As we watch more and more of our lives being placed into the digital dimension, some parallels are beginning to develop between this online space and the paranormal activity that so many of us believe exists in real life.
When we think we see a ghost, or hear some unseen, spectral bump in the night, we tend to think of these things as existing in a place just outside of our own literal world. They glance in from their hidden spaces from time to time to remind us that they exist.
In the future, our long-abandoned email addresses may come back to haunt us in a similar way, after enough rounds of identity theft and password dumps eventually bringing us to the point where hackers have access to these posthumous online postal services. We’ll be seeing the ghost of [email protected] pop up in our inboxes, long after the Biker Dude is long gone.
And, perhaps scarier still are the digital deities that we’ll create as artificial intelligence begins to come into its own.
In fact, one artists believes that she’s already seeing a “ghost” within A.I. art, and she’s beginning to haunt the entire algorithm.
Earlier this month, Twitter user Supercomposite posted a thread of spooky images featuring a woman she calls “Loab,” who usually has red cheeks and dark, hollow eyes. Since then, the images, which range from unsettling to grotesque, have gone viral.
The images of Loab all come from an artificial intelligence (A.I.) art tool. These tools, like DALL-E 2, create images based on text prompts users input into the platform—and they are having a cultural moment as of late. Just last month, a piece of A.I.-created art won the Colorado State Fair art competition. Plenty of artists are experimenting with such tools to merge art with technology and create new, avant-garde pieces.Advertisement - story continues below
Supercomposite, a Swedish musician and A.I. artist, is one of them. She writes that she started with the prompt “Brando” and used something called “negative prompt weights”—that is, she asked the A.I. image generator to create the opposite of her text prompt. In response to “Brando,” the tool generated an image that looked like a logo, which read “DIGITA PNTICS.”
But then things got spooky:
“I wondered: is the opposite of that logo, in turn, going to be a picture of Marlon Brando?” wrote Supercomposite on Twitter. The artist entered the words “DIGITA PNTICS skyline logo.” And that’s when Loab (named for a word that appeared in one of the images) began to emerge.
Now, as Loab becomes ever more popular, social media users are beginning to post pictures in which Loab has appeared for them as well.
i want an A24 horror movie of Loab immediately https://t.co/4dYlTEvyKk
— garry 🎃 (@repeattofade) October 2, 2022
I set out to disprove #LOAB by @supercomposite but I was so so wrong. I found her, except she is young.
the one on the right(old) is just plugging in the original photo by the artist. The left (young) is plugging in the same two photos she originally used. #midjourney pic.twitter.com/tWqGAMJ96A
— SusuSim76 (@SusuSim76) October 2, 2022
THIS IS A LOAB STAN ACCOUNT!! I LOVE HER pic.twitter.com/ByhgdbolGB
— harryween?:) (@impitwink) October 2, 2022
So, is Loab a digital ghost, an A.I. trend, or something else entirely? Unfortunately, we have no choice but to find out now.