Solarpunk Presents

Podcasts about creating the future we'd like to live in

My First Peek Into the Pandora’s Box That Is Text to Image

AI generated image of a gigantic puppet-like, bright purple monster stalking through a park. It is the size of the trees.

I was working in Canva today, producing the cover for the upcoming Episode 6 of Season 2 and, whoa, there was suddenly a text-to-image option. Setting aside, for the moment, the issues associated with using AI to generate images, of course I had to put it through some paces. Know thine enemy, I could say, but to be honest, I was just curious and the text box was just sitting there, waiting patiently for me to type something in.

Long story short, at the moment, Canva’s image generator is… not fabulous… and not very intelligent. The first prompt I typed in was potatoes dancing. That was clearly not enough for the image generator to work with, but it braved it gamely, popping out a picture of smiling senior citizens dancing (or maybe they were doing a cardio workout) in a brightly lit meeting hall with a wooden floor and pleasant windows.

Yeah. Don’t ask me. I have no idea.

I had better luck when I tried with the prompt a tree full of flowers, which yielded a lifelike tree in full bloom with hydrangea blossoms. When I added “and crows” onto the prompt, it added some dark, moody birds flying through.

Of course at this point, I asked the image generator for a murder of crows. But it refused. I had trod upon forbidden ground. Ditto for when I asked it for a killer whale. Shame on me!

But ask for a giant purple people eater and ye shall receive.

A very large, very fake, very purple people eater marching through a park like a Tyrannosaurus rex.

You can even ask for a giant purple people eater eating people. Although, what you’ll get (or at least what I got) was the guy in the previous image hoisting to its maw a large cake that was topped with little buds that may have been icing flowers or may have been the heads of little red-haired people. It wasn’t clear.

All of this has got me wondering how much we’ve trained these AI’s, not just by posting pictures on the web, but by posting alt-text on the pictures. Or am I wrong about that?

Anyway, be sure to catch Season 2, Episode 6 when it comes out on March 27! Or sign up for our Patreon and listen to it as early as March 20th. Gentle Gardening With Limited Spoons, With Erin Alladin. Whether you’re young, fit, and fully abled, slightly out of shape, or facing the challenges of age and/or disability, it’s an inspiring episode about gardening successfully while minimizing/managing the effort you need to put in. After having listened to it, I’m definitely sitting here, staring out the window into the dilapidated winter chaos of the backyard, thinking I really, really, really need to give building a permaculture garden another go, although maybe after actually reading some books about permaculture garden design this time.

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