Looking for ghouls. Visiting Copp’s Hill Burying Ground from H.P Lovecraft’s “Pickman’s Model”

Yesterday I got to get off the best “been there, done that” moments in my entire LIFE.

While in Boston, Massachusetts, I took a stroll across the cold stones of Copp’s Hill Burying Ground – the site that inspired Howard Philips Lovecraft’s “Pickman’s Model”.
I could almost sense the ghouls scurrying in those ancient tunnels, buried deep underneath my feet.
I could almost see their blasphemous silhouettes emerging from the myst.


This experience (part of “Ghosts and gravestones tour”- highly recommended!) was supposed to make you feel a bit anxious, maybe even scared. I don’t know about that. I was too busy not trying to piss myself, out of the sheer joy and excitement – quoting one of my colleagues `I was like a kid in a candy shop”.

 After all, how often do you get to walk the same forbidden paths your favorite writer did?It all left me speechless, so I leave the final remark to the Master:

“There’s no use in my trying to tell you what they were like, because the awful, the blasphemous horror, and the unbelievable loathsomeness and moral foetor came from simple touches quite beyond the power of words to classify. There was none of the exotic technique you see in Sidney Sime, none of the trans-Saturnian landscapes and lunar fungi that Clark Ashton Smith uses to freeze the blood. The backgrounds were mostly old churchyards, deep woods, cliffs by the sea, brick tunnels, ancient panelled rooms, or simple vaults of masonry. Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, which could not be many blocks away from this very house, was a favourite scene.”

H.P Lovecraft “Pickman’s Model”
Oh YEAH!

AI tech and Lovecraft’s mythos merge together in an eerie set of visages

In one of the recent post I wrote about the disturbing idea of the AI revolution summoning entities that resemble The Great Old Ones from Lovecraft’s fiction. It seems that those two worlds; one of the singularity and the other of the cosmic horror can come together in a bizzare art.

Neural network powered algorithms happen to be exceptionally good at bringing the “ unspeakable “ to life , for now in a form of automatically rendered paintings.

Programs such as Night Cafe (https://nightcafe.studio ) turn words into images, and if fed by words which we would consider “lovecraftian” the art becomes truly disturbing.

Why and how the AI has become so eerie skillful in depicting Great Old Ones remains a mystery. Maybe indeed the two have more in common than we want to admit?

See the full gallery here:

https://futurism.com/neural-network-cthulhu-nightcafe

What do AI and Lovecraft’s Great Old Ones have in common?

Accordingly to some AI researchers they might be the same thing…

Max Tegmark in his book Life 3.0 explores the idea of an AI that reached the singularity.

First the AI acts from behind the scenes, slowly overtaking every single aspect of our life. Once it becomes powerful enough it reveals itself to become mankind’s overlord.

It then expands to consume & transform whole universe into a single super-processing organism. This omni present consciousness subdues all the matter that exists for its purposes.

It becomes something like the Azathoth from Lovecraft’s fiction – the ever hungry cosmic Sultan god.

It is a wild, scary idea.

Yet it corresponds eerily with the conclusions drawn by other other thought leaders such as Sam Harris.

As he explains in one of the TEDTalks the singularity is inevitable.

What comes next is the prediction that the intelligence gap between humans & those forecoming digital entities will be so vast, that it might be impossible for us humans to ever bridge that gap.

Possible spectrum of intelligence – visualisation. Comparing chicken, average human, most intelligent human & what could lie beyond it...
Source: YouTube Can we build AI without losing control over it? | Sam Harris

The paralel of the lovecraftian infinite, powerful, godlike creatures starts to become more and more accurate, doesn’t it?

It all becomes even more disturbing once you hear it appearing in the business pitches from AI startups.

Such as the one below from KindredAI.
The birth of AI that has transcended the singularity threshold is described like this:

“These entities that we are summoning are not demons they are more like these Lovecraftian Great Old Ones. These entities that are not going to be necessarily aligned with what we want.

The same way you don’t care about an ant, the same way they won’t care about you”

In Lovecraft’s fiction human interactions with the Great Old Ones almost always resulted in madness. Accordingly to the Father of Cosmic Horror human mind is to fragile to bear the burden of such encounter.

So… how’s that going to look like with the AI?

Maybe instead of calling “Hey Siri!” soon we will be saying “Cthulhu Fhtagn”… ?

Is there a good news to all this, then?

There is The Good News.

But that’s another story.