AI image generators have been around for a while. The concept is simple and terrifying: you type a description into an online program, and that program generates an image based on the information it has managed to gather about the world via machine learning. We had yet to try it, but when we discovered that the design ruler of all things social media, Canva, had created its own, we had to take the plunge. We’ve included our favorite results, selected for incredible accuracy and incredible lack thereof.
Up First: A Circular Purgatory
What’s a more iconic Moore County feature than the ~historic~ Pinehurst Traffic Circle? We first typed in “traffic circle,” to tame results. Our second attempt, “traffic circle with lots of trees that everyone hates,” yielded this spectacular design:
Take that, traffic engineers. We’ve one-upped you. While the edges of this AI image are lost to the algorithm, legend has it that one blue, malformed transport pod is still going in circles today. At least it has its headlight on for safety.
Then: A New Species
Judging by the amount of social media posts from people who think there is a population of feral ferrets on our local golf courses, we understand that the fox squirrel is not a well-known creature. It is not, however, this:
A fox face and fur perfectly distributed on a squirrel’s body. To be fair, foxes, squirrels, and fox squirrels are present on local golf courses, so this idea may just be ahead of its time. It even appears perfectly proportioned — but the size of the flag is a bit disconcerting. We also didn’t get to see a tail, which could have really pushed this bit of animal engineering over the edge. Whatever you’d call it, just be prepared for an attack. He might not be rabid but he is clearly deeply disturbed by your lack of game.
Next: A Mini Houndadoodle and a Swimming Pool Pint
This is how AI interpreted “dogs on a patio with beer,” and we have questions.
It’s likely that you first question why the beer is so large. Does AI just have a problem with scale, or is this a patio for ants? A dollhouse where a hobbyist has placed a normal, human-sized taster? Then, your attention immediately turns to the dog at far left. It took us more than a few minutes to realize he wasn’t going through the cushion like some kind of weird Sims glitch. The rest of his body appears to be simply not there. But if you look closely, those are paws directly under his chin. Was he incredibly smushed by the computer-to-person time continuum? Or is his head entirely too big for his body — like a cross between a toy poodle and a hound dog? Just another reason to adopt, not shop.
And: Our Small Towns
Could AI replicate some of the charm of Southern Pines or Aberdeen? We like the idea of a train station / ice-cream stand, but we’re not sure that’s what this is. Things clearly fall apart after “Ice C!” It appears to be trying to impersonate an ice cream stand — but what horrors lie inside??
Carthage? Sure. A country house with a covered dock for an extra-long boat seems probable. And Pinehurst? Clearly, that was keyed directly into the algorithm. Good job, village PR team.
But, Also This: Our Locals
A search for “hot tattooed dad pushing a baby stroller” produced this nightmare fuel:
This AI is clearly bad at people. But we did not expect to see a balding Chucky doll wearing a sagging diaper stuffed into skinny jeans and gliding behind a weaponized stroller. He has what’s clearly a blatant disregard for traffic laws, not to mention the laws of Creation. It’s a blasphemy, one we almost feel sorry for publishing. What has this AI bot been forced to watch? It’s clearly seen too much and, now, so have we.
And, Finally, This.
We reached our limit on free searches in Canva’s AI generator, so we turned to ChatGPT. You may have heard of its prowess at generating text. Surprise! It also generates images.
We’re just gonna leave this here.
Want to try it for yourself? We’d love to see what you find. Send your cursed images to email@example.com.