"It looks wrong and ugly, but also very cute."
ChatGPT is capable of churning out workable crochet patterns, The Guardian reports. That's impressive. Just one catch: the finished product might not be exactly what you were looking for.
Per the Guardian, the trend was first popularized by crochet enthusiast Alexandra Woolner, who went viral back in January with a TikTok video showcasing the results of their first attempt to bring a ChatGPT-suggested crochet pattern to life. They prompted the OpenAI chatbot to draft a pattern for a crochet walrus, and the AI provided — but the crochet creature that resulted can really only be described as narwhal-ish.
"The consensus among people who have seen it is that it looks wrong and ugly," Woolner told the paper, "but also very cute."
Indeed, with its more-than-cartoonishly massive eyeballs and delightfully bulbous tusk, the resulting creature is both wrong and ugly, unhinged to the point of disturbing. Still, it's got a little bit of alien charm. (In a comment, one TikTokker characterized the nightmare narwhal as a "manatee in witness protection," a description that we simply must stan.)
Importantly, this chaos narwhal isn't an outlier. Woolner has made a series of these wonderfully monstrous crochet beasts, each as bizarre as the next, a reality that seemingly speaks to two very important characteristics of ChatGPT: one, that the device is built to predict — rather than perfectly recall information — and two, that it's bad with numbers.
Crochet patterns rely heavily on proper ratios, which ChatGPT can't produce with reliable accuracy. And besides, it's still an approximation of what a crochet narwhal — or cat or newt — might look like based on the chatbot's training data, and not a true representation. As such, chaotic, almost dream-like representations of the requested animals ensue.
The narwhal "came out shockingly very accurate while still being very, very wrong," Woolner told the Guardian. "It's a weird mix, kind of an uncanny valley."
Though the crochet monsters might be a little disturbing, other folks can't help but join in on the fun.
"After I finished the head, it was pretty apparent that this was not going to be anything resembling an animal in nature," Diana Ramirez-Simon, a Guardian copy editor, said of her own attempt at a ChatGPT-designed crochet narwhal.
"My daughter named him Blinky, because he can't blink," she added. "His eyes are too big."
READ MORE: Crochet enthusiasts asked ChatGPT for patterns. The results are 'cursed' [The Guardian]