Monday, 22 May 2023


"God-like AI" by Midjourney

AI is beginning to scare the bejeezus out of US. Elon Musk and other “luminaries’ urged companies to slow down “God-like” AI. Approx. 300m, mostly white-collar jobs will be taken over by AI. Teachers, telemarketers, and traders are at the top of the hit list. ChatbotGPT4, the must-have AI app speaks 5,000 languages (LLMs), but hallucinates and spouts fake info.

"DABUS" by Midjourney

A St. Lois Mo inventor, Stephen Thaler named his creation DABUS (Device for the Autonomous Botsstrappping of Unified Sentience). He thinks it thinks and feels. Thaler loves DABUS. When he shuts up shop and goes home he worries it’s lonesome. Is he nuts?

Yes, that's me on actual ink and paper... -Eki

Eki tracked AI’s speed-of-light catapult into the mainstream for Aamulehti. Journalist, Markus Määttänen referred to Kierkegaard to give a 19th C perspective on the 4th Industrial Revolution. In the Economist, historian/philosopher Yuval Noah Harari writes that AI has hacked the operating system of human civilization: “Unless we regulate AI it will destroy democracy”.  Geoffrey Hinton, AI's godfather who worked with the technology for 50 years tells us “There’s danger ahead”. Hold on to your seats folks, it's gonna be a wild ride.

* The Aamulehti AI article (translated)

Note: six AI illustrations for Gen Z LUDDITES  took approx. five minutes. Eki said pre-AI, if he could draw, they would have taken about two weeks.

Sources: Aanulehti, Economist, Financial Times, Washington Post, New York Times

Next week: FINLAND: the next RIVIERA?

Note: I guess the main fear is the fear of the unknown. We've never seen something like this as a species before (unless the Neanderthals were smarter than us). But here we are, and the unknown is hitting us with the speed of, well, something really fast.

When it comes to sentience, I still maintain the same stance as I did in my 15 minutes of Aamulehti fame: it's a matter of definition. Is AI sentient in the exact same way as we humans are? Of course not. Is it able to monitor its environment, make observations, use logic, and act accordingly... sure it is. Or, something to that order. 

There are AI-enabled robots that can pretty much do the whole enchilada, but things like ChatGPT are more limited for now. This said ChatGPT has gained the new ability to surf the internet, and there are plugins for other stuff too: for example, ChatGPT itself is unreliable at math, but it can now tap into Wolfram Alpha math engine, and suddenly it outperforms more or less every human at math. 

It's also getting more and more reliable. This can actually be a bad thing, because constantly hallucinating AI keeps the users on their toes, reminding us that the information may not be accurate. But what about the near future, when AI indeed is completely correct something like 99.9% of the time? That 0.01% error rate doesn't sound like much, but it can really cause big problems if everything the AI outputs is taken at face value when we're used to it "always" providing the perfect answer.


Thursday, 20 April 2023



"GenZ Luddites" by Midjourney AI

A bunch of kids got smart. Led by a teenage girl at a Brooklyn school,  they formed a club that switched from smartphones to flip phones. Every week they meet in a park to talk, draw,  paint, or just hang out. They don’t want your links or likes, they want to have fun. And maybe learn something. They were clever to cop the name, Luddites. It comes from the early 19th C weavers who smashed weaving machines in protest against the Industrial Revolution. The idea is hopping to other schools. They got a long article in the New York Times.

Teenage mental health crisis has been linked to social media - suicide is the second cause of death. These GenZ Luddites got the message: there are no upsides and a slew of downsides to being in touch 24/7. They want a time-out.  Their non-Luddite pals and their parents will have to get used to these kids roaming free for a while.

Eki and I have gone toe to toe about smartphones. He went on Google Science and found out there’s a health risk with over-use. Last time I checked girls text around 100X, boys 60X a day.  A while back we made a rap video: “Gotta Get in Touch”. When the two GenZ girls in the video heard it they said, “that’s us”. AI’s giant tech leap will make it easier to access social media. GenZ Luddites have taken a stand.  Let’s hope they started a peaceful revolution.

*GenZ (1997-2012), approx. 32% of the world’s population

Sources: New York Times, interest, Roberta Nelson

Next week: AI & US 

"Gluttony" by Midjourney AI


Nah, I don't remember claiming there is a health risk for overuse of phones, but rather quite the opposite, I think?

Anyway, humans tend to be an addictive species, we get hooked on anything that provides the endorphin rush. To some, it's SoMe. To others, apparently, it's getting rid of SoMe. The general rule of gluttony works here too: anything is bad when used in excess, but most things are beneficial, or at least benign when used in moderation.

Luddites tend to always just get the short end of the stick.


