We truly do live in a strange future. Maybe you've heard of the Craiyon AI art generator, which has amused and confused the internet lately. All you have to do is type something in and it'll create a picture of what you wrote, or as nearly as it can.
So we decided to test how well it captures some typical Montana images.
We started easy, with Butte, Montana as our text prompt, and got this:
Not bad, right? A little sketchy in places, but it captures the spirit, if not the grandeur, of Butte.
Check this one out - that's what Butte looks like after you've had a few too many black and tans on St. Patty's Day.
Here are its attempts at Missoula and Bozeman, both pretty green and idyllic for the rapidly growing cities that they are. Perhaps AI gets nostalgic.
And here's the computer's notion of Billings, complete with skyscrapers:
From here we decided to give Craiyon a challenge:
We think it did surprisingly well, save for the fact that Lewis and Clark occasionally resemble winged insects.
But how well can it replicate the work of C. M. Russell, the most legendary of all Montana artists? Not well, as it turns out. We asked for a cowboy riding his horse through Montana in the style of C. M. Russell and got this, which is just bizarre, even if the horse is pretty good aside from the large blooming onion growing out of his back. The cowboy, however, is going to have to work on his basic horsemanship. Our verdict: Russell is yet to be surpassed by a robot.
How about TV's favorite show, Yellowstone? Can it render John Dutton pouring himself a glass of whiskey by the fireplace, something that occurs with great regularity on that program?
Nope, not really. Although it does have his shirts about right!
But the REAL test is whether it can conjure one of Montana's yearly seasonal sights:
On this one we have to say it's done pretty well. Sure some of the bison are cutely diminutive or have spindly legs, and some of the tourists appear to either be melting into their cars or being birthed out of them. But the sense of foolhardy entitlement is more than present!
If you want to try out your own AI-generated images, you can do so by visiting Craiyon yourself!
But for now, we can safely say that Montana's legion of photographers, painters, and other artists are probably not at risk of losing their jobs to a robot yet.