This began as a quick Telegram post, and then I found out it was even worse than I had imagined. So, I decided to go long form, originally on my Substack.
You might have heard, I didn’t have access to a computer for awhile. During that time, I kept hearing news stories about political bias in AI, most notably Chat GPT. They won’t promote fossil fuels, say anything bad about Democrats, etc…
The libertarian in me said the same thing I used to say about social media before they started openly conspiring with the Democrat Party and CIA: “Make your own if you don’t like it”. I didn’t think much of the stories.
When I got home, somebody introduced me to these AI image generators, and I thought it was like the greatest thing ever. Like many bloggers, I used to make good use out of image searches on DuckDuckGo, because I’m not stupid enough to use Google when I can avoid it. I’d pull an image, edit it to my needs, and feature it in a blog post or podcast episode, etc…
Since I have pissed off all the right people, I am frequently the target of legal threats. As I have tried to get back into the content business, I determined that I would not run the risk of getting intellectual property complaints, and I found that I could generate limitless images using AI. I went so far as to pay for one of these services, and for the most part, I have been very happy with the results.
Yesterday, as I completed writing the opening monologue for SurrealPolitiks Stage One Episode Two, I wanted an image of an elephant pushing a donkey.
This proved, impossible.
The image set below is just one of many examples I attempted, and it always came up with something similar.
Sometimes these text to image generators need you to be more specific, or they improvise, so I tried some variations, for example “an elephant walking behind a donkey and pushing the donkey with its trunk”
Maybe “a donkey walking in front of an elephant and the elephant is pushing the donkey”
I know the image generators try to avoid violent imagery, so I tried text prompts less likely to offend their sensibilities. An “an elephant and a donkey walking next to eachother”, for example.
This thing knows what a Donkey looks like, right? Yup.
Maybe if I put them in a boxing ring, that will work. “an elephant and a donkey boxing”
At this point, I get the idea that maybe the AI has been trained not to put an elephant and a donkey in the same image for political reasons. So I decide to see if I can get the donkey to be pushed by a truck instead.
“a donkey being pushed by a truck”
Well, there’s the donkey, there’s the truck, but it’s not being pushed…
Let’s try something with no violent implications at all. “a donkey and an elephant playing poker”
Will it show two different animals playing poker? “a cat and a dog playing poker”
So I can get it to show a dog and a cat playing poker, but not a donkey and an elephant. This has to be something the AI was trained not to do. I am now firmly convinced that the AI will not put these two animals in the same image.
Will it let a dog and an elephant play poker? Sure thing.
“an elephant and a dog playing poker”
How about a donkey and a cat? “a donkey and a cat playing poker”
Wait a sec? Those don’t look like cats… Reroll that…
One of those donkeys looks almost catlike, but there’s something wrong here…
Let’s try and word it differently…. “a donkey playing poker with a cat “
Where’d that human come from? I’ll be more specific…
“a donkey playing poker with a housecat “
This thing got a problem with cats? What the heck is going on here?
“a cat playing poker and a donkey sitting at the same table”
Again, one of them almost looks like some kind of hybrid, but recall that it has no trouble putting elephants and dogs, or dogs and cats at a poker table.
“two cats playing poker”
Let’s put a donkey at that table with them… “two cats playing poker with a donkey”
Call me crazy, but the conclusion I have reached is that this thing won’t put the donkey in the frame with any other animal. It also won’t let the donkey get pushed around, as in the case with the truck.
And in case you’re wondering, it’s not just one AI image generator.
Here’s some from Plaground AI,
“an elephant playing poker with a donkey”
It does not demonstrate the same bias with elephants, dogs, or cats. This bias is specific to the donkey.
Now, I understand why these people don’t want their program being used to generate Nazi propaganda. Say what you will about the wisdom of this, I at least understand it. So fine, you train your AI to avoid certain things. I get it.
If you really think climate change is going to end the world in 12 years, then fine, your religious views prevent you from talking positively about the lifeblood of the economy. Whatever…
But when it gets to the point that you’re protecting the species of your political party’s mascot from appearing in images with any other species of animal, I think you’ve taken your political bias to a level that becomes absurd, even by Democrat standards.
The only good thing we can say about the lunacy of the time we live in is that this course is completely unsustainable. The people running the show are going to be dislodged from power either by political means or by complete civilizational collapse, but they aren’t going to be able to maintain control when they turn themselves into caricatures of insecure leaders, for whom the thought of being criticized is so unbearable, that they make ordinary mundane activity impossible in hopes of preventing anyone from even thinking about it.
This was originally posted to my Substack.
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