Let there be (ring) light.
A British film editor is going viral for using artificial intelligence to imagine famous historical figures such as Jesus, Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth I and Henry VIII taking selfies.
“The results are hilarious, and everyone I’ve shared my work with can’t believe how real the pictures really look,” Duncan Thomsen, 53, told SWNS.
He said he uses the AI software Midjourney through the Discord app, which responds to user-set prompts and commands to generate pictures by referencing billions of images online.
Thomsen has recreated scenes from the Battle of Waterloo, the court of Cleopatra, and the Last Supper.
This fake image imagines Jesus taking a group picture.Duncan Thomsen / SWNS
This AI-generated photo is called “The Last Supper Selfie Stick.”Duncan Thomsen / SWNS
The programming process can be a lengthy one, as AI directs users to tell it exactly what it needs to do and requires “absolute description,” Thomsen explained.
Thomsen thinks the technology is so spot-on that it could be used to teach history in schools, calling it “time traveling without a time machine.”
“You can ask AI to be historically accurate, and then it can reference anything, anywhere, everywhere — that’s the beauty of it,” he told SWNS.
Thomsen created this Cleopatra selfie using AI. “This technology could be used in schools as a new way of teaching and engaging kids with world history. It’s like time traveling without a time machine,” he said.Duncan Thomsen / SWNS
This Battle of Waterloo computer-generated pic is inspired by Napoleon’s final defeat, in 1815.Duncan Thomsen / SWNS
“I got an eye for image through my day job and have been fortunate to have worked with some really great people,” he shared.
“It’s allowed me to cross-reference everything I’ve worked on and explore my imagination without limits, and this is the result.”
Thomsen’s project arrives as tech industry leaders call for an “immediate pause” on the training of advanced AI systems for at least six months.
“I got an eye for image through my day job and have been fortunate to have worked with some really great people,” Thomsen said.Duncan Thomsen / SWNS
“It’s allowed me to cross reference everything I’ve worked on and explore my imagination without limits, and this is the result!” he said.Duncan Thomsen / SWNS
But AI expert Eliezer Yudkowsky argues the proposed moratorium doesn’t go far enough.
“Many researchers steeped in these issues, including myself, expect that the most likely result of building a superhumanly smart AI, under anything remotely like the current circumstances, is that literally everyone on Earth will die,” he wrote in an op-ed published this week by Time.
“Not as in ‘maybe possibly some remote chance,’ but as in ‘that is the obvious thing that would happen.’”
Just this week, it was reported that an AI chatbot allegedly convinced a Belgian man to commit suicide.