BLIT : a short story

BLIT: a short story by David Langford

Terrifyingly relevant to what Mike and I are working on.

"2-6. This first example of the Berryman Logical Image Technique (hence the usual acronym BLIT) evolved from AI work at the Cambridge IV supercomputer facility, now discontinued. V.Berryman and C.M.Turner [3] hypothesized that pattern-recognition programs of sufficient complexity might be vulnerable to "Gödelian shock input" in the form of data incompatible with internal representation. Berryman went further and suggested that the existence of such a potential input was a logical necessity ...

... independently discovered by at least two late amateurs of computer graphics. The "Fractal Star" is generated by a relatively simple iterative procedure which determines whether any point in two-dimensional space (the complex field) does or does not belong to its domain. This algorithm is now classified."

What do you think the odds are that we make something like this?


  1. Well, since this post is over three years old and we've been working fairly steadily at trying to render novel patterns, I'd say the odds of us stumbling upon such a pattern by chance are near zero. Its not even clear that such a pattern can exist. It may be possible to create stimuli that are annoying, or just downright give you a headache to look at, but I feel like theres no static image thats going to trigger widespread activity beyond primary visual areas. Even the hallucination goggles only cause seizures in predisposed individuals, and most of the time seizures aren't even fatal. I'd be willing to leave open the possibility that there is some undiscovered dynamic stimulus that is capable of inducing seizures in higher threshold individuals, but I doubt anything beyond that exists.

  2. Eridani5.9.12

    There actually is a representation of "The Parrot", the "first" BLIT image (B-1 in the Langford's universe) out there on the internet. Just Google "the parrot" and you will know when you find it: it's a bizarre fractal-looking image that kinda looks like the head of a parrot. I don't know who made this particular image; if it is a fan-made image or made by/for Langford himself. Normal fractal images in general are strange and slightly unsettling, and "The Parrot" seems just like a normal one; staring at it will not kill you. Thus, the possibility of a true BLIT image remains purely in the realm of science fiction.