Analogies, Strangeization: How AIs Tango with our Brain.

I asked an AI, ruDALLE-XL, to make images of a dream.

This AI is a fun one, it’s easy to disturb her (therefore to inspire her).

It’s not the only one: I asked DALLE 2 (OpenAI, Google’s text-to-image AI) to draw me “Slow Melancholy” and I got this snake shell with leaves. Not bad, good picture composition and light. It looks like a photo, and that’s it.

Now, look at these pictures. The first one looks like clouds over a lake (but on the right, they look like something else). The second one shows some “things”, in the morning on a green land. But what are they? The third one shows the silhouette of a woman. She’s probably on the beach, looking a… well… what?

Our intelligence, or our way of understanding reality, is based on ANALOGY. When we see something, our brain is trained to “link” it with something we already know.

“Oh, it looks like a cloud”.

Douglas Hofstadter wrote an entire book about this idea. He shows us a page full of the letter “A”. Some of them we’ve never seen, but we know they’re “A”s.

It becomes interesting when we see the strangeness produced by AIs.

Image 1: a red sphere emerges from a… flower?

Image 2: something (an animal?), jumps on the sand?

Image 3: some fabric, or maybe a creature under the sea?

We would like to know, but we can’t.

It’s a bit disturbing, or ugly. It’s beautiful, maybe, who knows?

Is it a leaf? An animal? Who’s that lady? What does she think?

Could we write a poem about one of these 6 pictures? Invent a painting from it?

One quality of a good picture today is to stop the gaze, to stop the viewer’s eye, wandering fastly in the world made of images.

AI-made images, some of them, have this quality. Our brain stops because it tries to understand. Is it a bird in the night? Watching what? Why is the moon wrapped in this shape?

Strangeization is a way for the artist to “add strange elements” to a piece of art, in the purpose to catch back an audience who has seen everything and is hard to get attention from.

Here, the process is: make plenty of images with a prompt (words that describe), and choose one.

What will you make?

Strangeization Tool & Eyebrow Criteria (or type this word in my blog’s search engine).

Thanks for reading!