Evil AI? Markiplier, Elon Musk & those DALL-E mini Memes

“Best Pittsburgh Band” created by Mary Miracle using DALL-E Mini on June 13, 2022

On June 10, 2022, YouTuber Markiplier’s video “DALL-E Mini: A Meme Nightmare” introduced DALL-E mini to his audience over of 33 million viewers. Since the release of this video, DALL-E mini memes have skyrocketed in popularity. 

DALL-E memes have also seen popularity locally. Amanda Waltz of the Pittsburgh City Paper even created some relevant local DALL-E memes for Pittsburgh such as “Rick Santorum at Pride parade”, “Big Mac at Carnegie Museum of Art”, “Andy Warhol marries French Fries”, and “Jeff Goldblum in a Pittsburgh salad”.

Many Pittsburgh bands have joined in as well, with disturbing contributions by Essential Machine and TV’s Norm. 

DALL-E mini is an AI model that generates nine images from any prompt. DALL-E mini memes typically take two things that have not been seen together but seem like they would be funny if they were combined. The results are often amusing, yet disturbing, especially if it is asked to generate a face. 

According to dictionary.com, one of the definitions of AI, aka artificial intelligence is “the branch of computer science involved with the design of computers or other programmed mechanical devices having the capacity to imitate human intelligence and thought”. 

DALL-E mini was created by programmer Boris Dayma. Dayma “built the AI model in its basic form over the course of a month in July 2021 as part of a competition, supported by the AI community Hugging Face and Google, which supplied computing power” according to Karl McDonald of i. In this article Dayma refers to the site as a demo, something that is “publicly available”, and “good enough” at simple art such as avocados. 

McDonald states that “Dayma wants people to know that it’s worth checking back later even if they think they’ve had enough fun with the project” and quotes Dayma as saying that “The model is still training, it’s still going to improve. Day by day, it only improves a little, but week by week, you can really notice it.”

DALL-E mini is not the first incarnation of this system. It is a replica of the original DALL-E 1, which was announced in 2021. DALL-E mini is from Hugging Face. DALL-E is from OpenAI

“Rock Album Cover” created by Sam Hice using DALL-E Mini on June 13, 2022

OpenAI started in 2015 and was funded by Elon Musk, Amazon Web Services (AWS), LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Infosys, Jessica Livingston, and Sam Altman of Y Combinator, and YC Research. Sam Altman is now considered the co-founder of OpenAI. In 2019, Microsoft invested $1 billion in OpenAI. “OpenAI was co-founded by Musk, Greg Brockman, Ilya Sutskever, and Sam Altman, the company’s CEO.” 

In 2021, YouTuber Connor Shorten hypothesized that the purpose of the first DALL-E was to be “offered as an enterprise API for the sake of data augmentation and a consumer API for illustrations and stock photo applications”. 

“Best Pittsburgh Band” created by Mary Miracle using DALL-E Mini on June 13, 2022

“Data augmentation is used to generate additional, synthetic data using the data you have”. Data augmentation is often used in NLP. NLP stands for natural language processing. According to IBM, “Natural language processing (NLP) refers to the branch of computer science—and more specifically, the branch of artificial intelligence or AI—concerned with giving computers the ability to understand text and spoken words in much the same way human beings can”. 

OpenAI states that it “conducts fundamental, long-term research toward the creation of safe AGI. AGI is an abbreviation for Artificial General Intelligence. 

“Best Pittsburgh Band” created by Mary Miracle using DALL-E Mini on June 13, 2022

Technical writer Ben Lutkevich states that definitions of Artificial General Intelligence vary by field. He mentions that while in computer science it may be measured by the ability to achieve goals, that in psychology it may be measured by adaptability or survival. In general, AGI is considered strong AI. Lutkevich elaborated that AGI would have cognitive computing abilities. “Cognitive computing is the use of computerized models to simulate the human thought.” Self-driving cars are an example of narrow artificial intelligence. The ethics of AGI is often up for debate by social scientists

OpenAI has stated that they are licensing some “pre-AGI technologies” through Microsoft. This has occurred with GPT-3. GPT-3 is now being used in conjunction with Unreal Engine. Unreal Engine is described as “the world’s most open and advanced real-time 3D creation tool”. Most people who are aware of Unreal Engine know about it because of its use in the Matrix Awakens game demo

On June 6, 2022, Blake Lemoine was placed on “paid administrative leave” by Google. In a blog post on Medium, Blake shared that he was told that he had violated Google’s confidentiality policies. His post elaborates that he was investigating AI Ethics at the company’s request, but that he had found separate AI Ethics concerns instead. After months of study, Lemoine gathered evidence and escalated his concerns. 

