AI Fails at Photo Captions

Hilarious AI Fails at Photo Captions

Part of my job as an indie author is to market my books. The need for background images for ads and promotions periodically sends me to various stock photo sites. The latest trend in these sites is to use artificial intelligence (AI) to create photo captions. Often, they miss the point. Sometimes I suspect they're drunk. And sometimes the AI fails at photo captions are hilarious.

Fair Warning: Photo-Heavy Post with Snarky Commentary

AI Can't See the Forest for the Trees

First, here are examples of what I mean when the AI captions the photo, but hilariously fails to notice other things that might be of interest.

The AI says this is a photo of beige and white houses. True, but it fails to mention the spectacular red and blue sky that takes up 80% of the image.

Photo of red and green sky with houses below

The AI captioned this photo as “Buildings Are Closer.” Yes, but again, you might want to mention that sky…

Sunset and rain clouds over a cityscape

Yes, dear sweet AI, the girl does have a guitar on her back. You might want mention the tornado touching down in front of her…

Girl carrying a guitar and walking toward a tornado touching down


Go Home; You're Drunk

Sometimes drunks have many, many words to say that make no sense. Here are examples of funny captions by what I suspect are drunk AIs.

Got it: House, river, concrete, architecture, and no people. Look! Aren't those sea lions on the pier?

Sea lions on a concrete pier with houses in the background

Yes, they are “vegetables in big size.” I think the word you're going for is “pumpkins.”

Closeup photo of pumpkins on the ground

The AI says this is a blue, green, and yellow abstract painting. What on earth is it seeing?

Watercolor painting of an earth-like planet

AI: It's a woman in a brown dress sitting on a chair.
Me: First of all, it's a dude in a monk's robe, and second of all, he's kind of busy with that cherub.

Monk in a brown robe, beholding a cherub flying above him

AI says its vehicles in a parking lot. Remind me never to accept a ride from the AI.

Vintage photo of English Spitfire planes being built


AI Photo Caption Fails are Hilarious

Lastly, here are examples of when the AI get it hilariously wrong.

This, the AI will have you know, is a squirrel.

White-faced black and brown ferret standing on two legs in a grassy field

The AI's photo caption for this is “gray elephants.” Naughty AI. Poor Sphinx kittens get picked on enough without being called names.

Closeup of sphinx kittens, a breed of hairless cat

This could have gone in the drunk section, but the AI fail is too funny. Gentle readers, I give you “Mysterious of Sky.”

Illustration of a man on a balcony that overlooks the planet Earth

Oh, dear. The AI got everything right except the fact that neither a giant shoe or a tyrannosaurus rex are a “grey and black helicopter.”

Hand holding a smart phone taking a photo of a giant athletic shoe and a tyrannosaurus rex in the background


Sometime in the future, I'll do another post like this, but instead of captions, I'll do keywords. For example, type the word “bunny” into the search bar, and sometimes, inexplicable images show up.


Images licensed from Scop.io and Unsplash.com.



  1. These are hilarious! It’s surprising how often they miss the focus of the picture. I thought that “Helicopter” picture especially was quite funny. How can it see a helicopter in there? And those poor kittens being described as elephants?

    Obviously AI’s still have a long way to go when it comes to captions, but it sure makes for a funny post. I hope you’ll do more posts like these!

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