Modern technology has been evolving at a staggering pace, and the recent introduction of mass-market Artificial Intelligence (AI) seems to be the latest chapter. But how good is it?

Canva, a company that provides web-based photo editing and creation software, recently rolled out a new toy: images designed by AI. Just write a prompt in the text box (they suggest "a bowl of soup that is also a portal into another dimension", below) and let the AI get to work. But how good are they at creating images from the Hudson Valley?

The result of asking AI to make an image of a bowl of soup that is also a portal to another galaxy". But how does it do with Hudson Valley, NY landmarks?
The result of asking AI to make an image of a bowl of soup that is also a portal to another galaxy". But how does it do with Hudson Valley, NY landmarks? (Image Generated Using Canva AI)
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AI Images of the Hudson Valley, NY

The short answer is "not good". I asked the AI software to create several images ranging from marriage proposals on the Walkway Over the Hudson (just wait until you see that one) to hikers on top of Sky Top Tower at Mohonk (actually, that's really weird too). Let's start with the least-strange and work our way down.

This is AI's attempt at creating a photo of students in New Paltz, NY
This is AI's attempt at creating a photo of students in New Paltz, NY (Image Generated Using Canva AI)
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AI Images of Students in New Paltz, NY

The most normal result came from what was one of the more normal requests: "Photograph of students at SUNY New Paltz". As you can see from the "photo" (above), the AI did a decent job of grabbing a sort-of familiar landmark as well as some classic college students. It didn't get weird until I started adding less-accessible destinations.

The people in this AI-generated image look more like LEGO or Sims characters (Image Generated Using Canva AI)
The people in this AI-generated image look more like LEGO or Sims characters (Image Generated Using Canva AI)
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AI Images of Hikers in Cold Spring, NY

These odd images are the result of asking AI to create a photograph of "New York City tourists hiking Breakneck Ridge" in Cold Spring, NY. While the vista looks rather decent, the hikers in question look more like characters from the Sims than real life. And then there was the hiker at Mohonk...

I don't know the last time you were at Sky Top Tower at Mohonk, but it didn't look like this...
I don't know the last time you were at Sky Top Tower at Mohonk, but it didn't look like this... (Image Generated Using Canva AI)
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AI Images of Sky Top Tower in New Paltz, NY

Sky Top Tower at Mohonk Mountain House is one of my favorite landmarks in the whole Hudson Valley. It's also one of my favorite hikes. That's why the image of "someone on top of Sky Top Tower at Mohonk" (above) made me chuckle so much. It wasn't the only photo to defy gravity, either.

A proposal at the Walkway Over the Hudson should have EVERYBODY'S feet on the ground
A proposal at the Walkway Over the Hudson should have EVERYBODY'S feet on the ground (Image Generated Using Canva AI)
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AI Images of the Walkway Over the Hudson

This might be the best (worst) example of how far AI still needs to go before they can fool the human eye. The image above is the result of my request to create a photograph of "someone proposing to their partner on the Walkway Over the Hudson". Clearly, the woman was so happy that she was just floating on air. Hopefully there's a parachute attached to her as well.

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So while we may all get a little annoyed at a tourist at Mohonk (or Breakneck Ridge, or the Walkway Over the Hudson) for causing a bit of a backup to take the perfect selfie, just remember: it's not like they can ask AI to do it for them.

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