The Ghost in the Machine Loab, the Uncanny, and AI-Generated Art

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John E. Priegnitz II


The concept of cursed images and objects is a type of folk narrative that is common in legend cycles. However, since the Internet
became widely accessible to the public in the early 1990s a new frontier was created for these types of legends to find fertile ground to
grow and thrive. Examples of this have included cursed YouTube videos, video games, Creepypasta legends, and now art generated by
artificial intelligence (also referred to as AI). This paper will examine Loab, the emergent Internet legend purportedly created by AI
generated art. Loab and other AI generated art is unsettling as it enters the realm of the uncanny and speaks to modern anxieties that are attached to emerging technologies. Further, AI generated art is a new medium of expression that questions the definition of humanity, authorship, and reality itself. This emerging technology is creating a space where new narratives are crafted and further cements the Internet as a legendary destination for those who seek the strange and uncanny.

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Author Biography

John E. Priegnitz II, Memorial University of Newfoundland

John E. Priegnitz II is a folklorist who earned his MA in Folklore Studies at Utah State University in 2023. He is currently completing his first year as a PhD student focusing on the same discipline at Memorial University of Newfoundland's Department of Folklore.