Dall-e-mini-Generated Book Covers – The New York Times

Dall-e-mini-Generated Book Covers - The New York Times

The internet has been having fun of late with DALL-E Mini, newly renamed craiyon, an AI program that generates images in response to user suggestions. Type in a description of anything — even just the word “anything” — and DALL-E Mini will synthesize multiple images of it. An open-source software (inspired by the OpenAI technology SLAB), it seems to work best, and most amusingly, with fanciful but concrete prompts; recent examples highlighted on a Twitter feed devoted to the subject include “the Last Supper in a strip club” and “dashcam footage of a hamster Godzilla wearing a giant sombrero hat attacking Tokyo.”

I thought it would be fun to test DALL-E Mini’s skill as a book cover designer. Typed in as prompts, abstruse literary titles proved a challenge for the program, but not an insurmountable one. “The Sound and the Fury,” for instance, returned stylized images of rock musicians howling into microphones, which makes sense unless you’re a human who has read the novel. Others required a little more “thought” on DALL-E Mini’s part.

Credit…crayon

When it can, DALL-E Mini likes to take a literal approach. Above, it reduced the poetry of Lahiri’s title to “some doctors.” (Jonathan Franzen’s “The Corrections” generated similarly unimaginative, prison-themed visuals.)

Credit…crayon

An American flag with stars that resemble bullet holes in a street sign: It works for Adichie’s novel — and, alas, for 21st-century America in general. But DALL-E Mini owes a debt here to the cover of Sly and the Family Stone’s “There’s a Riot Goin’ On.”

Credit…crayon

The more figurative demands of Ward’s title inspired something like a scrap: a depiction of what appears to be a choir with a bone (?) rising above it.

Planet Earth about to be smacked by some sort of celestial fireball — implying that any gorgeousness will indeed be short-lived.

Credit…crayon

DALL-E Mini seems to want Whitehead’s novel to be about a Four Seasons-like vocal group rather than a cruel Jim Crow-era reform school.

Credit…crayon

This hallucinogenic spin on an infinity symbol is, I think, a genuinely clever interpretation of Wallace’s title. The teal and salmon color scheme, possibly borrowed from the Miami Dolphins, is less explainable.

Credit…crayon

Above, year unkempt Brooklyn-ish streetscape that does indeed look as if it could use a mother.

Credit…crayon

This ragged band of what look like hockey players and terrorists does ample justice to the concept of a “goon squad,” though maybe not to Egan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. The background suggests a high school gym — creepy!


Bruce Handy is the author, most recently, of “The Happiness of a Dog With a Ball in Its Mouth.”

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