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"Loab": Why Does AI Keep Generating Images Of This (Slightly Terrifying) Woman?

"Her presence is persistent, and she haunts every image she touches."

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

clockSep 12 2022, 09:45 UTC
A creepy silhouette of a figure emerging from the bottom of a staircase.
Loab approaches. Image credit: supercomposite/Twitter, irinacapel/shutterstock.com

More good news, Crungus fans, for image generating artificial intelligence (AI) has produced another mystery: one system keeps on producing a slightly terrifying image of an unknown woman. According to the person who first made the discovery, the woman – who they have named "Loab" – is "persistent, and she haunts every image she touches".

The face, which becomes more horrifying under certain prompts, was first spotted when Twitter user and AI image creator Supercomposite did some experiments using negative prompt weights. 

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In usual image-generation, a user types in a prompt that they wish the AI to create, whether that's a "nice cat" or "Gordon Ramsey screaming at a baby". Using negative weight prompts, you instead ask the AI to create something as far away as possible from the original prompt.

Of course, AI doesn't quite have the same concept of opposites as we do, and so when Supercomposite typed the term "Brando" as a prompt, and negatively weighted it, it came out with... a logo of a silhouetted town with the words "DIGITA PNTICS" written across the front. 

Curious, Supercomposite tried typing in a description of the logo and assigning it a negative weight, in the expectation that maybe the AI would produce an image of Marlon Brando. Instead, Loab appeared.

As well as consistently showing the same woman, the AI produced some recognizable text that read "LOAB", giving her her name. This isn't the end of Loab's story. In the next step, Supercomposite decided to use images of Loab as a prompt for further experiments. 

"Through some kind of emergent statistical accident, something about this woman is adjacent to extremely gory and macabre imagery in the distribution of the AI's world knowledge," Supercomposite wrote on Twitter.

Whatever the other prompt used, Loab tended to dominate any images where she appeared, and morphed the original concept towards horror and gore.

By using prompts that Supercomposite believed were far enough away from Loab to distort her, she would disappear. However, making derivative images using these outputs would sometimes see Loab return at unexpected times.

It's not clear which system was used for the initial creation as Supercomposite declined to name it, claiming that they didn't want to "start some kind of viral trend of people making gory stuff with the tools I've used". It's also unclear why the AI would create that image from a negative prompt showing that logo, what it has to do with Brando, or why it is associated with concepts surrounding horror and gore by the AI used. 

We do know, however, that AI image generators are prone to doling out these little mysteries. Midjourney has consistently produced another face of a woman, less horrifying than above, which users have called "Miss Journey". It will all have a rational explanation, of course, to do with the images that the AI has learned from and how it associates concepts with each other. 

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Or, as Supercomposite added in a tweet of clarification to the press, "I have brought a real IRL demon to life."


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