One of my works in progress is a science fiction novella about the creation of an artificial general intelligence (AGI). The story features a scene where the human programmers are amazed that the AGI can create original artwork of any kind on demand. I wrote the first draft in 2018. Yes, just four years ago an AI that could create art seemed like a speculative bit of futurism. Now it appears I will need to revise that scene, as what was “sci-fi” then is now just “sci.” Reality is progressing faster than I can publish science fiction.
When I wrote this post about DALL-E last May, I had only seen others’ generative-AI creations; I hadn’t gotten the chance to create my own AI art yet. Now I have and am utterly addicted. There was much hype around AI image generators like DALL-E and Midjourney when they were first released. Usually when something is hyped that much in the media it is overblown; the reality is far less dramatic. But after DALL-E became public, plus the release of the free and open-source Stable Diffusion, I have had the chance to create my own AI art (thousands of images at this point—and counting). While the initial hype was quite high, I would venture to say it was not nearly high enough. Most people still don’t realize how significant generative AI is/will be. In the future, people will look back at the world pre-AI art as a distinct, unrecognizable time. Generative AI is a total game-changer, an artistic singularity.
With 2022 winding down, it’s time for my seventh annual list of the ten best films (at least ten years old) that I watched over this past year. The list is somewhat random and arbitrary, based on the movies I happen to choose to watch (or re-watch). The only theme I noticed from this year’s list is that the 1970s truly were a Golden Age of Hollywood filmmaking. Even some of the deeper cuts from that decade are great.
I would say they don’t make movies like this anymore, except they did—at least once with The Revenant in 2015, which was clearly influenced by Jeremiah Johnson. This is a powerful film, so different from most of the CGI-reliant movies made today. You can tell the cast and crew were actually there on location in the remote wilderness of Utah filming this movie—and simply seeing that natural landscape on the big screen was captivating. It makes you realize just how extraordinary the pioneers who ventured out West were, considering the lengths it took to survive mother nature. The film also portrays the tragic violence that took place between humans—the pioneers and the Native Americans. Sometimes I feel the desire to become like Jeremiah Johnson and move out to the remote mountains, build my own cabin, and live a quiet life alone in nature to read and write—but only sometimes.