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Mar 20, 2024 - 10:16:38 AM
Players Union Member

Strelnieks

Germany

361 posts since 6/20/2003

I went on over to https://deepai.org/machine-learning-model/text2img and tried out a bunch of different prompts and art types to generate images of the banjo. I wasn't in a dark mood (how can one be when thinking about the banjo?), but was giving mostly dark or moody prompts like these:

• scary red bird teaches a spider to play the banjo
• nightmare about banjos
• banjos burning in hell
• five-string banjo sinks into the slough of despond
• five-string banjos sink like Prospero's books

(The "slough of despond" and "Prospero's books" are literary references.)

I tried them in different art types offered by the AI, but especially "old drawing", "renaissance painting"; "neo noire", "grotesque art" and "surreal graphics" (my favorite). I saved dozens of interesting results, but thought I'd just post my 12 favorites and encourage others to do the same.

The AI had difficulty with the instrument, often rendering it as a guitar-like monstrosity and, even when the round banjo shape came through, giving it a sound-hole in the middle of the head. Even when I prompted the "five-string banjo" or „just like Earl Scruggs“ or „without a sound-hole“, it often included a sound-hole and usually left off the fifth-string peg. There are often structural issues not only with the banjos, but with the people in the pictures as well - missing or extra fingers, grotesque limbs etc. That is only in part due to my spooky prompts. Anyway, with only one exception, the samples I've posted all have at least one thing recognizable as a banjo.














Mar 20, 2024 - 11:21:18 AM
like this

785 posts since 11/9/2021

All of these are disturbing.

Mar 20, 2024 - 6:01:05 PM

3336 posts since 3/30/2008

....You were not in a dark Mood ? Perhaps you should re-read your own prompts. AI can only do what you prompt it to do. Why were you surprised?

Thanks for the experiment in showing what is possible on AI.

Edited by - tdennis on 03/20/2024 18:05:13

Mar 20, 2024 - 6:19:51 PM

1020 posts since 2/11/2019

This particular AI appears to have been programmed by Satan or one of his disciples. I would stay away.

Mar 20, 2024 - 11:15:25 PM
Players Union Member

Strelnieks

Germany

361 posts since 6/20/2003

quote:
Originally posted by tdennis

....You were not in a dark Mood ? Perhaps you should re-read your own prompts. [...] Why were you surprised?

Thanks for the experiment in showing what is possible on AI.


I was is a halloween mood, not a seriously dark mood. Some of them are less, some more creepy rhan I anticipated.

Despite the dark prompts not all of them are spooky. The red cardinal sitting on the banjo with a mando fretboard (which wasn't in the prompt, BTW), is kinda nice (the prompt for that image included a spider, but the AI ignored that). The guy by the pond is only creepy because the AI gave his foot fingers - again, not in the prompt. And the renaissance-style woman - her crazy limbs are all AI. I did not prompt that at all.

I prompted hell 3-4 times. The one I posted was, weirdly enough, the only one to show fire.

I'll generate some happier ones later.

Mar 20, 2024 - 11:44:35 PM
Players Union Member

Strelnieks

Germany

361 posts since 6/20/2003

@Mad Hornet may be on to something with the remark about the devil. The prompts for these images were very positive:

"pink fluffy unicorns dancing with a banjo"


 and

"happy banjo under a rainbow"


...and yet, alas, they're kinda creepy. The last one ain't so bad. At least her fingers are okay.






 

Edited by - Strelnieks on 03/20/2024 23:46:42

Mar 21, 2024 - 12:44:37 AM

65 posts since 4/2/2009

I’m afraid to ask what you’d get if you requested an artificial intelligent banjo player.

Mar 21, 2024 - 1:04:08 AM
Players Union Member

Strelnieks

Germany

361 posts since 6/20/2003

I have a few more happy images as well, but I'll post a selection of those later.

For now I'll post a poem written by the popular artificial intelligence "ChatGTP". I asked, "Can you write a sonnet about a five-string banjo?" and in about 10-20 seconds, this is what I got. It is of course somewhat cheezy and seems a bit forced in places, but it does follow the standard Shakespeare sonnet form of iambic pentameter and rhyme scheme. I like the line about banjo music making one feel "numb". Yes, that can happen.

In the hands of a skilled musician's touch,
The five-string banjo sings with sweet delight,
Its strings vibrating, melodies take flight,
A sound that stirs the soul and moves so much.

With fingers dancing on the frets so deft,
Each note played with precision and with grace,
The banjo's twang fills up the empty space,
A rhythm that can make the heart feel cleft.

