Computer Generated… Errrmm?

Hendrik-Jan Grievink
June 18th 2015

Some days ago, this image was posted on with the alluring title "This image was generated by a computer on its own (from a friend working on AI)". It portrays a computer generated representation of what seems to be some kind of squirrel-meets-sea-lion-meets-slug-type of creature.

The discussion that followed around the work ranged from contemplations around the generative art avant-la-lettre by Bauhaus artist Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (who had his artwork ordered by phone) to the similarities and differences between code and DNA (biological code). As there was no explanation with the picture, we can only guess after its origin. Very probably, this work is the result of computational creativity gone a little bit wrong – or could that be: just plain right?

Is this somewhat disturbing animal picture proof of the – still limited – compositing powers of computer algorithms, or does it deliver us a glimpse of what we can expect to come out when visual pattern recognition and genetic sequencing fuse to their full potential? Either way – code, DNA or pixels – this is still the Next Nature creature of the week. And although non-human, it does bring me a slight shiver of Anthropomorphobia.

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Posted 18/06/2015 – 18:24

The story behind this image:

Should men be able to give birth to children?

Koert van Mensvoort: Is the artificial womb frankenstein-like symbol of (male) engineers trying to steal the magical womb from women? Or… is it a feminist project and needed to reach through equality between the sexes? I personally lean towards the latter. To me it feels like progress if a girl can tell a guy to carry the womb for a change.

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