Artificial Neural Network Reveals What It Would Look Like to Watch Bob Ross’ The Joy of Painting on LSD

Any­one who watched Bob Ross’ The Joy of Paint­ing from 1983 to 1994 knows the show had a bit of a sur­re­al qual­i­ty to it. With that soft voice, reduced often to a whis­per, Ross slapped some paint onto the can­vas, smeared it around, and even­tu­al­ly some­thing mag­i­cal appeared–a moun­tain, a stream, a for­est, what­ev­er.  Nowa­days, the show has expe­ri­enced some­thing of a renais­sance and achieved cult sta­tus. 30 sea­sons of The Joy of Paint­ing live on YouTube (legit­i­mate­ly, it seems), and they’ve become fod­der for cre­ative projects that take Bob Ross to new sur­re­al heights. Exhib­it 1, “Deeply Arti­fi­cial Trees,” appears above.

This art­work rep­re­sents what it would be like for an AI to watch Bob Ross on LSD (once some­one invents dig­i­tal drugs). It shows some of the unrea­son­able effec­tive­ness and strange inner work­ings of deep learn­ing sys­tems. The unique char­ac­ter­is­tics of the human voice are learned and gen­er­at­ed as well as hal­lu­ci­na­tions of a sys­tem try­ing to find images which are not there.

For a lit­tle on the sci­ence of arti­fi­cial neur­al net­works, see this relat­ed item in our archive: What Hap­pens When Blade Run­ner & A Scan­ner Dark­ly Get Remade with an Arti­fi­cial Neur­al Net­work.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Bob Ross’ The Joy of Paint­ing Free Online: The First 27 Sea­sons

Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey Ren­dered in the Style of Picas­so; Blade Run­ner in the Style of Van Gogh

Neur­al Net­works for Machine Learn­ing: A Free Online Course

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.