Anthropomorphobia

Computer Generated… Errrmm?

Some days ago, this image was posted on Reddit.com with the alluring title “This image was generated by a computer on its own (from a friend working on AI)”. It portrays a computer generated representation of what seems to be some kind of squirrel-meets-sea-lion-meets-slug-type of creature.

The discussion that followed around the work ranged from contemplations around the generative art avant-la-lettre by Bauhaus artist Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (who had his artwork ordered by phone) to the similarities and differences between code and DNA (biological code). As there was no explanation with the picture, we can only guess after its origin. Very probably, this work is the result of computational creativity gone a little bit wrong – or could that be: just plain right?

Is this somewhat disturbing animal picture proof of the – still limited – compositing powers of computer algorithms, or does it deliver us a glimpse of what we can expect to come out when visual pattern recognition and genetic sequencing fuse to their full potential? Either way – code, DNA or pixels – this is still the Next Nature creature of the week. And although non-human, it does bring me a slight shiver of Anthropomorphobia.

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