s doubtful that artificial intelligence will erase human creativity, at least not completely. After all, art only exists if people appreciate it, and as a species we tend to be pretty biased about our abilities.

In the future, AI-generated artwork may encourage us to question artistic traditions and explore our emotional responses to images, Murphy says.

But we are entering a world where many writing and painting services could become redundant, wiping out the work of many ghostwriters, illustrators, designers and photographers.

The explosion of AI-generated art in recent months has raised concerns that algorithms are weeding out artists by replicating their distinctive styles.

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The best human artists will no doubt continue to compete with artificial intelligence, and Murphy suspects that those creators who rely on their humanity will be the most successful in the future.

A public face and identity that is tangible and real may be more important than ever for artists. “No matter how apps like Lens shake up the way art is made, the artist’s personality remains an important context for their work,” Murphy recently wrote in The Conversation.

ChatGPT is an AI-based text generator that was publicly released in November 2022. It’s called a chat generative pre-trained transformer with an engine based on estimating whether certain words in a block of text will follow each other, unlike the supercharged version of the phone’s sensitive text feature.

Like Loab, the program’s responses seem to have a ghostly presence that tests the limits of human knowledge and creativity. Although it doesn’t take much for the veneer to fall off, revealing its wiring as a dice-throwing “parrot” playing the necessary strings of words to fool us.

Any wisdom it imparts is still up to us to discern and appreciate. When asked how AI is changing art, ChatGPT agrees with Murphy:

” Artificial intelligence is changing the way art is created, perceived and experienced. AI algorithms can be used to create new art forms such as music, poetry and visual art. These algorithms can also be used to analyze and interpret existing works of art into new ones. and in interesting ways. In addition, AI technology is being used to create interactive art installations and performances that can respond to and interact with viewers in real time. Overall, AI allows artists to create and explore new expressions and viewers to experience art in new and exciting ways.”

The boundaries of artistic practice are expanding, and Loab is just the beginning.


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