This is Loab, an Original Cryptid Nightmare that AI Just Cooked Up
Meet Loab, the most terrifying face revolving around the internet that AI created as a cryptid art
Mysteries and the internet have gone hand in hand since the latter’s utilization was popularized in the mid to late 90s. At present, the use of AI to generate different and unique pieces of art has been rolling over the past few months, a new mystery has emerged and looks to be made from the stuff of nightmares.
An AI art enthusiast has seemingly stumbled across a creepy, recurring image – now popular as Loab – which appears to be more effortlessly generated than you’d ever expected or desired. The internet is now experiencing the haunting of Loab, the first AI cryptid. Artificial intelligence has traveled a long way since the idea was pioneered by Alan Turing in the 1950s. In a nutshell, machines with artificial intelligence have been programmed which allows them to mimic human intelligence – and in particular, cases learn and upgrade – to complete preordained tasks. AI is the foundation of our technology-orientated modern lives, and in recent times it has begun to make its influence known in the artistic sphere.
Scientists have created bespoke AI programs that are efficient at taking prompts from humans – often in the form of plain text or images – and use them as guiding points of inspiration with which to generate art. Mostly, these computer-generated images are chaotically random and surrealist in nature, and sometimes they have even been marked to stray into the realms of the nightmarish and the creepy.
Enter Loab, a scary, recurring image Earlier this year Twitter user Supercomposite claims to have inspired the creation of an AI-generated woman – that they named Loab – who ‘haunts every image that she touches’ and was developed in April, according to a report by IGN.
The Origins of Loab
Supercomposite reportedly demanded the AI to make a picture that was the reverse of Marlon Brando, which is how Loab’s purported existence came to be. To accomplish this, they entered what is referred to as a negatively weighted prompt, which prompts the system to generate the exact opposite of what it first thought was its subject. In this instance, they attended to the prompt “Brando: -1” and unknowingly came up with an odd logo that had a skyline and the letters “DIGITA PNTICS.” Supercomposite’s curiosity overcame him, and he gave the letters back to the AI as another negative prompt with a finger-cross that it would display a picture of Marlon Brando. The initial pictures of Loab came up after Supercomposite typed those letters. What came out was a picture of a disfigured person, Supercomposite told that things just became stranger from that point on. They decided to merge one of Loab’s photographs with a friend’s creation of an angel-filled glass tunnel and the results were terrifying.
The results are bizarre – and Supercomposite and other AI artists say that something about the Loab image drives art creation tools toward the horrific. We won’t be posting the more intense images in this story, but be warned that the linked Twitter thread contains pictures some may find unpleasant. “Through some kind of emergent statistical accident, something about this woman is adjacent to extremely gory and macabre imagery in the distribution of the AI’s world knowledge,” said Supercomposite in a Twitter thread detailing the emergence of Loab.
Moreover, where you might anticipate multiple iterations of combined images to begin showing something unique, Supercomposite says Loab is unexpectedly persistent. In the Twitter thread, they mentioned that almost all of the subsequent prompts that involved Loab featured her as a prominent, recognizable figure central to the disturbing and often gory scenes she inhabited. The AI was able to ‘latch onto the idea of Loab’ so well, that she persisted through generations of images – even reappearing in later images after seemingly disappearing.
The AI artist’sunintended creation Loab and its overall creepiness led one person to dub her ‘the first cryptid of the latent space (a term referring to the space between the input and output in machine learning), and the internet has followed suit, dubbing her everything from a hero to a demon, and even generating fan art of the digital art. Some debate occurred over whether this is a legitimate quirk of AI art software, or a cleverly disguised creepypasta – although Supercomposite and their friends have posted chat logs that seem to point to Loab being discussed privately as far back as April this year.
Regardless of the truth of Loab’s origins, she’s now trending on Twitter, and giving rise to discussion well beyond her original thread on topics as far-ranging as machine learning biases and the validity of AI art – it feels as though we’ll be seeing her haunt the Internet for some time to come.