The Hand of the AI Creator’s Creator

The sustained interest in AI the last year has flooded the internet with AI-related imagery, most of it generated by AI products like Dalle 3 or Midjourney. Pictures of AI, by AI. (For AI?) There are some interesting themes at work here. The abundance of AI imagery in the media has stirred up anger from artists and an odd mixture of interest and and exhausted resignation on the part of consumers.

Right after I discovered ChatGPT and OpenAI in general I was immediately convinced I would use it to become rich (spoiler: it’s a year later, I’m not rich). One of the earliest manifestations of this mania was an eBook I called GPT Mastery! – yes, with an exclamation point. A guide about prompting techniques intended for marketers. I’ll link it at the bottom of the article.

I have a fascination with the infomercials that were on TV in the 80s and 90s when I was growing up. It can’t be healthy. It makes me look at things like an android hand in front of some dollar signs and think “Yeah, that’s classy, people will want this!”

My reason for mentioning it here is the hero image I originally used on the website and later in the eBook. I think I made it with Canva. Note the android hand.

Give me a Hand with This, HAL

Since the day I felt terribly clever about my cool AI image, I’ve seen robot hands everywhere! Android hands, technically, since an android is a robot meant to mimic a human.

It’s possible they are not as slick as I thought. Maybe they are merely easy to do and thoroughly trained into the image generators.

Image generators are trained on massive amounts of data, and they exhibit patterns found in that data when they generate images for people like, say, AI bloggers. Everyone who copies and pastes an AI-related subject into an image generator as a prompt could end up with similar-looking AI hands. Like AI shaking hands:

Or using fancy tablet interfaces and phones – often seen as holograms in generated images:

Or very often, reaching out to touch someone:

A human hand and a robotic hand reaching for each other on opposite sides of a transparent, holographic display, their index fingers nearly touching.
Now where have I seen this before? Screenshot: Forbes

But Which One is Adam?

The image above should be familiar to anyone who has studied art history and probably a good number of people besides. That’s because it’s patterned after (and almost certainly trained on) the long tradition of imagery derived from the Creazione di Adamo, the famous panel of Michelangelo’s works in the Sistine Chapel that shows God and Adam nearly touching fingertips.

It is a timeless classic that has inspired an endless number of parodies in modernity and many genuine homages in history.

If we use the left-right orientation of the AI image on the Forbes article above, that would make the robot God. Think about this little game of influence-inception: God creates man, man paints a painting of man and God, man trains machine on painting, man asks machine for a picture of a machine, machine draws man and God – with itself as God! Checkmate, silly humans.

*link to my prompting guide for marketers.