I have written that I prefer to use the A.I. to develop photorealistic images of things that might exist. I tend not to use the A.I. to create wild abstractions, fantasy images, or the like. Still, I’ve been moved to use the A.I. to imagine what certain things/concepts/ideas might look like. And I’m also intrigued to find out what the A.I. “knows” – or thinks it knows, and how it might imagine certain ideas. Here are a few examples of what I mean.

I asked Midjourney to produce an image that might imagine what the Roman Coliseum might have looked like in the days of ancient Rome. After much trial and error, numerous iterations, variations, and changes in the Imagine prompt, I ended up with this. It’s clear that Midjourney knows what the Coliseum is/was in Rome and has a general idea of what it looked like. The surroundings are pure A.I. invention, but it does capture the notion of ruins and/or construction. Many versions of this effort produced numerous “hallucinations,” which is when the A.I. produces something that just can’t be (like hands with 6 fingers, or walls that don’t touch the ground, or obscure things floating on the air.) It takes lots of trial and error to get out of the A.I. something that looks reasonable. Note that Midjourney does not know how many decks were/are in the Roman Coliseum.

Changing gears slightly, I was interested to what degree the A.I. could help interpret or realize an idea from literature. These two images were created in response to a prompt asking the A.I. to imagine something in the sense of the opening lines of T.S.Elliott’s Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock: “Let us go then, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky like a patient etherized on a table.”

The first image is an early image produced by the A.I. It’s purely imaginative but at least it could bear some relationship to the text (without the A.I. having the slightest idea of what the text means). The second is a late stage image after numerous iterations and variations when the A.I. is allowed to introduce new content or interpretation.

This is a late stage image produced by the A.I. in response to the prompt imagining the well-known line of John Donne’s, “No man is an island, entire unto himself.”

In the next post, I’ll discuss some ideas about creativity and imagination.

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