Dall-E Mini, the AI-powered text-to-image generator has taken over the internet. With its ability to render nearly anything your meme-loving heart desires, anyone can make their dreams come true.
DALL-E 2, a portmanteau of Salvador Dali, the surrealist and Wall-E, the Pixar robot, was created by OpenAI and is not widely available; it creates far cleaner imagery and was recently used to launch Cosmpolitan’s first AI-generated cover. The art world has been one of the first industries to truly embrace AI.
The open-sourced miniature version is what’s responsible for the memes. Programmer Boris Dayma wants to make AI more accessible; he built the Dall-E Mini program as part of a competition held by Google and an AI community called Hugging Face.
And with great technology, comes great memes. Typing a short phrase into Dall-E Mini will manifest 9 different amalgamations, theoretically shaping into reality the strange images you’ve conjured. Its popularity leads to too much traffic, often resulting in an error that can be fixed by refreshing the page or trying again later.
If you want to be a part of the creation of AI-powered engines, it all starts with code. CodeAcademy explains that Dall-E Mini is a seq2seq model, “typically used in natural language processing (NLP) for things like translation and conversational modeling.” CodeAcademy’s Text Generation course will teach you how to utilize seq2seq, but they also offer opportunities to learn 14+ coding languages at your own pace.
You can choose the Machine Learning Specialist career path if you want to become a Data Scientist who develops these types of programs, but you can also choose courses by language, subject (what is cybersecurity?) or even skill - build a website with HTML, CSS, and more.
CodeAcademy offers many classes for free as well as a free trial; it’s an invaluable resource for giving people of all experience levels the fundamentals they need to build the world they want to see.
As for Dall-E Mini, while some have opted to create beauty, most have opted for memes. Here are some of the internet’s favorites:
no fuck every other dall-e image ive made this one is the best yet pic.twitter.com/iuFNm4UTUM
— bri (@takoyamas) June 10, 2022
There’s no looking back now, not once you’ve seen Pugachu; artificial intelligence is here to stay.
It's destroying the environment.
Palm oil is used in instant noodles, processed breads, lipstick, ice cream, and shampoo, and is the most widely-consumed vegetable oil on the planet. It's an extremely versatile substance, and while many Americans are unaware of its ubiquitousness, it's a virtual guarantee that you've eaten or used a product containing palm oil at some point in your life. The problem is, the process in which palm oil is farmed and collected is having a detrimental effect on the environment. The industry has been linked to deforestation, climate change and animal cruelty and it's been estimated that an area the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rain forest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production
Though oil palms are grown all over, 85% of the world's palm oil comes from Indonesian and Malaysian rainforests, and the effects have been devastating. In the early 20th century, Borneo–the world's third largest island shared by both countries–was completely covered with lush vegetation. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) most of Borneo's rainforests will be completely gone by 2022 and many extant animal species with them. This rapid deforestation all but guarantees the extinction of the orangutan, Asian elephant, Sumatran tiger, and Sumatran rhino, as well many other forms of plant and animal life. With this in mind, there are several initiatives, mostly funded and supported by the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), attempting to come up with a sustainable method for farming oil palms.
Orangutans' habitats are being destroyed
One such organization is the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a nonprofit dedicated to setting a global standard for the palm oil production. Their standard is predicated on self-reported greenhouse gas emissions and a commitment by RSPO-linked companies to stop using pesticides. While relying on companies to accurately self-report is a bit unrealistic, the RSPO has been mildly successful, but many feel as though palm oil farming isn't changing fast enough to have any real impact on the environment. The truth is, the RSPO rarely kicks corporate members off of its board, and doesn't hold nearly as much sway as it purports to. In fact, back in 2016 the RSPO kicked IOI Group off its board only to reinstate them a few months later and RSPO's impact report didn't even include IOI's suspension. IOI is one the RSPO's founding members. The RSPO changes policy democratically, by matter of consensus. Couple this with the fact that there are hundreds of corporate and NGO members involved in RSPO, and it becomes pretty clear that the organization is too bloated to efficiently push for change. On top of this, companies basically have carte blanche to write the word sustainable on their products no matter how their palm oil is produced. It's virtually impossible for a consumer to tell which items in their grocery cart are ethically produced.
A short list of products that contain
The ecological issues are only part of the story, however. A report by Amnesty International revealed that companies like Unilever and Nestle aren't just forcing their factory workers to work overtime without extra pay, but are routinely using child-labor when processing palm oil. While the RSPO tepidly wags its finger at these practices, in reality, it has no power to stop them. Moving to sustainable palm oil doesn't necessarily hurt a company's bottom line, but there's no cheaper labor than slave labor. Treating employees with respect costs money, and most giant food corporations aren't willing to foot the bill.
The truth is, there might not even be a means to combat this issue. An estimated 50% of all consumer products contain palm oil. It's impossible to ask people to effectively boycott half of a grocery store, especially considering the fact that palm oil is key ingredient in many affordable staples. America's ability to solve the labor issue is also limited, as the Indonesian and Malaysian governments don't seem particularly invested in protecting their workers. Even shedding light on this issue doesn't really work, as Americans are pretty anesthetized to the fact that most of our products are made in sweatshops. To quote journalist Hillary Rosner, "Palm oil may be the ultimate icon of globalization — an ingredient directly responsible for some of the world's most pressing environmental problems that has nonetheless permeated our lives so stealthily we barely noticed."