A.I. future and our Megafaunal past

People have viewed the new A.I. generated art with trepidations. While I can see problems moving forward, I immediately started salivating when I heard you can ask a bot a prompt and in seconds it could generate something.

Even though most of this blog is about the current restoration work I’m doing in native Hawaiian ecosystems, it is still influenced by an older passion I have for extinct megafauna. What would the world look like if not only were they still around, but happily coexisting with us?

My mind is full of images and scenes of what that could look like. And it’s informed by the few places in the world that still have large animals and have also accepted them into society. (Note: not that it is without challenges.) Indian cities mostly, but also places like Harar, Ethiopia and their urban hyaenas.

North America lost most of their megafauna in a short span of time during the transition from the last ice age. But there is a version of the multiverse where they are still around. What could that world look like? I may have these images in my head, but I don’t really have the artistic skill to pull it off.

Enter A.I. generated art. A dear friend of mine, Nick Needle is a great artist and has also been playing around with A.I. I asked him to prompt it to show a giant ground sloth crossing a busy street in the style of Norman Rockwell. These are what he came up with:

Words don’t really capture the joy I felt when I first laid eyes on these images. This could be AnyPlace, USA. It really captures what I mean by sharing the planet. I made a whole category on my blog about this very topic. It’s really at the heart of what I do. When I say things in my posts about imagining a better world with humans and animals coexisting? Now you don’t have to imagine, images like this are what my mind’s eye sees.

Yes, the sloth may look like some weird combination of a bear and sasquatch. But the ability to give people glimpses of the world I want? Yes please! I am going to use this A.I. generated art to its fullest. Expect more images like these. Many, many thanks again to Nick Needle for creating these fine pieces of joy!

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