Sci-fi’s entire endeavor has been to imagine worlds in alternate futures, alternate realities, and alternate universes. To plot timelines, envision technologies, and build entire lifestyles and societies around them. It isn’t easy, which is why good sci-fi is hard to come by… but with a little help from AI maybe things will be a little easier. Created as a broad part of Vadim Sadovski’s ‘Alternate Reality Retrofuturism’ series, these products imagine life in a world where steampunk and transparency co-mingle as dominant design themes. Sadovski relied on AI tools like Midjourney to help envision these products, all of which have a similar otherworldly aesthetic that’s filled with detail and chaos. There’s little method to the visual madness that is this series, but if there’s one thing we can all agree on, every image here is absolutely fascinating, showing how powerful these AI-generative art tools can be with the right prompt.
Designer: Vadim Sadovski
If there’s one thing that’s incredibly challenging to do with AI tools, it’s to make it imagine things it hasn’t seen before. AI image generative tools rely on their databases to create final results, and more often than not, it’s difficult to find images of relevance – case in point being something like a transparent camera. What Sadovski’s pulled off here is quite impressive, considering the AI’s done a remarkable job of not only rendering a transparent housing but also the components underneath. The camera above is a stellar example of how good these tools have gotten. Right below is a Sony loudspeaker/amplifier.
A vacuum cleaner above and a helmet below show the capabilities of the AI in creating uniquely detailed products. Transparent vacuum cleaners, or semi-transparent helmets aren’t a thing, but with just the right prompt and enough trial and error, it’s easy to get the AI to visualize something remarkable.
Retrofuturism, however, is more than just turning products transparent – it’s about combining retro and futuristic elements to create something so absurdly beautiful, it seems like it’s from an alternate universe. The Macintosh computer above and the Netflix TV below are a prime example of retrofuturism done right – at least visually. There’s an overwhelming debate about whether AI art is actually art, or whether AI creations deserve the same amount of merit as real human-made creations… but if there’s one thing that’s certain, the AI does a phenomenal job when it comes to being imaginative. Sometimes that may result in ‘hallucinations’ which involve the AI jumbling up things by putting 7 fingers on a hand instead of the usual 5. However, I firmly believe the AI’s job is to just help boost our own imagination, not replace it.
Sadovski’s approach to this series looks beyond conventional gadgets too. A cat bed above, and a human bed (or resting chamber/pod) below show how the AI works across different categories. There’s an undeniable ‘outer space’ vibe to both beds, which come with enclosed glass chambers and what seems like an air filtration unit for supplying the occupant with fresh air.
If you want to check out the rest of Vadim Sadovski’s AI series, follow him on Instagram.