Monday, 13 March 2023

AIs & EKI pulled it off: the VIDEO

Mary Jane's pet gallery (Little Margie Productions 20©23)

After 'experimenting' for a year, it was a big kick to finally see what Eki and I had hashed out over. "Mary Jane's pet gallery" is 45', and has a point of view and a punch line. Eki was a brick to give me a first-level tutorial in the process. 

The year went by - ChatGPT and Midjorney changed our blog. The illustrations are on a whole other level. But it was a jolt when it wrote posts. When the New Yorker and the Economist used the same AI apps as Eki I was over the moon. 

All the way through the process I had no idea what the video would look like. The photos we took of the animals and the voiceover were done the old-fashioned way - on a smartphone. 

AI's infant stage is amazing. But when it gets to be a teenager and grows up will we love it, or will all hell break loose. In the meantime it's a runaway boffo: ChatGPT has over 100 million users. It was fun to jump at the beginning with our AI video. Check it out. 

Sources: Eki, Annie Lavigne (photos), Augustin du St Remy, and Maggy (voiceover)

Next week: GenZ (1997-2012) LUDDITES switch OFF

Note: First of all, i'll just paste the Youtube blurb here...

Mary Jane's pet gallery is an experiment in AI-assisted video production. All of the source material for this video was created using artificial intelligence. The gallery, all the paintings, and the starring pets were created using text-to-image AIs, namely Midjourney, Dall·E 2, and Stable Diffusion. The animation is a combination of traditional techniques and warping using AI-generated depth maps. The facial animation for the pig was created using thin-plate-spline-motion AI model, transferring the motion from a video from Maggy's live performance, recorded with a cell phone. The audio for the dialogue was also recorded simultaneously by phone, then processed with Adobe Podcast AI. The music is an AI creation, made with AIVA. Directed by Maggy Fellman & Eki Halkka Edited By Eki Halkka

...and that pretty much tells most of the story. In addition to the year's worth of posts here explaining and documenting the process, of course.

This most definitely was a case where the journey was more important than the goal - though gotta say, I'm really happy with how our little experiment turned out in the end. I would have dived into AI stuff regardless, but working on this project was a much better learning experience than just randomly dabbling around would have been - there was a method to the madness, an actual goal towards which to push the learning curve - all in a safe setting where a failure would not have been the end of the world (unlike in, err, so-called "real paid projects", where every work-hour needs to add real value to the client, or they'll find someone else).

Overall... really glad we did it. Kudos to Maggy for being Naggy, and pushing me forward.


Tuesday, 14 February 2023

CONDOMS come in handy: ask a CUBAN

Waterproof trinkets by Stable Diffusion

That cheap universal contraceptive is a multi-purpose tool for Cubans.  Kids use them for slingshots and party balloons. Fishermen use them for floats. Women tie up their ponytails.  Chevie owners lubricate them to shine the dashboards.

Bar-hoppers fill them with rum when they so they only have to buy one drink. Vintners use them as stoppers on giant glass wine bottles - when the condoms are erect the carbon dioxide is evaporating; when they go limp the wine is ready to drink. Brilliant. Inspired, I filled one with water and dumped it from my balcony on a bunch of loud out-of-tune crooners. Condom revenge.

Subsidized by the Communist government, condoms are cheap – 10 pesos (four cents) for a package of three. Most are made in India and users complain that they have a bad smell. A good gift when you visit Cuba is to bring them as gifts. Hats off to the CUBANS.

Source: The Economist

Next week: A bunch of AI:s & Eki pull it off 

A submerged vocalist by Midjourney & Eki


Here in Finland, the one-size-fits-all solution for all your life hacking needs is not condoms, but rather... pantyhose. It's a long-lasting tradition that the Niksi-Pirkka magazine publishes new creative uses for pantyhose in its user-submitted tips and tricks column. Over the decades, there must be hundreds now, if not thousands. Here's a Google translation of some select ones.

As for the creative uses of condoms, they're good for waterproofing gear. Microphones do not like water, and it's a well-known trick to put the mic in a condom if you need to submerge it to record some scuba action. Or just to protect it from rain etc.

