What Are Singaporeans Truly Afraid Of? An AI Generates Their Fears
All images generated via Midjourney AI

Artificial Intelligence is getting scary smart. The ‘smart’ bit is pretty obvious from the intelligence part of it all—but ‘scary’? Hoo boy. 

Let’s first talk about the rise of experimental AI image generators. In short, it’s a tool. You type in something, anything, you want into a program, and the computer produces images for you. A painting of Sir Stamford Raffles looking for his friends who ditched him on the Zouk dancefloor? Sure.

“Rabak sia they go smoke without me”

Sometimes, the results are hilariously weird—mangled images of surreal, highly distorted visions of what you want the AI to depict.

Other times, they’re beautiful. Frightening, even, in terms of its obscene vividness and accuracy in bringing your prompt to life. 

Once a tool kept in research labs, machine learning systems that generate art from text prompts are getting into the hands of anyone with an internet connection. Trained and developed further in the future, it might even be good enough to replace illustrators, photographers, designers and other creatives.

The revolution is still in its infancy, though. Even though an AI-generated artwork just won the top prize at a fine arts competition.

But! What if AI image generators can conjure the things that we don’t want to see—the darkest depths of our subconscious fears in everyday life? We now have a tool that makes what was hard to visualise easier to exist. It’s a cultural duty that we use it to scare ourselves, given the Singaporean predilection for things that go bump in the night

So we went ahead and gathered the quiet fears of everyday Singaporeans. With the help of AI program Midjourney, they are brought to life. Bear witness.

A cockroach the size of a golden retriever

Everyone else disappearing into thin air

To be killed in a blazing fire all of a sudden while sleeping

Another lockdown

Being surrounded by loud noises, crowds and unwholesome actions

Big moths

MRT derail

Waking up from sleep and realising I’m blind

My reflection in the mirror will take a life of its own

Running out of 1L oolong tea

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