What is Loab, that disturbing face created by artificial intelligence? –

Are there ghosts in our computers? Of course not, but a recent viral Twitter thread might give the impression that something sinister is lurking behind our screens just waiting to be released. On September 6, “Loab”, a “woman” apparently created by artificial intelligence (AI), was discovered on the Internet. “the first mysterious latent space”, “frightening”, “demon”, “homosexual icon” – qualifiers hastened to define this phenomenon. All this deserves an explanation.

AI in art

To understand Loab, you have to know what’s going on with the artistic use of AI right now. Over the past few months, AI-generated art has taken off with the proliferation of tools like the Dall-E Mini, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion. These programs allow users to enter a short phrase, a “hint” that the AI ​​interprets to create an image. The transition from words to images takes a maximum of a few minutes. The resulting creations range from downright unsettling to whimsical beauty.

The phenomenon quickly sparked controversy among artists and creators, some of which sparked an “ethical and authorial black hole”. Indeed, AI generates new images from a significant amount of real art created by humans.

But AI doesn’t just take old images and remake them to create new ones. It also requires a lot of computation and math: for example, if an AI is asked to draw a hat, it doesn’t mix all the hats in its database to get the most representative amalgam. Instead, it somehow guesses what the person is looking for based on all the images it has been trained on, and creates a never-before-seen hat image. Therefore, AI-generated images should not be viewed as mere collages. This brings us to Loab.

What is Loab?

Loab is a portrait of an elderly woman, created from a mixture of human features created by an artificial intelligence art tool. The forehead does not exist. It was “created” by @supercomposite using an image. To begin with, he used a request that asked the AI ​​to create something opposite to the request. There was an incomprehensible image of the horizon line with the inscription “DIGITA PNTICS”. The author then used that sentence as a negative clue, and the AI ​​created images of an older woman with long hair and rosy cheeks. Supercomposite named it “Loab” because one of the images generated text that appears to say “LOAB”.

The next step was to strengthen the algorithms by blending other AI-generated images with images from Loab. Supercomposite asked: “Draw me something new, based on this woman.” This led to all sorts of gruesome and bloody images of decapitated people and children with horrific faces.

In her story, Supercomposite explains that Loab “haunts every photo she touches.” Which makes sense given how this AI works. She took the request, Loab’s original images, and mixed them with other images to create new renderings. As Supercomposite writes, AI can “stick to Loab’s idea.”

Supercomposite didn’t want to name the AI ​​generator it was using so as not to “advertise” the tool and “start some sort of viral trend of people doing bloody things with the tools I used.” Grotesque, disturbing, creepy, Loab even has his own Wikipedia page.

Outside the Loab

However, Loab cannot be “summoned” with another AI image generator such as Midjourney. If you use the Loab hint, you will get all sorts of images, but none of them represent this woman.

Supercomposite explained to our colleagues at that if someone enters the same negative image hint into the tool they used, they can generate Loab again. However, “the software has changed so the exact same technique is not possible, but you can work around it. »

The conclusion is that it is not possible to “summon” Loab with a digital demon that will haunt our computers. Whether this finds anyone disappointing or reassuring, the reality is that Loab doesn’t exist. article adapted by CNETFrance

Image: @supercomposite/Twitter

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