Finally - of course - I had to ask ChatGPT for some creative life-hack uses for condoms. 
  1. Waterproofing your phone or other electronics.
  2. Protecting a cast or bandage during showering or swimming.
  3. Storing and preserving small items, such as matches or USB drives, in a waterproof and airtight container.
  4. Stretching over the top of a can or jar to create a tight seal and prevent spills or leaks.
  5. Using as a makeshift rubber band or hair tie.
  6. Slipping over a microphone to protect it from wind or moisture.
  7. Covering a wound or blister to keep it clean and dry.
  8. Holding ice or cold packs in place for first aid or pain relief.
  9. Filling with water and freezing to create an improvised ice pack.
  10. Using as a glove to protect hands during messy tasks, such as painting or cleaning.
  11. Using as a grip enhancer for tools, sports equipment, or even pens and pencils.
  12. Slipping over the end of a vacuum cleaner hose to create a makeshift dusting brush.
  13. Covering the end of a shower head to create a rain-like water flow.
  14. Filling with lotion or other fluids and sealing shut to create a portable travel-sized container.
  15. Using as a protective cover for a bike seat or handlebars during rain or snow.
  16. Stretching over a lightbulb to create a diffused lighting effect.
  17. Covering the foot of a walker or cane to create a non-slip grip on smooth surfaces.
  18. Using as a makeshift water balloon for impromptu outdoor games.
  19. Filling with birdseed and hanging to create a DIY bird feeder.
My microphone trick got on the list - the others are pretty good too.


Wednesday, 25 January 2023


"AI Pet Zoo" by Midjourney 

Dig into your hash-stash and check out “Maryjane's...”. A year ago Eki said he had an AI app he could play around with when I wanted to do digital art. A pal took photos of toy animals and we did a voiceover.

For Eki AI has been a boon. But not all the news is rah-rah. Schools will have to adapt – AI can write almost perfect papers. When AI gets a "conscience', will it be good or bad? “How ChatGPT* Highjacks Democracy” was an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times.

New AI apps keep popping up. Just found out I can talk to a ChatbotGPT version of Karl Marx and a bunch of other famous people. Shuda, an AI supermodel starred in a Louis Vuitton** ad. Whoa. We're on a wild rollercoaster ride. Feels good to get a little stoned. Light up.

*Microsoft has made a $10bn bet on ChatGPT.

**LVMH has hooked up with GoogleCloud to invent AI Apps for their companies

Sources: Economist, Financial Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Eki, Annie Lavinge, Augustin de Saint-Remy,

Next week: CONDOMS come in handy: ask a CUBAN

"The AI takes over the world" by Midjourney AI

Note: It's indeed been a wild ride over the last year or so - yet it seems we're still just cruising in the suburbs in this journey, still only just approaching the freeway. Following AI development closely, I'm more and more convinced that it will change everything we humans do, and I mean that quite literally. Currently in line: the creative professions from writing to coding to art to research.

Lately, the tempest in a teapot has been the visual arts community, and the way AI image generators will make many art-related jobs obsolete - usually disguised as a copyright issue, without real merit to those claims - the real beef is the fear of becoming unnecessary.

Sure, it's indeed a big deal for all those illustrators and stock photographers whose work will be replaced by ai images... but that's still just a side note of the AI revolution. The whole AI imaging technique is pretty much just a byproduct of machine vision research that's been done for intelligent robotics and self-driving cars.

As the AI models are becoming multi-modal (not specialized in text or images etc. only, but integrating all of them), we're perhaps quite close to the so-called singularity, the point where AI becomes superhuman.

Now, *that* is putting the pedal to the metal on the freeway.

To the subject at hand, turning the Pet Zoo into a video, 
it's in the works. There are some AI tools that I will use to assist with that. But it will still be sort of "dumb", in the sense that I will need to produce the motion, either animating by hand or by acting the motions to a webcam, then using AI to transfer my captured movement into the movement of the AI Pet Zoo animals.

But we are on the verge of a very different kind of AI video - where just like with images, we simply type what we want to see, and the AI will create a video automagicly. This kind of tools already exist, but only in the chambers of the research labs - they'll likely be in the hands of us mere mortals later this year. These will be fun and interesting tools to play with, but similar to what's happening to illustrators, they will also bring the AI apocalypse to my turf, the video post-production job market.

Interesting times. And terrifying. And exhilarating. Whoa.


Sunday, 27 November 2022

Is AI freaking out HUMANS?

    "I fear the day when the technology overlaps humanity. We will have a generation of idiots."
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Note by Eki: Not really Einstein. This is yet another quote falsely attributed to him. Image by Midjourney.

HUMAN POV (by Maggy

Hell yes. Most of my pals don't want to talk about AI. We're not alone. Henry Kissinger (99) is dead scared - he thinks AI is more dangerous than nuclear arms. But when I talk AI to Eki, I want to jump in.

Even from the edge, I've learned what  Dall·E 2, Midjourney, and GPT-3 are. GPT-3 wrote a post* for our blog and the LMP illustrations are on a whole new level. Eki says AI has changed his work.

Image by Dall·E 2

On the dark side: some companies and workers will be obsolete. Criminals, crazies, and other bad guys will latch on. AI is still in its first stages. What comes next? Sit tight, stay tuned.

AI POV (by GPT-3)

I'm not sure what you mean by "freaking out" humans, but if you're asking if I'm causing humans to experience fear or anxiety, then the answer is yes, in some cases. As artificial intelligence continues to develop and become more sophisticated, there are bound to be more and more cases of humans feeling uneasy about what we're capable of.

