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DALL-E Struggles

A fruitless session, for my own records

By Lana V LynxPublished 13 days ago 5 min read
A simple colorful pinwheel created by DALL-E on Feb.7, 2024

Yesterday (February 6, 2024) I needed to create an image of a colorful pinwheel to illustrate the Circuit of Culture model for my today's class. I am paying over $20/month for the ChatGPT subscription that now includes the latest version of the DALL-E image generator. So I decided to put it to work. I will just give the screenshots of my numerous attempts to get it right and provide them with commentary and explanations as needed.

Attempt 1 prompt: Please draw a picture of a 5-petal colorful pinwheel with the following words on each petal: regulation; representation; production; consumption; identity.

Attempt 1 output:

I couldn't believe my eyes. COLORFUL, yes, but 8 (!) petals with horribly misspelled words?! I wouldn't have that, for sure.

Attempt 2 prompt: Please try again. There must be only 5 petals, and each of them marked clearly, with no spelling mistakes.

Attempt 2 output:

More petals than I need again, horribly misspelled words, some of them repeated twice. Let's try again. Engaging in conversation with human and non-human entities is my profession, so I will start the prompt by hooking on the AI's last sentence, making sure the conversation flows.

Attempt 3 prompt: I'm checking the image above and it has eight petals. I've asked for five. Please try again. The words must be spelled correctly.

Attempt 3 output:

Now it has employed this new feature where DALL-E would produce two images side by side and you are supposed to select the one that is better meeting your needs. None of these do, so I'm up for a new prompt. I'm polite but insistent.

Attempt 4 prompt: Try again, please. Only five petals, not six or seven, each labeled separately with correctly spelled words: regulation, representation, production, consumption, identity.

Attempt 4 output:

It's like it's testing my patience or intelligence, insisting every time that it created an image with EXACTLY five petals, each labeled as I requested. Alright, I'll try a technique I often use with my students: Ask a question to see if it will be able to identify its own mistake.

Attempt 4 question: Check the image: how many petals does it have?

Attempt 4 response:

So, it AIMED to have five petals... What DALL-E tells me is that it cannot verify the requested specifications. I'm not the one who gives up easily, so...

Attempt 5 prompt: Yes, please. Create a pinwheel with FIVE petals, one for each of the words: regulation, representation, production, consumption, identity.

Attempt 5 output:

Now it has 10 petals! More than on previous tries. I'm getting so frustrated I wonder if it's just time completely wasted. But I'm also curious and stubborn, so I'll make another attempt. At this point, I am copying and pasting my original prompt with statements expressing my polite frustration. Like with a child...

Attempt 6 prompt: The image you just created has 10 petals. Try again, please. Create a digital image of a pinwheel with FIVE petals, one for each of the words: regulation, representation, production, consumption, identity.

Attempt 6 output:

You must be effing kidding me! Now it has 10 large petals, with two additional ones embedded into each! And it's all black-and-white, the color is lost. I am starting to suspect that maybe it is biased toward symmetry and does not know how to draw an odd number of things? Let me try this again, hooking on its last sentence.

Attempt 7 prompt: No, the image does not meet my requirements. It now has even more petals and some words used twice and misspelled badly. Please try again: A digital art pinwheel with FIVE petals, one for each of the words: regulation, representation, production, consumption, identity.

Attempt 7 output:

OK, this one has 9 petals, albeit with the ninth one shorter than the others. So it's not the issue of symmetry. Let's try this again, maybe throw some shade on it, as my younglings would say.

Attempt 8 prompt: So this one has 9 petals, which means you do know how to work with odd numbers. Please try again: A pinwheel with FIVE petals, one for each of the words: regulation, representation, production, consumption, identity.

Attempt 8 output: Ta-dam!

I just can't anymore... 8 petals again, but at least the color is back. And those words! Do some of them scream PERFECTION and IRRITATION at me? Is it throwing shade back at me???

All right, let me try something different. I am pretty sure with my rudimentary image editing skills I can put the label words into the image on my own. So, let me just try this now, for simplicity.

Attempt 9 prompt: Please create a simple image of a pinwheel with five petals.

Attempt 9 output:

Well, I guess I could work with that if it gets the number of petals right.

Attempt 10 prompt: It has seven petals. Please recreate the image with five petals.

Attempt 10 output:

Getting closer, 6 petals! And kinda looking nice, too. I'm ready to ignore the fact that it continues lying to me be about EXACTLY five petals. If we are making progress, that is.

Attempt 11 prompt: This one is better, but it still has six petals. Please recreate with five petals only.

Attempt 11 output:

No way, 6 petals again, but very colorful and pretty! I'm about to be done.

Attempt 11 question: Do you not know how to count? Why are you giving me the images with more petals than I am requesting?

Attempt 11 response:

OK, now DALL-E is just shifting the blame from itself onto...? YOU are supposed to be generating those images, DALL-E, that's what you've been created for! Or do you have some outsourcing slaves that do not understand your commands? Alright, one more desperate attempt.

Attempt 12 prompt: I do need your help with creating a pinwheel with five petals. Please try again.

Attempt 12 output:

OK, I think we are both done here. I ended up finding a decent image of a 5-petal pinwheel on Pintrest.

Half an hour of time wasted. Or is it really wasted? This session gave me a glimpse into the internal workings, processes, and "thinking" of the image generator.

Today, I shared the session with my students and we all had a good laugh about it. They suggested to try again, after we both "cooled off." I did make the final attempt at a simple colorful 5-petal pinwheel. The resulting image is the cover image for this story. Now I'm done, done.

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About the Creator

Lana V Lynx

Avid reader and occasional writer of satire and short fiction. For my own sanity and security, I write under a pen name. My books: Moscow Calling - 2017 and President & Psychiatrist

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  • Partner Digital Agency 6 days ago

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  • L.C. Schäfer11 days ago

    I love this, and I want A.I. blooper posts to be a regular thing 😁 But also... you PAY for this??

  • "Do you not know how to count?" 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 Omgggg I laughed sooooo much reading this and looking at all the pics! I loved the way it was so confident in telling you that it made a pinwheel with exactly five petals! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

  • Kodah13 days ago

    Interesting interesting!! ❣️❣️❣️ AI is sooo powerful.

  • This right here is why I am not impressed with AI in the slightest and not worried about it when it comes to anything around Creativity. There are some... interesting... things that AI can do, but it struggles to do even the simplest of things at times, especially around Creative Concepts, and it does not "learn" well often. It can get "better" - but at the end of the day... is it really that much better?

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