Dean Clough

February 1, 2023

Portico Darwin: Mind Blown


<2 Minute Read
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Happy hump day.  It is back to SF in a short while after a typically glorious, if cloudy and cold, visit with the literal lifesaver, Dr. Shelly Murphy, here in busy Houston.

If you are in America, alive and anything other than off-grid, you've no doubt heard the wave after wave of hype over AI - artificial intelligence.  You can't swing a dead COBOL programmer without coming across some wide-eyed report on ChatGPT, OpenAI and DALL-E.  Perhaps you're wondering if all of the hysteria is justified.

Well, I have the answer.  I hate hype, but I've read the articles and listened to the breathless podcasts.  I also have an extremely vague idea of the underlying concepts, including machine learning.  And perhaps you read my less-than-glowing indictment of Lex, an AI tool that generates articles and stories on its own?

But now, I've kicked the tires via the site, a tool that generates images from text.
And my mind was/is fucking blown.  Blown away.

Because what follows is what I generated.  What I own (I think).  What I can use, essentially for free ($10 got me the ability to create something like 5,000 of these). 

Except, of course, I didn't create anything other than what are called prompts, the text the AI engine uses to create original artwork.  Here are some highlights - each section header is the entire prompt, and creating the image that followed required nothing more. 

Again:  the only thing I did was to come up with the words you see before each image.

A Modern City In The Style of Chicago

Curiosity now running amok, I tried a whole bunch of things.  Here are some highlights. 

A Luxury Resort in European Mountains

That prompt is a shocker, I know. 

Then I decided to go off-script; hint:  it kicked my ass.

An Amusement Park in Japan

Let's dump the kid's stuff and go skiing.

A Modern Ski Lodge in The Rocky Mountains of Colorado

The TV is way too f'ing high, but still. 

This next one - wow.  A computer created this.  In seconds, from just a few words of text.

A High Rise Hotel as a Modernist painting

I guess I'm just a wannabe architect.  Is that a profession eventually made obsolete by this technology?  I don't see a reason why not.  It won't happen overnight, but don't tell me you can't connect this stuff to something like Revit, and get Construction Documents? 

Large House in The Desert in The Style of Mid Century Modern

This was among my favorites, and how I'll wrap up - trust me, this could go on forever. 

In this case, I wanted to see if could come up with some kind of new, trick avatar for this blog. 

It could and did.

Cartoon Character in a Modern Urban Environment
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I mean this thing almost resembles me, although I am much better looking.  Right?  Right???
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And it doesn't have a mouth, which just won't work.  Have a great rest of the week.  


Many (OK, 4 of us) are a bit misty-eyed over the end of the Murphy Villa era.  Yes, it is sad.  But, then again, where they're moving is not that bad - even though a neighbor's Roller convertible is a little much.

I also thought having only 3 doormen greet arrivals to be a bit downscale, but maybe that's just me.  We all have to adjust to this new normal, I guess.

Thank you to any one that is reading this newsletter.


Today's topic is captured with almost digital precision by a chestnut from one of my faves, Guided By Voices.  Here is the musical genius Robert Pollard and his band with the seminal and perfect I'll Replace You With Machines.

About Dean Clough

Plans To Enjoy Life.