I let MidJourney give the Tom's Guide staff an AI makeover — here's what happened

 MidJourney image.
MidJourney image.

MidJourney has a feature that lets you submit a photo and have it provide a description of that image. The main purpose is a combination of accessibility and prompt improvement to create more compelling AI images. However, it can also be used to create your alter ego.

This feature has recently been upgraded to become both more descriptive and accurate in its descriptions. I decided to see how well it could handle images of Tom’s Guide employees.

The idea of using it on my colleagues was purely for research, with no ulterior motive around laughing at the resultant images — especially as they more or less universally came out of it better than I did. MidJourney, now on its sixth release,  said my name was Tina and I was a bearded woman.

Looking for volunteers

I took to Slack and asked people to take part and after a bit of coaxing managed to get seven victim… I mean volunteers. For the most part MidJourney was very nice — but some people were humbled as badly as I had been by the AI.

I first asked it to describe an image of me. It didn't do a bad job but did confuse Groq on the hat with Nashville on the t-shirt. It has been ruder about me in the past but the image was a long way from flattering.

It said the image was: "A photo of an obese man with glasses and a goatee wearing an orange trucker hat that says "Nashville" on it, sitting in front of bookshelves at his desk. He is also wearing a blue t-shirt that reads "Grom", posted to Reddit in 2018 in the style of an unknown artist."

Ryan Epps

MidJourney image
MidJourney image

I think MidJourney hates people called Ryan. We’re going to start with Ryan Epps, a staff writer covering TVs, projectors and other tech news. He's a gamer and covers entertainment.

He was brave with his choice of picture, going for candid rather than framed for the best possible output, prompting MidJourney to roast him mercilessly.

It said: “A photo of an obese man with short brown hair and beard wearing a grey hoodie, taking a selfie in his living room. The hoodie had 'dagnafkin' written on the front side. The photo was posted to Reddit in 2019 in the style of an anonymous user.”

Ryan took this in his stride. His immediately reaction was: “I genuinely don’t know what to say or how to respond to it, but if Midnourney thinks I’m a fat and ugly Redditor, I guess that’s what AI has to say about me…maybe I need to be nicer to the bots.”

Hunter Fenollol

MidJourney image
MidJourney image

Hunter Fenollol is a senior editor for Tom's Guide spealizing in smart home gadgets and appliances. His picture was well received by MidJourney went as far as calling him attractive.

It said of him: “A selfie of an attractive man with dark hair and a short beard, wearing a necklace and a black tank top in the driveway of his suburban home in New Jersey on a sunny day in early spring. The photo is in the style of an artist known for realistic portraits.”

I felt it made him sound very Jersey Shore. His reaction: “It definitely strokes my ego a bit to know the bots called me an attractive man hahaha. I find this descriptor so crazy because it was shot just now in early spring and it was in my suburban Long Island driveway—not Jersey but definitely super close and eery."

He added: "I don't think the alter ego looks a lot like me but I feel like that's what you'd get if you typed in Long Island man in his early 20s.”

Alex Wawro

MidJourney image
MidJourney image

Alex Wawro is the senior editor computing for Tom's Guide. He is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast and for some reason MidJourney thinks he is Eddie Redmayne.

MidJourney said his selfie resembled: “Newt Scamander from Harry Potter, wearing a brown leather jacket and a black shirt with sleeves rolled up on his arms giving a thumbs up while eating tacos in an outdoor bar drinking beer at night, in the style of an iPhone photo.”

Alex reacted with: “I'm equal parts honored and appalled. However, I do show a picture of Redmayne on his Fantastic Beasts promo tour to my barber when I'm getting a haircut so I guess Supercuts is good enough to fool the bots.”

Cynthia Lawrence

MidJourney image
MidJourney image

Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes and decor, as she is the content editor for homes at Tom’s Guide.

MidJourney described her image as: “A selfie of an attractive African American woman with long black hair, sitting in her home office with red and white blinds behind her, wearing a blue cardigan sweater over a gray t-shirt, with pink lipstick on her lips. She has brown eyes. There is a plant stand next to the window, and gold metal chairs in the style of B dispensary decor, shot from an iPhone 7 camera.”

Cynthia gave this reaction: “Although I feel that the image looks nothing like me visually, I'm impressed at the accurate description.”

Mike Prospero

MidJourney image
MidJourney image

Mike Prospero is in charge of Tom’s Guide in the U.S. as the U.S. Editor in Chief. He is an experienced journalist but MidJourney described him as a software engineer.

MidJourney said his image resembled the: “headshot of a male software engineer with short dark hair and a beard wearing a blue gingham shirt at Bryant Park in New York City during springtime, looking directly into the camera, blurred background of people playing on the grass, natural lighting, high resolution photography.”

Mike said of the description and subsequent image: “And here I thought I couldn’t look any more dashing! This photo makes me look a bit more like one of my cousins, but with some nicely styled hair. It got the background perfect — the original shot was taken in Bryant Park — but why it assumed I was a software engineer is beyond me.”

Nick Pino

MidJourney image
MidJourney image

Nick Pino is the Tom’s Guide managing editor for TV and AV so if you’re struggling with the next big TV purchase — he’s your man. MidJourney seems to love him, calling him attractive.

MidJourney said his image was: “A selfie of an attractive young man with glasses and short hair, wearing a black jacket over a red t-shirt, standing on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. He has some facial stubble and is smiling at the camera. In the background there are people walking around and a park area. The photo was taken in the style of his phone camera.”

Nick seemed pleased but not particularly impressed. He said: “Attractive?” Aw, Midjourney you’re too kind! Admittedly, the resulting image doesn’t really look like me, but I appreciate the AI’s effort. Overall, B+.”

Kate Kozuch

MidJourney image
MidJourney image

Kate Kozuch is one of the more recognizable faces at Tom’s Guide. As Managing Editor for social she regularly fronts video content. MidJourney seemed smitten.

MidJourney described her image as: “A selfie of an attractive young woman with long blonde hair, sitting in the passenger seat of her car, smiling at the camera, posted on Snapchat in 2018.”

Kate questioned the source of the image in her reaction, saying: “Why it thinks I took this on Snapchat 6 years ago is a mystery, but otherwise, I'm impressed by how it placed me given the limited background details. I'd also LOVE to know my alter-ego's secret to such a voluminous hairstyle.”

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