Big AI Image Generator Midjourney Makes Awful Game Controllers

When it’s not stealing or plagiarizing, generative AI is improving quickly. Images that used to look uncanny now appear more natural and humanly imperfect. But it still struggles with plenty of things. Apparently video game controllers are one of them. Someone asked Midjourney for simple pictures of a person having fun playing video games, and got back some beautiful abominations.

A generative AI enthusiast asked the Midjourney community for help this week when a simple prompt returned some nightmares. “Mj has a real tough time with ‘playing video games’ apparently,” they posted on the project’s subreddit. “Any ideas how I could improve this? Prompt: female influencer relaxing playing PlayStation 5 having a blast”

While Midjourney managed to render a human with the right number of fingers, the controllers in her hands and how she was holding them looked like something out of a Cronenberg movie. The gamepads are overflowing with random buttons, triggers, and sticks, and not in a cool way. Microsoft’s adaptiver controller looks sleek. Midjourney’s version hurts just looking at it.

As many commenters suggested, one reason could be the overly broad prompt. While “playing” is intuitive to the average person, it’s vague when compared to what a search for it might reveal. The bigger culprit, though, is probably that there just aren’t many images of the backs of controllers compared to all the front-facing promotional shots companies release to sell them.

In that regard, the failed experiment potentially reinforces one of generative AI’s biggest weaknesses: It’s great at giving you variations on what already exists, but struggles to bridge the gaps in what’s missing. Or it borrows from existing sources in the wrong ways. Some of you might remember the infamous grip meme, and it certainly looks like that’s what Midjourney is recreating in the fourth image. Turns out the fake AI gamer girl is actually an extremely hardcore Armored Core fan.

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