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These AI-Generated Selfies of What the Apocalypse Might Look Like Are Terrifying

Could AI be predicting how the world will end?

Credit: Robot Overloards / TikTok

With everything that has happened over the past few years, the end of the world is on many peoples’ minds. Whether it’s serious worries about climate change or theorizing about how to survive a zombie apocalypse, what the end of the world might look like is a hot topic online. One TikTok account, Robot Overloards, has been posting AI (artificial intelligence) generated images of what the last selfie on earth might look like. The results give disturbing visions of how it all might end.

Robot Overloards posted four videos showcasing what AI software generates when prompted to create ‘the last selfie ever taken’. Midjourney, the AI software Robot Overloards uses, has produced some horrifying images of what earth’s final day might look like. Mutated humans hold up their phones for a quick selfie as fires and explosions billow behind them. The world they occupy is desolate with no trees in sight and destruction everywhere. As much as the AI-generated visions of the future make people uncomfortable, they can’t seem to get enough of them. The videos have amassed nearly 20 million views each.

Credit: Robot Overloards / TikTok

The images Robot Overloards has posted play into peoples’ very real fears of what the end of the world might be like. TikTok users have commented how all the scenarios seem possible considering issues such as the climate crisis. Most of all, users have been commenting that Robot Overloards should ask the AI why it is showing these scenarios. Commenters theorize that maybe Midjourney is predicting the future accurately using data from scientific studies and the news. Whether you believe that or not, the images it produces are deeply unsettling.

How are these harrowing selfies created?

Midjourney works by taking short text descriptions and generating images based on these prompts. It uses  ‘language model’ software which allows computers to understand and interpret natural human language rather than code. This kind of AI makes use of massive quantities of text and image data from the internet. The AI will generate an image by finding patterns and connections to match words in the text prompt to images found in its database.

 AI image generators are all the rage right now, thanks to DALL-E, which was developed by OpenAI in late 2021. It works in the same way Midjourney does, using text prompts to generate images. The release of DALL-E created a trend of sharing funny, weird, or beautiful images generated by AI software. Social media accounts like Weird Dall-E Mini Generations showcase the meme-worthy results created by DALL-E when given certain prompts.

Credit: Weird Dall-E Mini Generations / Twitter

Is AI threatening to replace artists and writers?

Whilst using AI software can create some beautiful results, other people worry about how AI might replace actual human professions and skills. DALL-E and Midjourney can create photorealistic images, but also accurately replicate historical styles like surrealism, cubism, and baroque. It can even mimic particular painters like Picasso or Dali perfectly. Similarly, AI writing programs like Sudowrite can craft non-fiction, fiction, and poetry to a very high standard. What might take years of learning for a human is done in a matter of seconds by AI. Artists and writers are worried that AI might begin to replace their roles as it can produce work at a quicker pace and to a consistent standard.

But will AI take over the world? Robot Overloards asked Midjourney how will AI take over the world. This was the result:

Credit: Robot Overloards / TikTok

Should we be worried? Judging by the pictures Midjourney has given in response to this prompt, maybe we should.

Written By

English student at Queen's University Belfast

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