Each cube here is a tone poem in melancholia. Looking at these leaden vistas of America makes you, slightly but noticeably, feel worse than you did before. [...]
These pictures! My god. They're simply ashudder with suspense and dread. That taxi in the middle frame: What dread cargo does it carry, to what wretched appointment? The bottom right photo looks like something you'd see plastered on a WANTED poster. And good grief, in the bottom left: What looming terror is casting that fuzzy, Lovecraftian shadow? [...]
This is why CAPTCHA photos are a nonstop brutalist slideshow of metal and concrete. It is as if someone took you on a tour of a lovely scenic town, but strapped you into horse blinders and forced you to stare only at fire hydrants. [...]
They weren't taken by humans, and they weren't taken for humans. They are by AI, for AI. They thus lack any sense of human composition or human audience. They are creations of utterly bloodless industrial logic. Google's CAPTCHA images demand you to look at the world the way an AI does.
CAPTCHA images are never joyful vistas of human activity, full of Whitmanesque vigor. No, they're blurry, anonymous landscapes that possess a positively Soviet anomie.