Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

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Old image of Mordor
Barad-dur, Mordor

Tolkien’s for Sale

Commercializing the beloved epic fantasy comes at a cost

What happens when a beloved fantasy world, once respected and celebrated because it soared above the surrounding fray of decadent literature and art, becomes mainstream? What if the very work that was intended to transcend consumerism becomes the object of mass consumption? Harley J. Sims, writing for MercatorNet, believes Amazon has diluted the characteristic beauty and depth of The Lord of the Rings for the sake of mass consumption and appeal. I’ve shared my own thoughts on the new Rings of Power show in two separate pieces (here and here) for Mind Matters already, but just to recap: the show is interesting and entertaining enough to keep watching, but it’s missing something—a moral and imaginative ingredient Tolkien articulated beautifully in…

futuristid dystopian city
Dystopian futuristic cyberpunk city at night in a neon haze. Blue and purple glowing neon lights. Urban wallpaper. 3D illustration.

AI Art Tool Can Generate Both Beauty and Horror

Making AI image generators mainstream might offer people an interesting new frontier to explore. But the tech has a serious dark side

The capacities of AI art generators have grown much in the past couple of years. Through complex algorithms, AI scans the internet and manages to make artistic composites, some sublime, others grotesque. Today, AI art generators have incredible potential, but their capacities can also be easily abused. According to a Wired article from September 21, Science fiction novelist Elle Simpson-Edin wanted to generate artwork for her newest book. So, she tried AI tools. Her novel unabashedly depicts gore and sex, but most of the AI tools she discovered included “guardrails” that sanctioned explicit content. That is until she found Unstable Diffusion, “a Discord community for people using unrestricted versions of a recently released, open source AI image tool called Stable Diffusion.”…