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Deep Dream

I find this very interesting. So I get the basic concept, though how it adds up to an artificial intelligence beats me.I suppose it must be in that moment of deciding perception between,, say, what's a gap and what's an eye. But maybe every gap just gets filled with eyes. What a trippy intelligence it would be! I quite like the idea of feeding it interesting images to see what it identifies and reiterates. Looking at the results, there's obviously a lot of repetition, but still, it reminds me very much of fairy art, Dadd, Fitzberald, Froud,Spare even, filtered through some pretty fierce acid.

A friend wisely mentioned that Google Deep Dream can trigger Trypophoboia, for which reason I've put the pic behind the cut:





People are reacting in very interesting ways to google deep dream. Here's one person's take on it:

I just had to spend a little time meditating to get my head back into balance after being mentally assaulted by a Google Deep Dream-ed picture in my News Feed. It actually hurt my eyes to look at it, and then I felt sick, like you do when you're sea sick.

We have to grow up and realise that the internet is a dangerous place - just as much as the outside world can be, if you don't know how to handle yourself. Google is not our friend. Neither is Facebook for that matter. They just tolerate us so they can hover around us like parasitic fleas....They don't spend years and millions of dollars developing a new interface because they love us so much that they want to give us a nice, shiny new toy.

I think Google Deep Dream is very dangerous mind programming. With an article written in words, I can choose whether or not read it, and give it a miss if I don't trust its provenance. Words have the power to communicate and transmit ideas via the neural pathways of the writer, and new ideas are what create the synapses in our brains. I can choose not to take on the thinking, and thus the neural pathways of a certain writer. But pictures are different. As the saying goes, 'a picture speaks a thousand words', and therefore one picture can send a message of a thousand words to create a thousand new synapses all at once. Just by accidently looking at one of these Google Deep Dream pictures, the reprogramming is 'in' before you know it. There is no defence against it.

As one artist said in a review, only half-jokingly: "Google Deep Dream is our punishment for not liking Google Glass." Google Glass was what was supposed to take us one step closer to merging with machines; with Google Deep Dream, we have a machine making us think like a machine.

I will be unFriending anyone who uses Google Deep Dream pictures, because I don't want Google - or anyone - reprogramming my brain.


I'm not convinced, but it does raise some interesting questions. Would the viewer be as troubled if these images were created by other humans? The visions of Hieronymous Bosch and Goya can be nightmarish. Is there really some deep fear of being reprogrammed by, I don't know, Global corporations and governments? The Illuminati? The strangely unaccountable powers of the net? The rise of the machines? Is this some kind of 21st Century parallel to the fear of possession?

The pics do remind me of some examples of schizophrenic art. Maybe on an animal level some people feel that and respond to it as a dangerous thing. And of course there is the phobic factor. What is interesting is that the same lady who has such problems with it advised 'Nature' as a cure. But nature is full of alarming images, and psylocibin, ayahuasca and salvia, to name but a few, can take one far beyond some momentary pic of a woman with eyes in her hair. Perhaps it's that moment of turning away from an idea or image that is so beyond our reference, we just can't connect with it on any level. More likely, I think, is that incongruous familiarity is the problem; bits we connect with in positions and places they don't belong.

I can see the point about sea sickness though. There is something strangely mobile about it. This reminds me that I have still to see the exhibition of Bedlam art at the Watts Gallery. Meantime, I have uploaded another pic to Google deep dream; this time it's of apple blossom. No faces, buildings or dogs. Let's see what develops.

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