Imagine if you will, a pizza.
Not a normal pizza, a weird pizza. A pizza that looks misshapen in ways that make your eyes dip in and out of focus. Like an M.C. Escher drawing. Except instead of endless staircases and people walking upside down, it’s pizza.
Now imagine this pizza moving toward a barely legible human mouth. Except instead of going into a mouth it goes toward a disfigured human nose. Horror movie children beam vacant smiles as their eyeballs somehow stare in opposite directions.
This hellish atrocity I’ve just described is an AI-generated trailer, designed to show the capabilities of AI-created content. It is, in no uncertain terms, an abomination. It’s also extremely funny.
Over the past week or so, I’ve been seeing a lot of this type of content. AI-generated trailers for made-up businesses or ideas for movies. It’s unclear if these are designed to be taken seriously or exist as parodies designed to highlight the limits of AI.
Sometimes they come with tweets that make fun like, “this has come direct from the bowels of some Lynchian nightmare.” On other occasions they seem to be 100% sincere, with posts equivalent to… “HOLLYWOOD BEWARE, YOU HAVE TWO YEARS UNTIL AI SUCKS THE MARROW FROM YOUR DEAD, DECAYING BONES.”
As always on the internet, it can be difficult to tell who’s in on the joke. These videos could be deliberately crafted engagement bait or a 10 layers deep irony play. But it feels like we’re in the midst of a very transient moment. I believe we should enjoy it for what it is: Absolute insanity.
We’re living in the chaos of AI-generated content, and I love it. I love it because it’s stupid. I love it because it’s obviously terrible. I love it because it drives an insane discourse about what AI can and can’t do. I love it because everything about it is utterly busted.
I love it, but it won’t last.
As I see it, one of three things is almost certainly going to happen.
1. The tech bros are right. Within two years (futurist dudes always say two years, because that’s generally long enough for everyone to forget you made a horrible prediction), we’ll be watching AI-generated movies and TV shows that are completely indistinguishable from the real thing and — wow, what a turnaround! Who could have seen that coming, etc.
2. AI movies/TV shows as a concept are relegated to a VR-esque niche and never really become much of anything. Everyone gets bored and tech bros move on to pushing whatever Web3 tech is in the headlines.
3. This all goes away, and we live happily ever after.
Regardless, this golden period — where people are vomiting out the most grotesque AI abominations known to man and passing it off as worthwhile and important — is temporal. It will undoubtedly end and we can’t take this for granted. It’s our sworn duty to enjoy them for as long as they exist.
And there are so many things to enjoy.
Gaping maws, complete with rows of terrifying human teeth, battling for supremacy against barely perceivable beer bottles. Horror show Yodas in Star Wars parodies designed for one-note, always online movie dudes. Spider fingers worming their way around champagne flutes, faces morphing and twisting in a dissonance so visceral it goes beyond the uncanny valley into something alien and warped. This shit could make you car sick. It’s amazing.
It’s hard to tell if these AI trailers are the beginning of something or the logical endpoint. Tech-pilled Twitter posters believe AI has the potential to decimate everything in its path. Dedicated haters like myself believe nothing will change. But the future is rarely clear cut. There is no middle ground here. The crystal ball is broken. No one knows anything all of the time.
There’s no rational way, for example, that a human being could have looked at an iPhone in 2007 and predicted Uber Eats or TikTok. There’s no way someone could have looked at a black-and-white TV and predicted Netflix. The prism through which we filter our expectations will be a different object in 10 years time. Everyone looks stupid in hindsight — that’s a tale as old as time.
So for now, I’m going to live in the moment and enjoy these hilarious abominations while they still exist. While I still have a shred of humanity left in the marrow of my dead decaying bones.
Editors’ note: CNET is using an AI engine to create some personal finance explainers that are edited and fact-checked by our editors. For more, see this post.