Visualizing Consciousness: by an artificial artist.

Digital canvas

Visualizing Consciousness: by an artificial artist.

All 100 images in this artwork were computer generated by an artificially intelligent neural network responding to examinations on the nature of consciousness. They are presented on a Meural digital canvas alongside the inputted text and authorship.

The bleeding edge of computer image generation uses a diffusion model to add noise to images and then denoise them until they best describe the input text, sequentially discarding less accurate generations. These generators have become quite popular and will do a reasonably good job at generating images for descriptions such as ‘photograph of a cat on a skateboard holding a watermelon.’

When I originally encountered these networks, my immediate thought was to view them as artificially intelligent artists, for which I was the client. My first thought was to feed them Fluxus descriptions and then later I tried provocative statements, but neither produced particularly compelling imagery. Currently I have been researching consciousness and so have been experimenting with treating neural networks as conscious entities. Rather than relying on my own speculations, I decided to invite perspectives from the neural networks themselves. Quoting esteemed consciousness researchers, both scientific and philosophical, I have set neural networks to the task of visualizing consciousness. They seem to have some very interesting ideas.