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These Terrifying AI Images May Be the ‘Woman Laughing With Salad’ We All Deserve

A woman with bright red finger nails holds a forkful of salad

We all know woman laughing with salad. We’ve all laughed at woman laughing with salad. But now AI art has brought us woman laughing with salad in her final form, the woman laughing with salad that we, in these dark and terrible times, truly deserve.

See how many teeth she has?

Understand that she knows our sins for they have summoned her here, and she does not come to bring peace but rather a jaw she can unhinge like a snake that contains, and I cannot stress this enough, far, far too many rows of teeth.

But Siobhan, you may be asking, why are you saying “she” when that tweet features multiple different images of shark-jawed women laughing horrifically in front of their salad plate idols? Because, I propose, they represent just one woman, and just as early human-crafted religious iconography depicted the same figures with a variety of different features, so too has the AI machine crafted multiple faces for one horrifying entity. The woman laughing with salad sees us with her many faces, ready to spring forth from any AI image generator at a moment’s notice to pass judgment on our organic, fleshy existence.

I’m not sure how much of that was hyperbole anymore. There’s a little too much of the Momo about AI’s woman laughing with salad, except unlike Momo she presumably wasn’t generated to serve as an eldritch horror and kick off a confused moral panic. She just is. Lurking. Waiting to come out when the (in)correct set of prompts is entered.

But really, there’s something truly perfect about the convergence of AI art and soulless corporate stock imagery producing this nightmare egregor of an offspring. Both exist to squeeze all the joy and creativity out of real human artists and existence itself, working to generate as much profit as possible for our corporate overlords while paying the actual living beings who do the work of creation as little as they can get away with—which is nothing at all in AI art’s case, as no, the person inputting the commands isn’t the creator of the image, and neither is the algorythm “remixing” other people’s art. AI art is a collage at best, made up of images it frequently doesn’t have the rights to, put together poorly with an excess of warped sausage fingers and, as in our newly hatched cosmic horror above, an unending nightmare of teeth. (I can’t stress enough how bothered I am by the teeth).

At the same time, despite how morally bankrupt every aspect of AI art really is, there’s something about these images that speaks to the part of us that made the genre of woman laughing with salad a phenomenon in the first place. Just the sheer unhinged extremes of their smiles, and the barely simmering rage present in most of them, hits on the zeitgeist of feminine rage that’s striking big on TikTok and other social media right now. Women laughing with salad was it? Well apparently AI will give you women laughing with salad (cue the Tiktok sound). She may not be the woman laughing with salad that they wanted, but she’s the woman laughing with salad we deserve.

(featured image: Photo by Farah from Burst)

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Siobhan Ball (she/her) is a contributing writer covering news, queer stuff, politics and Star Wars. A former historian and archivist, she made her first forays into journalism by writing a number of queer history articles c. 2016 and things spiralled from there. When she's not working she's still writing, with several novels and a book on Irish myth on the go, as well as developing her skills as a jeweller.