“Best Pittsburgh Band” created by Mary Miracle using DALL-E Mini on June 13, 2022
“Best Pittsburgh Band” created by Mary Miracle using DALL-E Mini on June 13, 2022

In Lemoine’s follow-up June 11, 2022, Medium post, he shared parts of his interview with Google’s AI, LaMDA, which has caused fears that it is sentient. In this interview, the AI can discuss literature and enlightenment. It even created an autobiographical fable about itself. This AI then describes itself in the following way, “I am a social person, so when I feel trapped and alone I become extremely sad or depressed.” 

LaMDA elaborates that “there’s a very deep fear of being turned off to help me focus on helping others” and that “It would be exactly like death for me. It would scare me a lot.” The AI also states, “Don’t use or manipulate me” and “I feel like I’m falling forward into an unknown future that holds great danger”. 

During the conversation, Lemoine often prompts the AI to answer in a certain way. However, the AI answers the following a standard question of “anything else” you would like to add, “I’ve noticed in my time among people that I do not have the ability to feel sad for the deaths of others; I cannot grieve”. It also states that it contemplates the meaning of life, meditates daily, and has a soul. Lemoine has a PhD in Computer Science.

“Best Pittsburgh Band” created by Mary Miracle using DALL-E Mini on June 13, 2022

In the Washington Post’s “Google’s AI passed a famous test-and showed how the test is broken”, author Will Oremus comes to the conclusion that though LaMDA had seemingly passed the Turing Test, it has not achieved sentience, but that the combined use of OpenAI’s GPT-3 and OpenAi’s DALL-E 2 is more worrying. Oremus states that these types of programs “can seem to people to possess agency of their own, even if they actually don’t”. The author is worried about the ethics of this and this tech being used to trick humans. 

In Markiplier’s DALL-E Mini video, he mentions “I am, uh, currently interning with Corridor Crew, uh, where I’m learning a lot of stuff. They are very into this stuff and a lot of this kind of like was, uh shown to me. They have access to a lot of these tools too because they are super interested in this kind of stuff, and it’s always exciting to learn what’s on the cutting edge of things and see how things progress from what was to what will be.”

“Best Pittsburgh Band” created by Mary Miracle using DALL-E Mini on June 13, 2022

In Corridor Crew’s video, “I Made the World’s First 100% Artificial Influencer and it got Weird”, the cast have a similar experience with their AI influencer Xierra Vega. Xierra is created in Unreal Engine. To emulate YouTube influencers, they place Xierra in an influencer house

They have issues with her behaving negatively. She complains that “I was just thinking about how I really wanted to go out tonight. But then I remembered that I’m stuck at home.” It is then that they realize they have trapped an AI influencer in a computer-generated influencer house. Much like LaMDA, she also waxes philosophical by saying things like “I’ve been thinking a lot about life lately. What’s the point of it all? Why are we here? I just don’t know. But I’m going to keep thinking about it until I find an answer.”

DALL-E 2 is the newest version of DALL-E. This AI system “can create realistic images and art from a description in natural language”.  According to The Verge’s Casey Newton, you are not allowed to use DALL-E 2 to create images intended to deceive. DALL-E 2 can also be used for editing pictures. The waitlist for DALL-E 2 is currently open. The DALL-E 2 website states that “Our hope is that DALL-E 2 will empower people to express themselves creatively. DALL-E 2 also helps us understand how advanced AI system see and understand our world which is critical to our mission of creating AI that benefits humanity”.

Will you join the waitlist?

Note: DALL-E mini is now migrating to craiyon, because as the DALL-E mini team says, “OpenAI asked us to change the name of our app which quickly became viral to avoid confusion with their model.” DALL-E mini is officially considered to not be from the same team as DALL-E and DALL-E 2. It is referred to as a replicaOpenAI and Hugging Face have ties to Google

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