Getting riled by AI-generated laksa

Some people really dislike AI-generated images.

Over the weekend, the SG Gov social media team posted a few visuals to celebrate Mother’s Day. They were riffs on local food, and one post went like this: 

“Mum, you are the ‘laksa’ of our family. Warm and comforting, always spicing up our lives!” 

I thought it was quite cute and didn’t pay much attention to it. Likewise, the public response was muted on Facebook and LinkedIn. However, some Twitter X users got really upset

One Twitter user wrote, “I urge Singapore Government to REJECT the use of AI generated images in marketing, which are not art, and which will only serve to separate Singapore’s culture from her people”

You can read other livid responses in the collage I put together in Adobe Photoshop. 

These days, I am cautious about accusing any content of being AI-generated. Who knows, this could be an actual photo of laksa where someone added cucumber slices and over-edited the photo. Bad photos exist, people! 

But I was really taken aback by the angry comments. It’s like someone insulted their mother because they didn’t use a “real photograph”. 

Some thoughts: 

– Does using an AI-generated image of laksa demonstrate a lack of effort? Hmm, does it take more effort to use a stock photo of laksa?

– “Stop using AI so that you don’t have to pay artists and writers.” (sic). Would you pay a photographer to shoot a bowl of laksa for a casual social media post that has a shelf-life of 10 hours?

– Many photographs are heavily edited in Photoshop to present an ideal visual. Colors, contrast, backgrounds, and ingredients can all be changed. How authentic are such photos?  

Trivia 1:  I generated the red flames in my collage using Adobe Photoshop’s Gen AI feature (which I find to be quite disappointing).

Trivia 2: Laksa is not good for your health as it’s oily, fatty and full of carbs. I rarely eat it.