Its body resonates with every strum,
A sound that echoes through the night so clear,
A banjo's song can banish any fear,
And leave you feeling joyous, light, and numb.

So let the banjo's music fill the air,
And let its melodies take you somewhere rare.

Mar 21, 2024 - 1:29:38 AM

361 posts since 6/20/2020

I would suggest these examples are another unsurprising result of bypassing the mysterious and complexly human interplay between emotion and need to express; inspiration as an integral part of being social animals. As a species we appear uniquely susceptible to a belief that technical possibility alone equates to purpose, 'validation' and desirability.

 

Maybe we will have truly taken a step forward as a species when we have evidence of humans acquiring a technology and having the parallel intelligence not to subject ourselves to it's effect?

Edited by - Pomeroy on 03/21/2024 01:35:02

Mar 21, 2024 - 5:07:28 AM

Ziradog

USA

81 posts since 10/23/2016

Not so much Satan as the type of content that dominates the internet.

Mar 21, 2024 - 6:43:03 AM
likes this

4829 posts since 3/28/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Strelnieks

I have a few more happy images as well, but I'll post a selection of those later.

For now I'll post a poem written by the popular artificial intelligence "ChatGTP". I asked, "Can you write a sonnet about a five-string banjo?" and in about 10-20 seconds, this is what I got. It is of course somewhat cheezy and seems a bit forced in places, but it does follow the standard Shakespeare sonnet form of iambic pentameter and rhyme scheme. I like the line about banjo music making one feel "numb". Yes, that can happen.

In the hands of a skilled musician's touch,
The five-string banjo sings with sweet delight,
Its strings vibrating, melodies take flight,
A sound that stirs the soul and moves so much.

With fingers dancing on the frets so deft,
Each note played with precision and with grace,
The banjo's twang fills up the empty space,
A rhythm that can make the heart feel cleft.

Its body resonates with every strum,
A sound that echoes through the night so clear,
A banjo's song can banish any fear,
And leave you feeling joyous, light, and numb.

So let the banjo's music fill the air,
And let its melodies take you somewhere rare.


More like Petrarch than Shakespeare, and that first line has to be tortured a little if we're to see it as iambic pentameter. But still, what we're seeing from AI nowadays is WAY beyond what we could expect just a few years ago. 

And here are the images I got when I asked DALL-E to show me an ancient Greek vase depicting a banjo player.




 

Mar 21, 2024 - 7:04:14 AM
likes this
Players Union Member

Strelnieks

Germany

361 posts since 6/20/2003

quote:
Originally posted by Ira Gitlin

More like Petrarch than Shakespeare, and that first line has to be tortured a little if we're to see it as iambic pentameter. But still, what we're seeing from AI nowadays is WAY beyond what we could expect just a few years ago. 

And here are the images I got when I asked DALL-E to show me an ancient Greek vase depicting a banjo player.


Those are great. That third one is really nice. I had tried the "Egyptian wall painting" style on the other program, but with no success.

Strel

Mar 21, 2024 - 11:32:34 AM
Players Union Member

Strelnieks

Germany

361 posts since 6/20/2003

The following knocked my socks off. I gave ChatGTP a long prompt in which I described the standard history of the banjo as it developed among African-American slaves and then later along with whites - various elements of it coming from Africa, some ideas from Europe, etc. I then asked ChatGTP to rewrite this history of the banjo as a product of Asians in the American west using ideas from Japan, China and Siberia. Here is what it wrote - and it took less than 10 seconds:

================================================================

In the mid-19th century, amidst the burgeoning expansion of the American West, a lesser-known but pivotal group played a significant role in the creation of what would eventually become the five-string banjo: Asian railroad workers. This alternative history unveils a narrative where Japanese, Chinese, and Siberian elements converged to birth this iconic instrument.

The story begins with the influx of Asian immigrants who arrived in America to contribute to the monumental task of constructing the transcontinental railroad. Among them were skilled craftsmen, laborers, and musicians, each bringing their unique cultural heritage and expertise to the new world.

In this narrative, Japanese immigrants, renowned for their craftsmanship and musical traditions, brought with them the shamisen, a traditional three-stringed instrument with a long neck and a skin-covered body. Meanwhile, Chinese laborers, famed for their dexterity and innovation, introduced elements of the pipa, a lute-like instrument with a pear-shaped body and fretted neck. Siberian influences entered the mix through indigenous peoples who migrated southward, carrying with them musical traditions featuring instruments such as the gusli, a type of zither with strings stretched over a resonating body.

As these diverse cultures mingled along the railroad routes, a cross-pollination of musical ideas occurred. Inspired by the landscape of the American West and fueled by a desire to create a new form of expression, Asian railroad workers began experimenting with combining elements of their native instruments.

