Newsletter 20 - Loab

Hi friends, Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Horror author Paul James Keyes here with another newsletter!

Last time I wrote about the nature of infinity [LINK TO NEWSLETTER 19 - THE NATURE OF INFINITY]—this time I want to tell you the true story of Loab, the first AI cryptid.

What is Loab? Well, it’s a scary looking entity that exists in the liminal space of an AI mind. After being discovered, Loab has become an easily targetable term that can be drawn by image generating AI. The style changes, but the “Loabness” of the images are unquestionable.  The image I included in this newsletter is one of the least scary that exists of Loab. She was once just a nightmare in the machine, but now Loab has transmitted itself into the public consciousness.

The story of Loab is both mundane and eerie. A researcher interested in learning about the inspiration AI uses to draw its images developed a way of asking for an image to contain none of the quality of a term by affixing a -1 to the search query. This was basically a negative or “opposite” search term. They tried it with the term Marlon Brando-1. The image that popped up was of a city-scape that came with a nonsensical name attached. They took that name and entered it back in with a -1 prompt in the hopes of seeing an image of Marlon Brando.

That is not what appeared.  Instead, the image given back was the first image of Loab.

The researcher was able to use that image to generate more images of the horror inducing entity.  The AI latched on to the horrific quality of Loab and was able to pump out some truly terrifying images.

Some people have reported difficulty getting AI to draw images of Loab (I’m sure it depends on which AI is used), for others it pops up at random, inserting itself into otherwise innocent prompts, almost like a digital haunting. To me, the most interesting part of Loab is that the quality or vibe of Loab exists in the negative space of the AI’s “mind”—and really the AI’s “mind” is just a reflection of the conglomerate human consciousness.

Loab sprang into being the moment we became aware of it. Or perhaps it has always existed, just waiting to be discovered.  Either way, it has exited the negative space and now exists as a theme to draw upon in the forefront of the AI mind.

It persists like a scary meme in our minds and across the internet, with new images being drawn up every day by people who remain fascinated by her story of spontaneous creation.

What else exists in the liminal space of our consciousness that AI could show us in the future? Hopefully, it won’t all be pure nightmare fuel like Loab—unless you like that sort of thing!

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