Magic AI: these are the optical illusions that trick, fool, and flummox computers

There’s a scene in William Gibson’s 2010 novel Zero History, in which a character embarking on a high-stakes raid dons what the narrator refers to as the “ugliest T-shirt” in existence — a garment which renders him invisible to CCTV. In Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, a bitmap image is used to transmit a virus that scrambles the brains of hackers, leaping through computer-augmented optic nerves to rot the target’s mind. These stories, and many others, tap into a recurring sci-fi trope: that a simple image has the power to crash computers.