The drought of our fantasies

December 26, 2023

It's tempting and easy to get lost in the imaginary world of artificial intelligence creations. It's also frustrating. No matter how well you describe your vision, the robots do as they please.

I asked both DALL-E (offered free by Bing, so no accurate control) and Midjourney (paid package) to describe a man, one knee on the ground, draped in a veil with symbols inscribed. The man must have stood before a stained-glass window depicting astronomical figures in a ruined temple.

Don't ask the man to be naked. Oh no! Beautiful nudity, however discreet, is not part of the morality inscribed in the circuits of these robots. I can, of course, understand why, even if it's a pity.

Generally speaking, DALL-E is more faithful to the basic instructions. As for Midjourney, he (or she?) only deals with the big theme. But Midjourney offers the opportunity to choose and transform some regions of what has been created. It uses the Discord forum, which allows us to see other people's creations. Much ado about nothing.

In both cases, the images can be beautiful or totally meaningless. They also often make you dream. I cling to them, spinning out of control, leaving the present to occupy another.

The idea of a temple in ruins, yet occupied by studious monks, obsesses me a little... I never ask to illustrate women because I'm only sending my limited soul centred on my own little world by instructing platforms.

The sky's the limit here, as the English say. Production is abundant, fleeting, with no tomorrow. I may have lived in one of those monasteries from another era, in another life if there was another life. A fantasy of silence and abandonment.

However, the frontier of what I can achieve is commensurate with the strength of my imagination and general culture. As I scroll through the descriptions on Discord, I realize the dizzying complexity of styles and ways of doing things. Do real artists have more fun generating images that satisfy them?

I use accessible or affordable tools. I imagine there are places where the artistic splendours of genuine young creators feed the circuits of cyborgs' brains. But the drug is the same in the end? Sooner or later, our fantasies dry up.

If only this outpouring of imagination could bring peace to the minds of Men and Women...

All Bing DALL-E images except the second one from Midjourney