The Kernel
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The Kernel


DALL·E Just Dreamed A Better Future For Nuclear Power

Using a revolutionary AI tool to re-imagine nuclear energy.

DALL·E is a ground-breaking artificial intelligence tool trained using millions of images and capable of generating original art, photos and illustrations via a simple, natural language text prompt. And I do mean original; none of the below images are real or exist anywhere on the internet.

The technology behind DALL·E is so advanced that running your first prompt is almost unnerving, like if you were from the 1920s and a time-traveller just handed you a smartphone. As Arthur C. Clarke once said, “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Created by tech company OpenAI, this AI will surely change how we think of art and creativity forever. This has been written about countless times across the internet, so I won’t pretend I have anything new to add here.

Instead, let’s unleash DALL·E on to my favourite topic: the imagery surrounding nuclear power.

I’ve written many times (e.g. here and here) about nuclear power’s image problem. It may be a clean energy giant but is seen as dirty, dangerous and secretive. I’ve been trying to change that through the imagery I collect (and occasionally commission) for my Instagram channel, Atomic Trends.

I challenge myself not to use photos of nuclear plants on Atomic Trends; instead I post images that speak to themes I associate with nuclear: sci-fi, nature, future, cyberpunk, myth, superheroes, urbanism, and many others. While this has been fun, I often have imagery ideas in my head I wish I could put to paper but — alas — I’m no artist. But what if I could use DALL·E to turn ideas in my head into images on the screen?

Although I’m on the waiting list, I haven’t yet been granted access to DALL·E, so thanks to brother Tom for letting me use his account for nuclear dreaming :)

Do androids dream of electric sheep?

I’ve only had DALL·E for a few days, but have already built up a huge repertoire of fresh imagery. The below is just a small sample — the rest I’ll be releasing on Instagram and Twitter in the coming weeks and months.

Note: the caption for each image is the exact prompt given to DALL·E.

Sci-fi rewilding

One my favourite themes is nuclear as a sci-fi technology that enables global rewilding. The only problem is that no one knows what I mean by that…Save me, DALL·E, you’re my only hope!

Nuclear isn’t just about electricity; it could also be used to make clean fuels for shipping. How about one of those sci-fi reactors on the Hudson River right in front of Manhattan?

Yeah, I put it where the Statue of Liberty is meant to be…

Give me pretty

Who’s sick of boring, poor quality photos of nuclear power plants? *Everyone raises hands*

I want something more expressive…

Artistic licence

There is definitely not enough nuclear artwork out there, either depicting the power plants themselves or else abstract ideas related to nuclear energy.

Let’s see what we can do…

Pick your favourite style

DALL·E can even create images in a particular style or genre. Let’s try a few.

Your imagination is the limit

We’re only just beginning to learn what is possible with DALL·E. To me, it feels like the only limit is your own imagination. These should be exciting times.

The future is in our hands.



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David de Caires Watson

Nuclear futurist, chartered physicist, safety engineer, amateur birder and pedal power enthusiast. Writer for The Kernel mag. Founder of Atomic Trends.