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Monday, January 24, 2022

We got a robot artist to paint Yucatán, here are the results

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.

Applications using artificial intelligence to create content seem to be all the rage today. 

One could be forgiven for brushing off such automation as a fad, but sometimes these technologies deliver some very interesting results.

One example is the mobile phone application WOMBO Dream, which takes images from the Internet to create composites. All it requires is typing in a text prompt.

Feeling curious about what the results would be if we tried out this technology with keywords related to Yucatán, we promptly got to work. Here is what we got. 

An AI’s take on the Yucatán’s Yellow City. Text prompt: Izamal. Image: WOMBO Dream

As you can see, the results of this “AI art” are extremely figurative but have an appealing allure. 

The resemblance with Progreso is there but is still quite dreamlike. Text prompt: Progreso beach Yucatán. Image: WOMBO Dream

Whether or not these pieces should really be referred to as art is ultimately a philosophical question, but they are certainly interesting to look at.

One of the most literal results. Text prompt:, Cochinita Pibil. Image: WOMBO Dream

The AI images evoke their alleged subject matter in a way that is simultaneously quite literal and bizarre.

Another very literal result, quite haunting. Text prompt: Mercado Mérida. Image: WOMBO Dream

As the exact phrasing of the text inputs has big effects on the resulting image, we experimented with several spellings in both English and Spanish, as well as Mayan. Even case sensitivity had an effect on the results.

Text prompt: Yucatecos. Image: WOMBO Dream

Though during our tests inputting the same text twice produced the same image, this may not always be the case as the graphics used by the system are likely to update from time to time. 

This was one of our favorites, as it really captured the essence of Yucatán’s cenotes. Text prompt: Cenote. WOMBO Dream

None of the images have been manipulated or changed in any way, other than some cropping for size consistency. 

Text prompt: Mayan Ruins. Image: Wombo Dream

Almost all of the images produced by the AI came out being quite colorful, which may be a feature of the system or simply the result of the prompts it was given.

Text prompt: Yucatan Birds. Image: WOMBO Dream

One of the few darker-looking images. We assume the figure at the top center of the image is supposed to be the Monument to the Montejo.

Text prompt: Merida Centro. Image: WOMBO Dream

We also experimented with some more generic Mexican terms.

Text prompt: Mexico. Image: Wombo Dream
Text prompt: Bandera Mexico (Mexican Flag). Image: Wombo Dream

Source: WOMBO Dream

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