A Man Decided to Create AI Images of Coriander-Eating Competition in S’pore & It’s Triggering

If you ever wanted to see rash displays of true, polarising bipartisanism, look no further than people’s opinions of food. 

Their arguments in explaining why a particular food is golden or garbage contain the same political rhetoric as PM Lee’s National Day Rally speeches.  

Today, our story centres around the ever-divisive herb: coriander.

Man Creates AI Images of Coriander-Eating Competition in Singapore

Posting in the Facebook group Midjourney Official, user Cygig created AI images of what a coriander-eating competition in Singapore might look like.

And it’s ever-so-slightly disturbing.

Whether you love coriander or think it tastes like soap, you can’t deny that the people in these images are crossing into uncanny valley territory. 

Image: Facebook.com (@Cygig)

While this image of three girls slurping the stalks up like ramen is a cilantro-hater’s worst nightmare, the expressions on their faces are enough to make me want to buy a nightlight.

The images show many people celebrating the existence of cilantro in different forms.

Most of them depict people eating the sprigs as if they’ve been deprived of proper food for days.

Some of these images are really funny too, like this cute makcik who can star in Avatar: The Last Coriander Bender.

Image: Facebook.com (@Cygig)

Or this girl who looks like she’s putting a local spin on the American Beauty poster.

Image: Facebook.com (@Cygig)

And this wholesome image of an evergreen romance.

Image: Facebook.com (@Cygig)

To his credit, Cygig, who seems to be Singaporean himself, ensured that even in an AI-generated scenario, there is ethnic representation.

Plus, the amount of detail in each image is pretty impressive.

These images were posted in Midjourney Official, which is the official Facebook group for users to share the images they created using the Midjourney AI program.

Midjourney is a program created by Midjourney Inc. The company describes itself as “an independent research lab exploring new mediums of thought and expanding the imaginative powers of the human species.”

Is AI Really Intelligent?

With the development of AI software like DALL.E and ChatGPT, we are starting to explore their functions and see if they can possibly help us with our day-to-day. 

In particular, the use of ChatGPT has increased over the last few months. ChatGPT is a chatbot that can provide eloquent, human-like responses to questions or commands that you type in.

The software is particularly useful when asking it to summarise and paraphrase long chunks of text, making it every student’s dream (but an educator’s worst nightmare).

Of course, AI is by no means perfect. At times, the mistakes it makes can be piteous, like when someone made ChatGPT take PSLE papers, and it scored an average of 16/100 for Mathematics, narrowly beating me when I was in primary school.

However, there are some features of AI that blur the lines between reality and fantasy, and give rise to ethical conundrums.

The Problems with AI

When photo and video editing software first entered the market, people could use them to express their creative sides. It was revolutionary for the graphic-arts field.

We could even use these programs to “enhance” photos of ourselves and make our Tinder dates wonder why we look nothing like our profiles.

However, on a darker note, a new problem arose: deepfakes.

Deepfakes are pictures or videos of a person in which their face or body has been digitally manipulated, and make it appear as though someone has said or done something they have not.

Deepfakes can be used for harmless purposes, such as creating special effects in movies or digital avatars.

However, they can also be used for malicious purposes, such as spreading false information, or defaming individuals.

In Australia, a woman, Noelle Martin describes how she was a victim of having deepfake pornographic images of her circulate when she was a teenager.

She went to the authorities with her problem, but they could not do anything. This was because at the time, no laws in Australia prohibited the spread of this type of content.

Afterwards, Martin pursued a career in law, advocating for years for the introduction of legislation in Australia to prohibit the unauthorized sharing of intimate images.

As a result of her endeavours, new laws were enacted in 2018 that made the distribution of non-consensual intimate images or “revenge porn” a criminal offence in Australia.

You can Now Hear your Favourite Artist Cover Songs they Never Sang

More recently, there has been a rise in AI-generated audio deepfakes.

There are TikTok videos that imagine how songs would sound like if they were sung by particular artists.

For instance, TikTok user @yeolololo posted a video using an Ariana Grande AI voice to cover popular Korean song Everytime from the K-drama Descendants of the Sun.

Bizzare as it may sound, you can hear Ariana Grande sing in Korean:

@yeolololo Ariana Grande Ai cover – Everytime Ost (Chen & Punch) #ai#arianagrande#cover#everytime#chen#punch#jongdae#ost#descendantsofthesun#koreandrama#kdrama#exo#exol#kpop#acapella#reverb#audio#edit ♬ ariana grande ai cover everytime ost chen punch – yeolo 🧿

Some artists did not take to this kindly, however.

Canadian rapper Drake recently slammed an AI cover that someone made of him rapping the song “Munch” by American rapper Ice Spice.

Drake made his opinion of the cover clear through a now-deleted Instagram story addressing the issue with the caption “This is the final straw AI.”

Universal Music Group has requested streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music to prevent AI companies from utilising its music with their technology, citing copyright violation issues as the primary reason for their dissent.

They managed to get an AI cover successfully removed from streaming services that simulated the voices of Drake and Canadian singer The Weeknd.

So, it remains to be seen how much further AI can go, and how the law will continue to change to keep up with the potential issues that come with the development of technology.

In the meantime, let’s all raise a sprig of cilantro and toast to the wonders of AI technology and its ability to bring people together…or tear them apart.