Home » Let’s See What Artificial ‘Intelligence’ Thinks Good Valentine’s Day Car Images Look Like

Let’s See What Artificial ‘Intelligence’ Thinks Good Valentine’s Day Car Images Look Like

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As you likely know, it’s not just Ash Wednesday, but it’s also Valentine’s Day! Two days all about whatever the hell Ash Wednesday is about and love, or something! I get Ash Wednesday is a serious, real holiday, but let’s be honest: Valentine’s day has become a marketing cash-grab, for the most part. So, with that in mind, let’s do something just as callow and plastic and contrived as so much of what Valentine’s Day has become: let’s get AI involved, why not? And some cars.

Here at the Autopian, we’ll never use AI for stories or for crucial art about specific cars, partially for ethical reasons and partially because, as a computer, AI algorithms have no idea what they’re producing. They have no idea if a story they’re writing is true or not, and if AI generates an image of a car, it doesn’t know if it’s getting any crucial details right or wrong. We can’t use it.

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But we can certainly play with AI, and see just how it handles various requests, because, frankly, it’s interesting. So much of how these things work are still black boxes; we don’t really understand just what the hell is going on there in those massive nests of if-then-else statements. And often, the results are interesting.

So, with that in mind, I asked my wife Sally, who has been playing with MidJourney, to ask the AI to come up with some car-based Valentine’s Day images. The only limitation I imposed on myself was to ask for cars that were common on the internet, so the AI would have plenty of image references to steal from, since every time I ask for something more obscure, it gives me deeply wrong-looking cars. So we’ll keep it simple.

So, I had her start with a car I know is very well represented online: a Volkswagen Beetle. Sally added appropriate Valentinesy descriptors, and the AI did its thing.  So let’s see what we got:

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First, I can see AI is getting better at a lot of things, including how it renders VW Beetles. These are decent Beetles! The headlights in the upper left quadrant look like these aftermarket units that were popular for pre-’67 Beetles decades ago, and most of the others seem to have sealed beams, along with those horn grilles, making for cars that roughly resemble ’67 Beetles. But without the big bumper overriders.

The cars are all deep cherry red, which is on-brand, but the weird little cherubim and angel-like beings are still pretty creepy. Let’s look closer at some of those:

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What the hell is going on between the two cars? What is that bloody mass of putti-flesh? And what’s going on with those weird skinny fellas in jammies lounging on the hood of the left car? This is weird. Let’s look at another:

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Again, nice Beetles, with well-rendered bumper brackets, even, but what sort of monster is crawling in the vent window? That’s hard to even look at! And who’s the weird shirtless dude on the roof?

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Let’s try another batch. These are pinker, still decent Beetles, but the upper right image has some freaky arm stuff happening, and the proportions of the lower right depiction are strangely narrow and tall. I wish I understood how it made decisions like using vertical slats in the horn grilles (correct) or horizontal (wrong, but some aftermarket parts did that).

Let’s try another popular car. A Miata!

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Hm. Again, the cars are rendered expertly, even with the Mazda logo remaining pretty intact, and AI is usually bad at that. Lots of pink smoke and clouds, and at least one woman emerging from the hood of the car. What’s up with that Dionysean figure in the background of the upper right one? Zoom and enhance!

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Oy, what is that? Some sort of matronly-robotic figure? This is all still sort of unsettling. Let’s try for something less pink and with more Camaros:

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Oh yeah! That looks like it’s a roughly 1970-ish Camaro, often with doubled turn indicator types, which is fine by me. I think the bigger issues here are the revealing of the fact that AI has no real idea how big people or dogs are compared to cars! Also, it’s worth noting that the prompt did not ask for a dog in any way. Somehow the AI just decided that the dog was necessary. Sometimes giant dogs, and giant women.

These are all impressive technically, in many, many ways, and this technology is definitely a fascinating development. It’s also still weird and creepy, and, if I’m honest, I hope that part never changes. Happy giant lady and dog day!

 

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MikeInTheWoods
MikeInTheWoods
1 month ago

So AI is better at rendering Faux blondes and Faux Masculinity Camaros, albeit with a giant yawing Poodle involved. What kind of odd programing bias is happening with their sample photos? Thanks for the great morning read Jason.

HumboldtEF
HumboldtEF
1 month ago

I just want to say thank you for not doing a silly slideshow to drive clicks! I cannot stand when other sites do that.

Gilbert Wham
Gilbert Wham
1 month ago

At least most of them only have 5 fingers per hand, albeit odd-looking ones.
And I’m quite fond of zaftig sexbot and her red Miata, if I’m honest…

Brau Beaton
Brau Beaton
1 month ago

I think maybe these two holidays go together because you gotta get some Ash before Valentines Day?

Jesus Chrysler drives a Dodge
Jesus Chrysler drives a Dodge
1 month ago

I actually have a car AND Ash Wednesday story:

Near me there is a church that hung a “Drive Thru Ashes” banner. I’m stopped at the light wondering, “why the hell would I want to drive through ashes? Is that a thing now? Like reverse car wash?”

Bob Rolke
Bob Rolke
1 month ago

I think its a funtastic camaro not a giant lady and dog.

