How to Get a Mean AI to Roast You
While scrolling through Facebook recently, I noticed a few friends share a selfie along with a box below it that offered a description of the photo. The text described everything in the photo, including whatever was in the background and of the person themselves. While the background description was pretty mundane, how it described the person themself on the other hand was pretty matter-of-fact, and not always flattering. In one instance it said the person had a "menacing smile" and was "without eyebrows" (which isn't the case). I did a little digging and found out the description came from a website called CLIP Interrogator. A website that uses artificial intelligence to generate a description of whatever photo you upload to it.
How CLIP Interrogator Works
According to Noor Al-Sibai who writes for a blog called "The Byte" on Futurism, the point of CLIP Interrogator is to provide a description of a photo if you're looking to recreate it. The best way I can think to explain it, and I'm no tech expert or computer programmer by any stretch of the imagination, is like this: Let's say you find a photo you really like online, but you can't use it because it belongs to someone else, and doing so would be copyright infringement. So instead, you can upload the photo to CLIP Interrogator and use the description it spits out to stage your own version. Honestly, I don't know why you couldn't do that just by looking at the photo, but what do I know?
What's happened instead is that people are using it to see how the program describes their appearance. Considering it is artificial intelligence and has no human emotion, it can be very blunt. Al-Sibai notes it described a professor at Georgia Tech "as a muppet" who has a "punchable face."
Of course, I would be doing myself, and maybe even you since you took time to read this article, a disservice if I didn't try it myself, right? I grabbed three selfies I posted on my own Facebook page and uploaded them to CLIP Interrogator. The first was a picture taken while I was singing Poison's "Talk Dirty to Me" while wearing a blond mullet wig and playing a video game guitar during this year's Celebrity Karaoke at the West Side Nut Club Fall Festival.
Here's how CLIP Interrogator described it:
In case it's hard to read, here's what it says:
a man holding a guitar and singing into a microphone, a screenshot, inspired by Milton Menasco, featured on reddit, cobra, hair in a ponytail. shirt, blond furr, pride parade, jurgen klopp, cascadia, hip corporate, long flowing white hair, 80’s, performing
There's nothing here that hurts my feeling, although I have no idea who Milton Menasco is or what a cobra has to do with anything. My favorite part is "blond furr," which, for starters is misspelled, but also is fairly accurate for the rat's nest I was wearing on my head that day. Let's try another.
This one is from the 2021 - 911 Gives Hope for the Holidays. I had made a bet with Travis Sams for the Colts vs. Steelers game that if the Steelers won, I would wear Steelers gear in public. Obviously, my Colts let me down, so I paid off my debt.
Here's what it says:
a man standing in front of a truck in a parking lot, a stock photo, by Arlington Nelson Lindenmuth, pinterest contest winner, very angry expression, pittsburgh, blue - grey gear, iphone selfie, wafflehouse, mike mignogna, vendors, early morning mood, trash, waporware
Not bad. I am (was) a man standing in front of a truck in a parking lot. I did have a very angry expression because I was not thrilled about having to wear the gear. And, it was an iPhone selfie. Why it included "wafflehouse," I have no idea.
Finally, I tried just a normal selfie. I took this one in the studio before we got our most recent St. Jude Radiothon underway.
Here's what it says:
a man standing in front of a microphone, a silk screen, inspired by Dave Arredondo, wearing a modern yellow tshirt, tumors, last selfie ever taken, radio equipment, ohio, dmd, symmetrical logo, low - angle shot from behind
Again, I don't know who Dave Arredondo is, I'm assuming he's a photographer and I accidentally took a picture that looks like something he would do. The line that concerns me is, "last selfie ever taken," which sounds kind of ominous. Does the A.I. know something I don't?
If you're curious to see what it says about one of your photos, you can try it for yourself here.