A Winter Break Exploration into AI-Driven Image Generation

We get a rather substantial winter break at SUNY Brockport, and I often use this time to do something “different”. This year, I wanted to explore image generation using AI (since everything AI is all the rage right now). Furthermore, I upgraded my computer recently and purchased a high(er) end graphics card. I got to thinking that running AI generation software locally might be a good test of my system, but needed a project. Then, I found this in my inbox:

I tend not to trust NY Times emails (if you trust blocked content, then any ads in the email are shown; however if I go directly to the website, my adblockers do their job). What is interesting is that the alt text for the image seems very AI-like. I wonder why a company focused on writing words needs to use an AI to generate a caption for an image they created (hopefully that is the case). It got me thinking: if they used AI to generate this caption, I would like to see what AI does with those words as a prompt to generate images.

I would not say that getting my computer set up for image generation was trivial; however, the documentation at huggingface has been extremely helpful with clear and concise examples. Knowing a bit of python – and knowing that ChatGPT can generate the code I don’t know, has made creating a simple locally-driven image generation app fairly straightforward.

Anyway, on to the results. I took the caption above and used that to prompt some image generation models. There are a bunch out there, including stable diffusion, open journey, and open dalle. I’ve got a version of each stored locally, and here’s what they came up with.

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Use the force, chatGPT

I’ve been doing a lot of fiddling with chatGPT and how it might be used in academia (as a tool for good). It’s that time of the semester when the pile of grading on my desk is getting high enough that I start coming up with novel ways to procrastinate. (Plus, I just got a filling this morning, and I am not in the mood to read student writing at this moment.)

So, instead of doing the work I should be doing, I decided to do the work I want to be doing, and that is, thinking about what a general education course on lightsabers would look like. With the help of chatGPT, here’s what I came up with. I think it would be fun.

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I won something!

This past week, I was humbled to receive the Monika Andrews Creative Volunteer Leadership Award, which is offered annually to a resident of Brockport, Sweden, or Clarkson in recognition of volunteer contributions to the community.

Me with Bill Andrews (to my right, who endowed the award), Rozenn, and two members of the selection committee.

Here’s a snippet of text from the Award citation:

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Let’s have a Chat[GPT]

ChatGPT is all the rage right now and I figured it was time for me to jump on the bandwagon. I’ve been exploring the API to see how I might use (and potentially abuse) the chatbot in my teaching and research. Perhaps I’ll write a bit later about how I had it design the introductory slides of my course this semester, or how well it performed on the first test in my course Quantitative Chemical Analysis, but for now, I wanted to share how it could help with developing a research idea.

Here’s the situation: I have a student who is interested in creating a biosensor for her independent study. The paper she found uses a field effect transistor which is something that (a) I know virtually nothing about and (b) requires a fair amount of high end equipment that is unavailable at my institution. What we have is a cool way to make graphene (I’ll share that later) and I’d like to know if I can functionalize that graphene with something that might be interesting. I decided to see if chatGPT can help me with my research. Here’s the transcript.

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Coal for Gimli?

Gimli gave us a bit of a scare after Thanksgiving. The basement doors blew open during a windstorm and the runt escaped. He ended up spending the night outdoors. After an anxious night (yes, I’m attached to my kitties), I took what I expected to be a final search for Gimli around the neighborhood, when I heard him crying near the garage. I turned around and there was a grumpy Gimli, sitting on the patio, cold and scared, but no worse for wear. (In fact, despite the rain he was neither wet nor muddy, so I’m thinking he got himself caught in the garage and was too scared to call out when he hear us searching for him.) Anyway, he spent his day back warming up.

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