People have been inputting all manner of whacky things into AI image generators in recent months.
However, one example captures the weird balance of cool and disturbing more than most.
You can go into an AI generator and instruct it to show what people would look like as different kinds of animals, or what the animals would look like as people.
As is often the case with AI images, some ideas clearly work better than others.
There are some genuinely interesting-looking images here, though one in particular really doesn’t seem to have worked at all.
Usually, AI-generated images of people fit into an uncanny valley of looking almost real. But something usually doesn’t feel right, whether it’s a weird-looking hand, or the face being almost there, but not quite.
In this case, however, where the input to the generator has been to create animals as people, it seems to have worked rather well. Perhaps, because they’re not trying to be too human, the outcome proves to be more effective.
One picture in particular, of what appears to be a mantis-human hybrid, looks like something that you could see in a sci-fi adventure movie.
Others also look like weird alien species you might expect to encounter on adventures in the TARDIS or Starship Enterprise. It makes a change from cardboard prosthetics.
Another image shows a mixture between a human and a fish, and again it actually looks surprisingly cool. It’s a bit like Star Wars concept art, or inspiration for an adventure game in the stars.
Others however, do not work so well. The AI image of a tortoise man literally just looks like the head of a balding middle-aged man mounted on a tortoise’s body.
And one seemed to take the brief in the completely wrong direction.
You might expect a human-rhinoceros hybrid to be bipedal with rhino-like features. It could have big shoulders, a horn, a gruff demeanour something like the alien Judoon featured in Doctor Who.
There’s a precedent is what I’m saying.
So it’s deeply perplexing that for the human rhino the AI seemed to just give up. Rather than any connection, it just made an image of a rhino, but with a human superimposed over the back legs. Taken the wrong way it could look a little unfortunate, frankly.
Clearly AI is a very hit and miss game. Though I won’t deny, there are some genuinely interesting results here.
Nonetheless, AI should still be treated with some caution. The designs have to draw on existing artwork to create the images, and at times have even sparked copyright rows as what they create looks a bit too close to an artist’s work.
It’s certainly interesting, but best used as inspiration rather than an end in itself.