Another AI Prediction Coming True

I remember many times when opinions have flown about AI being incapable of adequately simulating a human. The famous Turing Test is one example, but I remember a decade ago having a discussion with a fellow film buff about the eventuality that game engines would allow machinima to replace human actors.

This stuff is going to creep up on us. It has been creeping up on us for the last decade but, naturally, we were too busy focusing on the errors. But, so too were the AI programmers. I don’t see Midjourney AI’s problem with hands as anything but a very short-term affair. In point of fact, the new version does much better. Now, Stable Diffusion is also (according to pre-release reviews) [I do not chase pre-releases, so I am not privy to the tech] fixing hands and adding the ability to render text.

Years ago, when I was arguing playfully with my friend, I reminded him that we were already surrounded by neural networks performing tasks we mostly reserved for humans, like image-to-text and language translation. Those sort of crept up on us. So did the text generation – I’ve posted before about the local news-generator programs that write many “city desk” articles. [stderr] And, does it matter? If a person has a ghost-writer, or a ghost-writer AI, are they more or less authentic?

By the way, I have an amusing new trick (feel free to use it to post your comments) Tell ChatGPT: “please rewrite the following in the style of the old testament, with added drama:”

ChatGPT AI and mjr: rewrite

Vaguely I am reminded of The Sisterhood (Andrew Eldritch from The Sisters of Mercy) track “Finland Red, Egypt White” which is pieces of a weapons/ammunition specification set to music. Setting manuals to music, or rewriting them as old testament form, does not seem to be a new part of popular culture. That is, it seems, the point: AIs provide rapid and deep remixing and blending of popular culture tropes, into new popular culture tropes. [Now, let me throw off a multizillion-dollar idea: write an AI that is trained to take arbitrary pictures and write “meme” captions. may not be taken] In my meandering thoughts about how creativity works, I accidentally hypothesized it works that way oppositional generative networks work. I guess that was obvious. It is interesting how AI began to really break into being successful when they combined emulations of human cognition with the massively larger models that Moore’s law makes computable.

Which brings me to the point of this posting:

This is remarkably good. Of course it’s not perfect, but next year it will be. It’s still – as good as Elvis, who I don’t think was particularly good, to be frank. Let’s not argue about that. He’s a significant cultural icon and, like other cultural icons, AI are going to be targeted to emulate and eventually replace them. [I also heard an AI version of some Eminem that really nailed down his whiny delivery and speed.]

My other benchmark, of ${whoever} riding a skateboard, also seems to be improving.

Midjourney AI and mjr: “elvis in his black leather outfit riding a skateboard onstage at Madison Square Garden.”

OK, Midjourney’s getting hands improved, no doubt skateboards will be next.


  1. dangerousbeans says

    On the topic of Elvis i like Bob Vylan’s take:

    All this seems to be humans over-estimating our specialness. “Humans are the only animal [that uses tools/ has culture/ does art/ ect]”
    Given enough time and energy we should assume we can replicate whatever humans do.

  2. Ketil Tveiten says

    Says something interesting about priorities that the people playing with this technology prioritized getting boobs right over fingers

  3. Dunc says

    Says something interesting about priorities that the people playing with this technology prioritized getting boobs right over fingers

    I think that’s probably more an artefact of the training data set. Walk around any art gallery, chances are you’re going to see a lot of boobs.

  4. sonofrojblake says

    Walk around any art gallery, chances are you’re going to see a lot of boobs.

    Indeed. But you’re also going to see a lot of hands. Crucially, though, basically all the boobs you see will be very, very similar to each other visually. Crudely, they’ll be hanging there off the front of the torso of a woman, and about the most variation you’ll get is whether they’re in profile or face-on, large or small, bare or clothed.

    Hands, on the other, er… are complicated – so many joints and possible positions, many of which obscure other parts of themselves. And given that the AI doesn’t know anything about anatomy – doesn’t know what hands ARE – it’s not surprising that the training set of all possible hand positions isn’t a great guide necessarily to what hands are and what it’s realistic to expect them to do.

    Interesting skateboard. As part of my collection of ludicrous forms of transport*, I have a Rip Stick, which is a fantastic piece of equipment. What Elvis has there is a Rip Stick with an extra wheel in the middle, which would likely render it unusable… possibly. Certainly he’d have a hard time doing what he’s doing, which is riding it backwards. That definitely wouldn’t work.

    *I have a Max Skatebike, two unicycles (one of them a five-footer), a Solowheel (basically a Segway without all the extraneous shit you don’t need, like handlebars, that post up the front, and one of the wheels), a Sinclair A-bike, a Rip Stick, a Razor Scooter, an e-scooter, some heelgliding wheels… I think I should probably stop there. And yes, I can and do ride them all.

  5. Ketil Tveiten says

    @6: nono, I mean people seem to care more about making porn than making hands not look monstrous

  6. Reginald Selkirk says

    This all started decades ago, when some bands started using drum machines instead of real live drummers.

  7. Jazzlet says

    Most of the tits I’ve seen from the”art” AI’s don’t look like natural tits.The tits they produce usually look like a cartoon version of tits.

  8. dangerousbeans says

    @Reginald Selkirk 10
    nah, it started centuries ago when they invented punch card looms and any peasant could just replicate a weaving pattern

  9. says

    Most of the tits I’ve seen from the”art” AI’s don’t look like natural tits.

    A lot of the training sets are based on current beauty standards in Korea. So, lots of “shelf boob” from implants and tiny noses and plump lips. It is actually difficult not to have itty bitty waist and huge Kardashian booty.

    The AIs are a mirror and reflect back the common denominator. There are training sets that give more realistic breasts, but you can also get quite ridiculous. It makes me reflect on the question of what is desirable and whether desire is an effect of scarcity. I suspect its more complicated.

  10. says

    Possibly the most interesting consequence of this recent surge in AI, at least in the long view, is the way it seems to be helping people answer questions like ‘what is intelligence’ from the back end. These systems are perhaps the earliest research tools for examining aspects of cognition, something we’ve never before been able to do practically, from outside the human head.

  11. brightmoon says

    Colossus:The Forbin Project kinda scared me when I first watched it. Oh well Eric Braeden is still a nice looking guy !

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