The result was a fusion instrument with a distinctive character: the five-string banjo. Drawing from the shamisen's resonating body and skin head, the banjo's round shape provided a rich, percussive sound. The pipa's fretted neck contributed to the wider fretboard and adjustable tuning pegs, allowing for greater melodic versatility. Elements of the gusli influenced the addition of extra strings, expanding the instrument's tonal range and harmonic possibilities.

Over time, this innovative creation gained popularity among both Asian railroad workers and the diverse communities they encountered along their journey. As the instrument spread, it evolved further, incorporating influences from African-American musicians and European settlers who added their own stylistic flourishes and techniques.

Thus, the five-string banjo emerged as a symbol of cultural exchange and collaboration, reflecting the contributions of Asian immigrants to the rich tapestry of American music. Though its origins may diverge from the standard narrative, this alternative history highlights the interconnectedness of diverse cultures in shaping the musical landscape of the United States
.

================================================================

So, basically, we now know where the five-string really came from! LOL!

Mar 21, 2024 - 11:50:46 AM
Players Union Member

Strelnieks

Germany

361 posts since 6/20/2003

Now I've asked the AI to write a sad bluegrass song about a cabin, a lost love and drunkenness and in about five seconds it wrote a song with two verses, a chorus and a bridge. The words are not very good, but then again, some standard bluegrass tunes have rather forced and banal lyrics as well ("I'll Never Shed Another Tear", "Your Love Is Like A Flower" etc.). It is singable and even rhymes. The cabin moves from the "hills" in verse 1 to the "valley" in verse 2, however.

Anyway, I am discovering what we already knew: it is much easier and faster to produce this AI material than it is to actually consume it, meaning that it will soon be the norm to simply flood the internet with "stuff" ranging from mediocre to just plain bad. I'll post the song with no further comment below the dotted line, but beyond that I'll spare you any further texts. I still find the AI-images interesting, but these various texts will grow tiresome very quickly, I think.

===================================================

(Verse 1)
In the hills, by the creek, stands a cabin old and worn,
Where the memories of our love, like whispers, still are born.
But the fire's now gone cold, and the echoes fade away,
As I sit here all alone, longing for yesterday.

(Chorus)
Oh, that cabin in the valley, where we laughed and loved so free,
Now it's just a hollow shell, filled with shadows haunting me.
With whiskey as my only friend, I drown my sorrows deep,
In that cabin in the valley, where my lost sweetheart used to sleep.

(Verse 2)
Through the pines, on the breeze, I can hear her voice so clear,
But it's just the wind's cruel song, reminding me she's not near.
She left me in the darkness, with a heart that's torn and bruised,
Now I wander through this emptiness, feeling so confused.

(Chorus)
Oh, that cabin in the valley, where we laughed and loved so free,
Now it's just a hollow shell, filled with shadows haunting me.
With whiskey as my only friend, I drown my sorrows deep,
In that cabin in the valley, where my lost sweetheart used to sleep.

(Bridge)
I've tried to mend my broken soul, with bottles and with tears,
But the pain inside still lingers on, after all these years.
So I'll raise my glass up high, to the love that slipped away,
In that cabin in the valley, where I'll forever stay.

(Chorus)
Oh, that cabin in the valley, where we laughed and loved so free,
Now it's just a hollow shell, filled with shadows haunting me.
With whiskey as my only friend, I drown my sorrows deep,
In that cabin in the valley, where my lost sweetheart used to sleep.

(Tag)
In that cabin in the valley, where my lost sweetheart used to sleep.

Mar 21, 2024 - 11:57:39 AM
Players Union Member

Strelnieks

Germany

361 posts since 6/20/2003

quote:
Originally posted by Pomeroy

Maybe we will have truly taken a step forward as a species when we have evidence of humans acquiring a technology and having the parallel intelligence not to subject ourselves to it's effect?


That is the story going back to Genesis 1 - we bite the apple again and again and again. Whether taken as a literal truth or simply as a wise allegory, we see that man repeatedly grasps for new stuff. In our tragic ("fallen"?) state, we of course yearn for new technologies and ideas that will help us live just a little bit better or longer - and indeed we find great stuff. Nobody wants to go back to pre-modern dentistry. But much of it is a mixed blessing, of course. Some of it we manage, some of it ends up pretty bad.

The problem is we can't peak behind the veil of the future, see the effects, deliberate over them, and then decide whether we want them or not. We have to try something before we know the effects - and then it is too late. We never "unlearn" new technologies.

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