The upcoming coronation of King Charles III is the most hotly anticipated event of this year – so MailOnline asked an AI bot to provide a sneak peek… and the results are both surprising and scary.
These strange visuals give a glimpse of how scenes may play out at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, May 6 and how the nation might rally to watch the historic event unfold – Britain’s first coronation since 1953.
‘God Save the King’, cry the children, their little hands nursing pints of frothing ale, their faces taut in terror.
They stare through the gloom and grey hair, gawping at pub screens showing the King being ferried to Westminster Abbey in a golden articulated lorry.
The coronation is the event of the year. The world is watching, though perhaps wondering, what on earth is going on?
These pictures were created by digital artist David Lloyd-Jones who used artificial intelligence software MidJourney for these brilliant and bizarre creations.
MidJourney is one of a variety of online tools used by a burgeoning group of AI artists – although the software most familiar to people at the moment is ChatGPT, which produces words, not images.
May’s dazzling celebrations will reflect Charles’ desire to be the ‘people’s King’ and will also give representatives from the Commonwealth and NHS workers a chance to shine, before members of the public are encouraged to spend time volunteering on the nation’s additional Bank Holiday.
The three-day extravaganza will give millions of Brits a day off, with tens of thousands expected to line the streets in central London to watch the ceremony – the first of its kind in more than 70 years.
God save the King: MidJourney AI imagines King Charles cheering before the Union Flag, his breast bedazzled with medal
Thronged by flag-waving crowds, two senior royals walk towards Westminster Abbey – can YOU tell who they are?
How about these two? Another well-known royal couple are surrounded by crowds as they make their way to the ceremony
Happy and glorious: AI has created a young royal walking down a line of flag-waving revellers – who on earth is it meant to be?
Arriving in style: How AI imagined the King and Queen will travel down The Mall for the coronation at Westminster Abbey
Aren’t they a little young for beer? AI had some bizarre ideas about what the inside of a pub might look like on Charles’ big day
Using Buckingham Palace’s schedule for the day as his guide, Mr Lloyd-Jones fed a series of prompts into the AI software – but, he admits, it took a lot of trial and error to achieve the results.
The series of images are an attempt to capture the day’s proceedings, from the royals attending Westminster Abbey, the media scrum outside to the huddled royals fans watching from pub TV screens.
Mr Lloyd Jones told MailOnline: ‘When I was asked to create these images of how Artificial Intelligence art creation program Midjourney might see the upcoming coronation of King Charles III, I was confused at first as to why it was struggling – All the pictures of King Charles himself were unrecognisable!
‘It wasn’t long before I realised that the program doesn’t yet know who King Charles III is – I had to provide input prompts featuring the words ‘coronation of Prince Charles of Wales as king of England’. This is because AI art, and AI as a whole generally, relies on pre-existing ideas and verbiage.
‘Places, names, and concepts that are already in ‘the cloud’ of data AI uses are what turns the verbal prompt you feed it into the images you see in this article.
‘There are no images of ‘King Charles III’ being crowned yet because it hasn’t happened yet – it’s that simple.
‘However, the AI knows what the crown looks like, and what ‘Prince Charles’ looks like – Put those concepts together and voila!
‘Another concept that Midjourney struggled to create for this article included a recreation of the famous ‘Buckingham Palace Balcony’ pictures we’ve seen in the past, with the whole Royal Family beaming down from the terrace.
‘Unfortunately generating large numbers of distinct, recognisable individuals – at the same time, in the same image – is beyond its current capabilities, and is one reason why AI won’t be replacing real human concept artists or photographers any time soon’.
Police watch the crowds outside Westminster Abbey ahead of the King’s arrival – but something’s not right about this image
The King’s Coronation carriage is pictured during the royal procession to Westminster Abbey – at first glance, all seems fine
God Save the King! Crowds wave and cheers as the King’s carriage rides down The Mall… but is this how it would really look?
The and King and Queen travel in a golden tram carriage pulled by a bizarre swanlike creature on wheels
All aboard: The royal bus ferries VIPs down The Mall to Westminster Abbey… but what’s going on with the shadows?
What a ride! Giant articulated trucks carry the King and royals to Westminster Abbey after crowds part like the sea
Artificial intelligence has generated snaps life-like snaps of the King and Queen Consort… what do you think of them?
Who’s this royal walking towards Westminster Abbey? Incredible image looks almost real… until you look a little closer
Another royal in attendance at the King’s Coronation on May 6. Who do you think this is supposed to be?
Rows of TV cameras film the masses outside Westminster Abbey… but is this really what it will look like on the day?
Royal cherubs wave a Union flag inside Westminster Abbey. But there is plenty wrong with this image, can you see what?
He added: ‘Even after you’ve created what you think will be the perfect prompt, you may still be surprised, and potentially disappointed, with the resulting images.
