“She looks like a beautiful CG lady going through a tough time,” creator Loaba says (EXCLUSIVE)
Artificial intelligence (AI) has proven to be an inexhaustible source of fascination and fear for those who use the Internet today, which is most of us. However, it could be argued that our desire to keep the concept of artificial intelligence at bay began long before the internet existed. Movies like 1984’s Terminator teach us that if machines become self-aware, the first thing they’ll do is try to destroy us, which is worrying. To quote Wanda June in Stephen King’s Maximum Overdrive: “We made you!”
Recently, an artist/musician who calls himself Supercomposite took to Twitter to reveal a woman they’ve come to call Loab. What separated Loab from the other AI was laid out in a Twitter thread that started innocently and ended quite darkly. However, the creator of Loab has a lot of love for her and was more than willing to talk to Distractify about who Loab is and how she came to be.
So what is Loab? Baby, don’t hurt us.
lob and friends
What is Loab?
A better question to ask might be: Who is Loab? In a Twitter thread about Loab’s discovery, Supercomposite said “her presence is constant and haunts every image she touches.”
When we asked Supercomposite for answers, we also asked for an explanation in layman’s terms. If you are someone who is not very tech savvy, this is definitely for you.
It all started when Supercomposite used the negative (opposite) weight of the query “Brando::-1” (as in Marlon Brando), which threw out the logo. Of course, they assumed that the negative weight of that logo could produce Marlon Brando again. This did not happen.
“Basically, I asked to do the opposite of the logo. We are trying to go as far as possible so that the image stops being a logo,” Supercomposite told us. “Faces are very common in pictures, so it is not surprising that they fell on the face.”
But then again, the face he fell on wasn’t Marlon Brando.
In the 13 hours since the Loab thread went down: – she’s become a queer icon – people unironically believe she’s the devil – she’s been analyzed as evidence of several different kinds of bias in artificial intelligence – people are looking for a Loab movie and it all fits the Loab myth perfectly
— null (gentle) (@ghosts_hmu) September 7, 2022
Here, the “prompt” is the command you give the AI. It then takes “mountains of captioned images and basically does a statistical analysis of them,” Supercomposite said. “When you search for an AI, it tries to use your statistical ‘knowledge’ gained through this training process. It tries to statistically optimize the image to match your request.”
Of course, nothing is perfect, not even machines. Loab is “a collection of statistics that were accidentally put together by artificial intelligence and basically created a whole new coherent person”.
What’s interesting about Loab (and maybe a little scary, depending on how you slice it) is his penchant for disturbing imagery. Once it appears, its image can be reused. For some reason, the AI ”captures your features much more than celebrities you’ve seen tons of pictures of.”
Something like Loab is pretty common; what wasn’t was the fact that “she makes things explode in blood”. Supercomposite’s explanation for Loab’s terrible thinking was, “I think your little area in data distribution is right next to some nasty stuff.”
Despite the AI images it produced, we needn’t fear Loab.
In essence, combining Loab with any image would produce something that would lean heavily towards the grotesque. In a Twitter thread, Supercomposite showed what happened when Loab was combined with a rendering of a “hypercompressed glass tunnel surrounded by angels, Wes Anderson-esque.” The result was terrifying and allowed us to see what a Wes Anderson horror film would look like.
A combination of Loab/Wes Anderson style
Supercomposite chose not to share some of the disturbing results of Loab’s work. There’s no escaping the darkness they shared, but Loab seems almost alone. It’s as if he doesn’t want to participate in what he’s doing, as if he has no choice.
And, in a sense, Loab doesn’t. She is an artificial intelligence, but still at the mercy of inquiry. In fact, some of Loab’s creations can be compared to the helplessness some feel when triggered by untreated mental illness. You are you, but you are not you.
If you look at Loab not as a creature in a horror movie, but as someone trapped in her own mind, she takes on a completely different life. Her creator doesn’t find her scary at all.
“I think she looks like a good computer-generated lady going through a tough time. I want to be her friend,” Supercomposite said. And isn’t that what we all want?
You can see more of Loab’s results on the Supercomposite Twitter thread, but be warned that the thread contains photos that some may find disturbing.