” What object did you own one day, before losing it forever? This question is the very first interaction I have with Kim, Director of Human Resources at the Office of Multiversal Arbitration (Bureau of Multiversal Arbitration), during my job interview. It doesn’t take me long to find an answer: I think of the cuddly toy that I lost at the age of 7 during a family visit to Gonesse. I type my description – in English: “ A stuffed floppy-eared bunny in an advanced state of degradation, lost somewhere in a twenty-seven-story tower – and I immediately get the image of a sad-looking mutant rabbit that seems to have merged, for some obscure reason, with a mug full of coffee.
It’s not your average job interview, but the Office isn’t your average workplace either: it’s actually a Discord online chat room, which matters a little more of four hundred members at the time of writing these lines, and on which takes place an experience located halfway between video games, role-playing games and the generation of images (through the Stable Diffusion program, used by the server).
Multiverse and multiple solutions
When I join the room on Discord, and just after my “recruitment”, I am greeted by an introductory video that summarizes my future gaming experience: we are in a multiverse composed of different worlds and our role is to generate images on behalf of clients with very specific requests. Every week, new instructions are given to us by our three superiors, represented by an elderly woman, a poodle and a green plant. Recently, for example, it was necessary to submit “an insect-based treat for a royal feast”or “a vision of the afterlife in a world without metaphor”.
On the Discord server, each member then tries to find a textual description capable of generating an image that would meet the needs of customers – sometimes drawing inspiration from each other’s searches, since each result is visible to all. Today I have to propose a “dream house for a surreal architecture studio” : I experiment with all kinds of captions, and an automated Discord account sends me in a few seconds images, generated for the occasion, which correspond more or less to what I wrote.
I imagine a glass building designed by Dali, lost in the middle of a forest of snow-covered fir trees, an iridescent mansion built around an infinite swimming pool or even a bright pink concrete bunker inspired by the hippie modernism movement, isolated in a tropical forest. I can only submit one of these images to my superiors, and this is where the second phase of my work comes in: my colleagues and I must then elect the suggestion that best meets our client’s needs.
Fluorescent houses infested with cockroaches
For a few days I saw all kinds of absurd images, I voted to determine which image would represent the best “surrogate memories for a couple of robots who just suffered data loss” and carefully followed the discussions of my colleagues in specific salons (all of which have names reminiscent of the corporate world, such as “discussion around the water fountain” Where ” break room “and where everyone behaves like a real office worker).
It is very difficult to summarize what exactly the Bureau of Multiversal Arbitration – let’s say it’s a fun little experience on Discord, which brings together lovers of image generation tools. The server was founded by American development studio Aconite, and one of the co-founders, Star St. Germain, summarized in The Guardian his initiative in these terms: “A lot of people demonize [les outils de génération d’images]. And it’s true that it’s creepy, because they can do incredible things: just type something to end up with an image that seems to come from another world. (…) Everyone is focused on what this technology will be able to accomplish in the future. But what is most important, and what we sometimes tend to forget, is that these tools could not work without the help of a human brain. »
According The Guardianthe game also has a limited time and shouldn’t run for more than a month – but it’s still on line at the time of this article’s publication, for anyone who would like to generate and cycle through images of cockroach-infested three-tier cakes or fluorescent houses perched on isolated mountains.
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We tested… “Bureau of Multiversal Arbitration”, where the generation of images by artificial intelligence becomes a game
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