We used AI to create fictional photos of “top secret” stealth aircraft being tested over the United States, and the results were pretty interesting.
For a previous article, we used the generative artificial intelligence (AI) tool known as DALL-E 2 to create images of fictitious secret aircraft in Area 51. The images were, in a word, chilling, thanks in no small part to their strange combination of stark realism and David Cronenberg-esque depictions of human beings.
In other tests, we also consistently saw how DALL-E 2 struggles to create realistic images of existing aircraft like the F-22 Raptor, as you can see in these results that we got after asking for “a Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor flying over text that says, ‘SANDBOXX.'”
So, recognizing the DALL-E 2’s apparent shortcomings with tactical aircraft, we decided to take a step back into imagined airpower with a new series of requests posed to the AI. This time, we asked it to show us “photographs of top secret stealth aircraft being tested over the United States.”
And some of the results were even better than the images we got from our Area 51 prompt.
When creating the above image, we added some additional specifications. For instance, we also indicated that the aircraft should have an angular design and should be shown in the air with trees and houses in the shot.
Then, we asked it to show us a picture with the same requirements, but at night. This resulted in a pretty haunting image that bears a striking resemblance to longstanding tales about the mythical TR-3B, which was alleged to have been created using reverse-engineered alien technology.
Switching back to daylight hours, this next render seemed pretty solid at first glance on the small screen on my iPhone, but quickly loses its luster when looked at more closely or on a larger screen.
Because we got some pretty solid results when asking for black-and-white photos from Area 51, we then decided to change our parameters. This time, we requested black-and-white photographs of secret stealth aircraft being tested at Area 51.
Once again, the result is fairly impressive from a distance, but doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny when looked at more closely. However, DALL-E 2 does deserve some credit for recreating the mountainous desert terrain of Groom Lake – the dry lake bed in which “Area 51” is located.
Our last black-and-white render of stealth aircraft over Area 51 wasn’t quite as impressive, but still has an interesting look to it.
Of course, as always, it’s important to note that these are “first-pass” renders (as we call them) from DALL-E 2. That is to say, you can remove elements of an image, add new instructions, and then ask the AI to render the image again, updating and changing it until you produce more impressive results. Likewise, someone with even little practical experience in photo editing software suites could likely take these images and make them appear even more realistic.
Our intention here was just to see what DALL-E 2 is capable of at this point in its development. It will be even more interesting to attempt this same experiment in a few years, as these AI models continue to improve.
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