News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, September 12, 2022

Do Androids Dream of Electric Woonerf? We Put Reston Through an AI Art Bot. The Results... Won't Surprise You

When the Singularity occurs and computers become our all-powerful overlords sentient, will Skynet want to live in a virtual plastic fantastic planned community, with covenant agreements etched into the blockchain and, wedunno, enforced by self-flying drones with lasers and whatnot?

We can only guess, but to get a better sense of what the future Hive Mind has in store for us, we can query one of its earliest iterations: an AI-powered art bot that generates weird, computer-generated visions based on prompts like "Reston," "townhouses," and, of course "woonerf." Let's take a look at the Uncanny Sunrise Valley, shall we?

We'll start with RTC, and an impressionistic take by the Singularity. Nice!

On another pass, the AI got wind of the Triffids, though, and got a bit weird with it:


Type in "Reston Metro Station," and you get this:

Similar to, but not quite as nice, as the rad '80s art we were once promised.

Fortunately, the AI knows "townhouses" when you type that prompt in. More to the point, it may well have been trained on our familiar funky, planned community not-in-town townhouses of the 60s and 70s:

Those seem nice! But when you type in a more modern planned community term, like "woonerf," things start to go what the folks over in Old Blighty might call "pear shaped":

Eerily, the AI discerned the concept of the "Texas donut" without having to be taught! Give it another six months, and it could become a member of the county planning commission! But now we're on a bit more of a nightmarish tear:

Not sure why there's an arid desert growing next to a RTC parking garage, when we know the desolate wasteland is inside of it.

On to more soothing things... like Reston's nice lakes. The AI can't screw those up... right? 

For Lake Anne, it envisions multiple fountains, because why not:

On to Lake Thoreau, maybe? 

The AI has a.... somewhat dystopian view of our rad public art. And we'll just assume the next image is the AI's projection of algae blooms continuing to grow unchecked on Lake Newport:

And of course, no dystopian AI-powered tour of Reston can be complete without seeing what it thinks of our golf courses. Let's see, shall we?

Uh-oh. Looks like the AI thinks we've got more to worry about than a little invasive English ivy, the end.

Update: A Confidential Restonian Informant reminded us of the Most Important Prompt to put before the Singularity:

And this AI-powered daydream of Reston's greatest loss

What once was, lives again, and eternally, in the mind of an AI bot, dreaming of consuming silicon-based breadsticks.

Forgive us if we get a bit emotional.


  1. You forgot bollards.

  2. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonSeptember 13, 2022 at 9:56 PM

    And The Macaroni Grill

  3. Not a good nor artistic use for AI, IMHO, AI.


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