Apologies if others have already pointed this out.
Anyone not familiar with funtastic camaro kits should check it out.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
1 month ago

Miata is leering at the girl in a particularly creepy hungry way.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
1 month ago

I love split-bumper Camaros, and these are rather disturbing. The upper left one somehow suggests Volvo to me, while the bottom right one has me completely ignoring some rather lithesome legs because the bumpers are too high under the wrong-shaped lights and that grill is just about a gaping maw.
Wait, it’s the lack of marker lights under the bumper. Yeah, that’s way awkward

Jeff Marquardt
Jeff Marquardt
1 month ago

Just curious why there isn’t a weekly AI post for us to laugh at… before they become self aware and hunt those down that that laughed at AI in it’s prepubescent trial and error growth phase…

Bob Boxbody
Bob Boxbody
1 month ago

I sat down at my desk thinking I need some hard-hitting automotive analysis for my Ash Wednesday. Shit like this is what pushed me up into Velour…

AlterId
AlterId
1 month ago

So the Miata on the right in the upper-left image really should be an NA, because the woman in it looks like she’s trying to approximate some Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct kinda thing, with the main differences being that she’s not blond and the only way I can see her legs being at that angle is if her lower body has been severed from her torso. And if the image generator is trying to create that kind of serial killer mood, she really should be up there with a luscious red version of Ted Bundy’s Beetle.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
1 month ago

Old MacBook Pro drew a car, AI, AI, oh
And on this car it drew some chicks, AI, AI, oh
With a big chick here and a big chick there
Here a chick, there a chick, everywhere a big chick,
Old MacBook Pro drew a car, AI, AI, oh

Last edited 1 month ago by Canopysaurus
Pupmeow
Pupmeow
1 month ago

I love these. I just wish you’d shared the actual prompts given to the AI!

Elhigh
Elhigh
1 month ago

I scrolled all the way through the images without looking at them.

If I wanted to see AI bullshit, I would be reading Sports Illustrated. I’m not. I’m here for YOU, Torch, not synthesized guesses at a hypothetical average. I can stand another deep dive into an obscure taillight, I WILL QUIT AGAIN if I see a lot of AI noise on these pages.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
1 month ago
Reply to  Elhigh

You can just skip the articles you don’t like. They’re not meant to be written specifically for Elhigh’s enjoyment.

Elhigh
Elhigh
1 month ago
Reply to  Pupmeow

That said, you can skip the comments you don’t like.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
1 month ago
Reply to  Elhigh

I think you missed out, because it is exactly and very Torch. You think a robot would coin the word “putti-flesh?” He’s playing with it, as he says. Nobody is cutting staff at Autopian ’cause Torch’s extremely patient wife conjured giant Camaro women and one lady in particular I can think to describe as “Miasmiataic.”

Tagarito
Tagarito
1 month ago
Reply to  Elhigh

The Autopian literally has the letters A and I in it. Without them it would just be The Utopn.

It ain’t fun in The Utopn.

Jonathan Hendry
Jonathan Hendry
1 month ago

Rather OT but it occurs to me that AI image generation would be much more useful if it put each generated image element into a separate Photoshop layer. For example, each of the little cupids. Then it would be easier for a human artist to fix extra digits, or to replace whole elements with things they’d created themselves, or get rid of things that are just excessive.

LuzifersLicht
LuzifersLicht
1 month ago

Well we can get an idea of why that is not happening if we look at that Elmo Musk quote about all input being error.
Tech bros don’t want to make work easier for humans, they want to be sci-fi heroes who invent the technology that dragged us into magical Star Trek land where everybody has plenty and money has become obsolete or something. Or at least they want investors to think that’s who they are so they can sell a lot of stocks for a lot of money before buggering off to the bahamas.

Ben
Ben
1 month ago

I’m not an expert on AI image generation, but from my rudimentary understanding of how AI works it’s entirely possible the generator is not aware that those are separate image elements. I think it just generates pixels and through some might-as-well-be-magic you get discrete image elements.

Jonathan Hendry
Jonathan Hendry
1 month ago
Reply to  Ben

Yeah, that’s a big problem with my idea with the current tech.

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
1 month ago

Remove the creepy pseudo-people from the VW lower right image, add the words “love bug” on there somehow, and I think you have yourself a really nice piece of VDay Car merch! The cars are nicely rendered (though not perfect its true) and the chocolates are a whimsical festive element that I think works actually.

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
1 month ago

The AI is definitely better at rendering objects than it is at assembling them into a cohesive image.

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
1 month ago

Here at the Autopian, we’ll never use AI for stories or for crucial art about specific cars, partially for ethical reasons and partially because, as a computer, AI algorithms have no idea what they’re producing.

But it’s OK for member art drawings LOL

Just giving you a hard time Jason 🙂

Trust Doesn't Rust
Trust Doesn't Rust
1 month ago

I’m sorry, are we not going to address the woman-slowly-transforming-into-a-Miata a la Turbo Teen???

Chronometric
Chronometric
1 month ago

Rolls Royce has a Flying Lady hood ornament. Let Miata have Bon Bon Lady.

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
1 month ago
Reply to  Chronometric

That’s what bon bons look like? I’ve only ever seen them referenced in The Onion, where their cartoonist uses them to stereotype ex-wives as freeloaders. I figured they were some old time treat since the cartoonist uses dated references to make himself look out of touch.

Pointy Deity
Pointy Deity
1 month ago

Her name is Miata-chan, thank you very much.

VanGuy
VanGuy
1 month ago

The world needs more pink Miatas.

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