The following text was generated with help from Adam King’s Talk to Transformer, which talks to OpenAI’s GPT-2 neural network AI to generate paragraphs of original text one word at a time. The feature image was created using Morphogen’s Artbreeder.
The Volcano House
The Volcano House was probably seen as even more of a bold experiment in the architectural language of the time, and what better place to experiment with such a project than in NYC’s Chinatown?
The sample house that Wrenston put together was made up of three parts. The base consisted of a bare brick wall facing what seemed to be an open field. To keep its walls intact and the angles to a minimum, there were no windows in the space. On the wall were three 2×4 corners in clapboard to serve as flooring. This was topped by a framed and sculpted part of a certain ancient Chinese temple at the bottom. The window made up the whole back wall. Wrenston was concerned about the transparency of the images created from the original image, which were filmed using an infrared camera, so he asked Insel to show his team the infrared image using a series of high-powered telescopes that are housed in the Atacama Large Millimeter Array in Chile.
Then a daring experiment—using the Atacama Telescopes to help enhance the high-resolution image—was carried out.
“That image was made by placing a piece of balsa wood on a prism [a piece of glass, like a camera lens, that magnifies light so that images appear sharper and sharper], holding a red plastic goblet over the goblet with my left hand, and painting the light from a goblet, cast from an eraser, on the balsa wood. The resulting image caused the image of a big mountain to appear.”
The Volcano House architect said, “The evidence in this case revealed a moment of extremely low discretion and a moment of over-stimulation of the mind.”
Said attorneys for the Police Department and City of Denver, “What this is about is whether or not even an artist will think in the right way, even an artist who has been trained on how to use a computer program.”
However, there was no need for excessive caution or computer programming. Police were able to find four skilled coders, especially knowledgeable in technological matters, and they were able to adapt the system quickly to ensure that it was able to continue operating independently even when something went wrong.
This is quite an accomplishment, and it brings to mind the famous poster, “For Want of a Nail, a Hand Grip is Just as Good,” from 1980, after which the management of a Detroit automobile factory discovered that approximately the number of noxious fumes produced by 25 cars every hour was keeping them from being properly serviced. The company fixed the problem by placing a huge sign above each vehicle declaring, “Warning: Do Not Drive! Smoking is Bad for You!”
Specifically, the city’s civil rights lawyer, Debra Crotty, argued that a computer program could never duplicate the human senses. “How many times have you been standing at a computer monitor and a computer screen appeared in front of you and you had no idea what it was?”
She clarified, “How many times have you been standing at a computer monitor and a computer screen has the word ‘white’ in the keyboard as the first character?”
“Well that’s going to be an obvious one,” I said. “There are 300,000 potential combinations.”
“How many of those would be accurate?”
“Well the first 28 of those are entirely correct: America is white.”
“How about the next 26?”
“America is black. I’ll assume the left side of the keyboard also has ‘white’ as the first character.”
“Then it’s a dead giveaway.”
“Where’d the left hand go?”
“Where’d the right hand go?” she wondered aloud.
3. Wicker Park, Chicago
This West Side South neighborhood seems like an unlikely stop on any American dream trip. Even the best ones tend to start on the West Coast, where the only highway is still a dirt trail winding through Indiana or Illinois, and the higher life expectancy is represented by weed shops and fruited cups at 8 a.m. Starbucks franchises are still illegal. But on a recent rainy Sunday, every available corner in the wintry street grid was lined with West Side South parlors of international quality, from locally made chocolate bars to local mom-and-pop snack vendors. This is Wicker Park, and it shows you can have your cake and eat it too. But in West Side South, like it or not, that’s a sign that the city’s late-blooming regeneration is no longer any fun to be a part of.