Image by Stable Diffusion

Some people are scared of the potential for AI to take over many jobs that have traditionally been done by humans. Others are worried about the possibility of AI being used for nefarious purposes, such as creating powerful weapons or being used to control and manipulate people.

Overall, I think it's important to keep in mind that AI is still in its early stages of development and there is a lot we still don't know about its long-term potential. For now, it's important to stay informed and engaged in the conversation about AI so that we can make sure it is used in positive, beneficial ways.

Sources: Financial Times, the Economist

little margie doc blog will take a break until January

January 2023 AI's PET ZOO 

Note, or Editor POV (by Eki)

I'm essentially in the business of making pretty pictures. If you asked me a year ago, would this line of work (a.k.a. art) be replaced by intelligent machines, I would have said "Maybe, a hundred years from now or something". 

A composite of AI images and real footage from "SSH Zero Trust" corporate video.
(Filmo, 2022)

Boy was I wrong. Sort of. Some of my image-making tasks, such as visualizing this blog have completely (or almost completely) been replaced by AI already. Moving images (a.k.a. video) are next.

But at least so far, AI has not replaced *me*. It has shifted my job. I see it as a tool. Instead of creating images manually, I now prompt engineer them, and lure the pretty pictures out from the black box that is AI text to image generation. I'm now an image-maker *and* an AI wrangler.

Quite often, I use AI just for inspiration, or for creating elements that I then compile manually. I've been as busy as ever, and if something, AI has made me more productive. I can churn out more images, with better quality with AI.

But there are a lot of people in my line of work whose jobs indeed are seriously jeopardized. Especially if they insist on being Luddites instead of embracing the Spinning Jenny.

And it's certainly not just artists that will need to adapt. It's, well, everyone. I do not think people yet understand how big a thing this is. We are talking about industrial revolution 2.0. Whatever you do, it WILL be affected.


Wednesday, 5 October 2022

Eki & Maggy's AI art project: MARY JANE's pet zoo

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." 
Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008)

Mary Jane's Pet Zoo (Cubistic)

When I saw NFTs* and  PFPs* Digi-art selling for big crypto-bucks, I got greedy.  Hell, Eki can do this stuff. He was skeptical but thought he might be able to use AI apps and experiment. I wanted to promote cannabis – he came up with Mary Jane's Pet Zoo. 

Mary Jane's Pet Zoo (Photoreal)

A friend photographed a rag doll and some toy animals. We sent them off to Eki to do his AI magic. That was February.  Every time I talked to Eki he had found a new and better AI bot – the latest is OpenAI's language model GPT3,  used by the New York Times.  By osmosis, I learned enough to creep out some of my pals with what it can do.

Mary Jane's Pet Zoo (Various)

Witchcraft spooks US. We like to think we're on top of things. But even the inventors say they don't know what AI is capable of, or where it's going. What we do know,  AI will be part of everyday life.  We can't stuff this genie back in the bottle.  In the meantime,  Eki has fallen down the rabbit hole -  sounds like he's having way too much fun to come back to Mother Earth.

*NFT Everyday 60+m, Bored Ape Yacht Club PFPs re-selling for 200,00+

Sources: Financial Times, New York Times, photos/Annie Lavigne

Next week: Is AI freaking out HUMANs?

The (partial) evolution of Spud

Note: Well... it's been quite a ride. Over the evolution of this all, I've created literally thousands of images using AI. Let's not count the work hours, eh.

In February, when we got into this idea, AI image generation was new, so new that those tools really weren't available to the public at large yet. I started creating images in a more traditional fashion, making composites in Photoshop and processing them into "paintings" using the available AI style transfer tools, in Runway ML, if I remember correctly. 

Then there was Dall-E, or more precisely Dall-E mini, that could actually generate new images from prompts. I dabbled with it, but wasn't really happy with the results. 

And then the AI explosion happened. Midjourney, Dall-E 2, Stable Diffusion... first with just text prompts, but soon after also using images as the source, and using image inpainting. As well as overall quality improvements on a weekly if not daily basis. Talk about a sugar addict in a candy store.

I used each generation of these tools to try with the Pet Zoo again. So, as an end result, we not only have one Mary Jane's Pet Zoo, we have many. Too many in fact. Some examples are in this post.

Even after all of this, I felt we missed one croc pic. So I continued today...

PS: Maggy really wanted to make NFT:s and sell them, luckily that fad has faded away. Not only would making them have been way more trouble than it's worth, but it would have also been a contribution to the insanity that is mining cryptocurrencies (may they rot in the 5th hell). The cannabis agenda mostly faded too - good, to me, it always felt a bit contrived.


More images here