Computer, Draw an Open Toilet Sitting In a Grassy Field

This morning, while interviewing 19-year-old Elman Mansimov, I had one of those moments. I caught my reflection in my MacBook’s screen and thought, “What the hell am I doing with my life?” Mansimov is an artificial intelligence wunderkind who just graduated with a degree in computer science from the University of Toronto, which he started at the age of 15. He’s publishing his first paper this year. It’s an impressive enough feat on its own, but the contents of his paper are what really triggered my mini existential crisis. Mansimov and his older colleagues designed an AI system that can generate all kinds of trippy images, like a stop sign flying in a blue sky, based on captions written in natural language. In other words, you tell the computer to…


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