‘This is where the patience aspect comes in – You may need to tweak your prompt and re-request it dozens of times before you get what you’re looking for! And once you have something you like, there may well be unforeseen issues that need to be fixed in afterwards with your favourite editing software’.
In recent months the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to create incredible images has exploded, with the internet now awash with millions of pictures designed by computers.
Mr Lloyd-Jones added that despite the notion that AI-assisted artwork may be ‘low-effort and lacking in skill,’ human input is essential for creating meaningful pieces.
A street party fit for a king! Elderly royal fan beams with joy in snap along terraced street… but something’s not quite right
Party in full swing: Locals mingle at a coronation street bash… but what on earth are they eating?
Happy and glorious: Adoring crowds look aghast as they cheer, clap and wave flags on the day of King Charles’ coronation
Something to nibble: A royal fan tucks into a banquet of beige and brown… and there are some bizarre items on the menu
Royally stuffed: Brits share coronation conversation and nibbles at a street bash brimming with banter and polite chit-chat
Social media users have complained that digitally-created images sometimes have people grinning with mouths full of teeth, extra fingers, hands growing from hips and tattoos that look like mould growing on their skin.
The art, however, has drastically improved in recent years. More than five years ago AI systems were producing nightmare blobs, but now can create epic, detailed scenes.
Mr Lloyd-Jones says creating AI-generated images requires considerable patience, and the artist may need to tweak and resubmit their prompt to the bot many times over before getting their desired visual.
Even then, there could still be ‘unforeseen issues’ that need to be corrected with editing software.
The artist explained that Midjourney will often add an extra finger and create eyes that can ‘look very odd if not fixed in post’.
Two familiar-looking characters appear amidst the Westminster Abbey crowds… it’s pretty obvious who they are meant to be
Royally confused? Have a guess at who this senior member of the House of Windsor is meant to be
Familiar pairing? Crowds cheer as two royals walk to Westminster Abbey for the King’s coronation… but who are they?
Heading to their seats: Two senior royals exchange a smile as they walk through Westminster Abbey for the ceremony
Which Windsor is? MidJourney has created another illustration of a well-known royal attending Westminster Abbey service
A royal sneak peek: How MidJourney AI imagined an internal shot taken by a guest at coronation might look
The AI program MidJourney is also the name of the independent research lab that produced it. The team is led by David Holz, who co-founded it.
The beta launch of MidJourney on July 12, 2022, however, a few months earlier on March 14, a request was made for Twitter and Reddit users to share high-quality photographs to help with the system’s training.
The AI firm has been working on improving the program’s algorithms, and releases updates every few months. The current version, the one Mr Lloyd-Jones used, is version four.
A new version five has been tipped for release since January this year, but so far, fans are still waiting for it.
Other art-generating AI programs include Shutterstock, Stable Diffusion, DALL-E 2, DALL-E Mini, NightCafe, Deep Dream Generator, Artbreeder and DeepAI.
Long live the King: Charles garbed in finery speaks to an aide during the coronation service in Westminster Abbey
His Majesty: The King on the throne in Westminster Abbey – an image built around photos of the Queen during her coronation
His proudest moment: Beaming Charles wears the crown and gazes across an ornate room after the crowning ceremony
Impossible: No matter how many times the AI artist tried, he could not reproduce images to represent the classic Buckingham Palace balcony shots where the royals famously gather and wave to the crowds. This was the best of a very bad bunch
A more commonly-known AI tool is the controversial ChatGPT, which has already been banned in schools across the world over fears it encourages cheating and laziness.
The tool works in a similar way to Google, scouring the billions of webpages and articles across the internet to produce written responses. An easy win for so-called ‘lazy’ students, wanting essays written.
But the International Baccalaureate (IB), which offers an alternative to A-levels, is bucking this trend by permitting the use of ChatGPT to write essays.
Students undertaking IB programmes will be able to quote passages generated 1by the chatbot – as long as they do not try to pass it off as their own words.
Earlier this year, the AI tool upset singer-songwriter Nick Cave, who reacted with fury at a fan’s attempt to recreate his lyrics using the tool.
The Bad Seeds frontman wrote a scathing review, slamming the song as ‘bulls***’ and ‘a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human, and, well, I don’t much like it.’
MailOnline used the tool to produce songs by other famous artists, from Johnny Cash to Taylor Swift and Freddie Mercury to similarly bad results.
Remembering the Queen: Punters watch the coronation footage from the comfort of their local pub
Shock and awe: Punters stare wildly at the rolling TV coverage of the King’s coronation. A Union Flag seems to float in mid-air
Something to celebrate: Pub locals appear to be engrossed in a court room drama… and NOT the coronation in this image
An elderly gentleman watches the unfolding drama with intrigue… perhaps it’s a ‘royal expert’ speaking to a presenter on TV
Locals appear to be watching an episode of Medieval Bake-off rather than the coronation in this bizarre image by MidJourney