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.
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.