How are fairy tales made up, why doors don't smile, is it possible to find inspiration in a dark room and can neural networks replace painters?
When my daughter was a little girl, she asked me to tell her fairy tales before going to bed. One day, tired after a hard day, I went into my daughter’s room, sat on her bed, and hugged her.
– Daddy, Daddy, tell me a story!
– Whew! Okay. About what?
– I don’t know. Whatever you want.
I didn’t want to tell any story, but I knew that my kid wouldn’t leave me alone. So, I started looking for an object or hero that were within my line of sight.
– There once lived… I looked around. In the dark room, I could see nothing except the light from the door ajar…
There once lived a Door in the Big Valley of Doors. And it was huge and rock-hard. But no one rushed to open it. Other doors opened and closed, people went in and out through them, but our door stood alone, unaware of what lay behind it. And no one opened it.
Because of this, the Door grew sadder and sadder, and the stone from which it was clad grew grayer and grayer. As the sadness deepened, the longing of the door grew greater – for people to open it and reveal to the world what was behind it. If they made it a door, it must open then, the Door thought.
Hundreds of years went by before, one day, a man approached the Door. He was ahorse and wearing armor. The Man seemed stubborn and very brave. He tried to open the Door, but couldn’t – it turned out he needed a key. He didn’t have a key and that made him angry! So, he decided to break in. He cut down a huge tree in the forest and made a battering ram out of it. With this massive log he tried to break down the Door, but it stayed untouched. Remember, it was enormous and thick. The Door grieved again – it wanted so much to let the man in, but it couldn’t open without a key…
The Man didn’t give up: he decided to break the lock. He tried to open the Door with a knife, peered through the keyhole, tried to use a spear as a key, but the lock was complicated and sturdy. The door wouldn’t open. Desperate, the man decided to set fire to the Door! He cut the battering ram into small logs and put them around the Door. He lit the fire and sparks flew around. The Door was very surprised and even angry – how could the Man not have realized that the Door could be opened so easily? All he needed was the key.
Fire and offense made the Door turn red, especially since it was made of iron. However, that didn’t work either, because the Door wouldn’t open. The ivy twigs surrounding the Door burned, and suddenly, beneath them, on the burning surface, the man noticed some words. It said that the key to the Door was in the claws of the Dragon, who lived on a nearby mountain. The man rejoiced, picked up his spear, jumped on his horse and galloped away.
A day passed, then a week, then a month, but the Man never returned. The Door realized that the Dragon was stronger, and the thought brought sadness. It had hoped so much that someone would open it…
A month later, a little Girl approached the Door. She looked up at the Door that stood black, scorched and scratched. The Door wanted to smile at the little Girl, but doors could not smile… Suddenly, the little Girl began to talk:
— Hello, Door. You know, the man who tried to enter you was my father. He went to the Dragon for the key and never came back. I looked for him, and I found the place where my dad fought the Dragon. I couldn’t find my Daddy, – sighed the little girl. – But I found this. – And the Girl took the Key out of her pocket.
The Door was saddened that because of it the little Girl was left without a father. But the thought that it would finally open made it glad. The Girl put the key in the keyhole. The Door swung open and the little Girl stepped inside.
The Door was so happy it didn’t notice where the Girl had gone. It enjoyed the fact that it was now a real Door that people walked through. It was so happy! In fact, it didn’t realize that it was the most unusual Door in the world – the door between the world of the living and the world of shadows.
After some time, the Door was very surprised to see the Girl come back. Only the Girl was not alone. She was holding hands with that very stubborn Man and a beautiful Woman. It was the girl’s mother, whom her father had sought once at the Door…
Laughing merrily, they came out of the Door, thanked it and went home. And the Door would have smiled at them too, if doors could smile….
PS: At that time, I found the story interesting and I wrote it down. Now that I have been asked to tell it as part of the Povești de-acasă campaign initiated by CCF Moldova, I decided to publish it. When the time came to illustrate it, I started looking for painters. Deadlines and prices didn’t satisfy me and the matter remained open. Until I saw what MidJourney Bot was doing. It’s a neural network that generates images from text descriptions. It’s an amazing tool that helped me illustrate my story (under each image there is a text description, which I entered to get the image).
It’s as delightful as it is scary at the same time. What will happen to painters who have been learning to paint all their lives? And the next step is video, film, scripts. And here we are, watching an everlasting series, “filmed” in seconds by a neural network with your favorite actors, stories from your favorite films and jokes that will appeal specifically to you.
The question is: what will people do in the dozens and hundreds of professions that Artificial Intelligence will replace, and which professions will disappear last?