FEED Autumn 2022 Web

Crossing’ – or even ‘(insert politician here) suspended over a pool of sharks.’ Time after time, Dall-E would return its best guesses at creating the right image. Results were often spot on, sometimes creative and occasionally revelatory. Many images generated in Dall-E mini are grotesque, with bizarre, distorted faces and limbs, alongside strange blends of background and subject. But this is part of the appeal. Seeing an AI try to create an image of a human from scratch – based on what it has been told a human looks like in the past – and not getting it quite right gives us a feeling of superiority. Combine this with the charm we feel when we see a child’s drawing of a person that’s just a head with arms and legs. Dall-E mini was spun off into its own free-to-access brand called Craiyon (craiyon.com), taking developers Dayma and Cuenca with it. In the meantime, OpenAI released Dall-E 2, which generates more realistic and accurate images with four times the resolution of its predecessor. Dall-E 2 is no preschool image generator that you patronise by sticking its drawings on the fridge. This is an AI that reproduces several plausible alternative versions of Girl with a Pearl Earring for you, or seamlessly adds content to a pre-existing picture. MIDJOURNEY Another image generator built on natural language processing made a splash this year – Midjourney. This released its beta tools to artists, designers and educators, and results were often astonishing. Midjourney could produce intelligently composed images with beautifully rendered subjects, making sophisticated and insightful aesthetic choices. What makes Midjourney an especially handy tool for creatives is its ability to take direction on board. Giving the prompt: ‘brilliant magazine about video technology in autumn, hopeful future, very detailed’ produces... well, look at the images on the previous pages. Midjourney is not a toy – not just a toy, at least – but an advanced tool for image creation, ideation and design. It also gives useful returns for just about any prompt, including the



abstract or philosophical. ‘Where have the days gone?’ will likely offer up a melancholy meditation on time. Through a list of shortcuts and commands, users can give weight to different elements in the image, employ various seeds, introduce chaos or control, and manipulate styles and quality in very nuanced ways. An ability for artists – as well as developers – to control a sophisticated AI’s output makes tools like Midjourney and Dall-E game-changing. But for AI to create video content on demand, it must be trained to produce output that exists in time. This starts with executing on prompts like ‘a woman walks across a room.’ Given current capabilities, this is pretty easy, but still requires a level of server time not easily accessible to most. As usual, what starts a technological revolution is not the tech itself, but how easily accessible it is made. “The real unknown is whether AI can shape live content itself by enabling entirely new forms of creative expression,” muses Radical’s Gravesen. “As is always the case, new aesthetics will need to stand the test of time, to go beyond the gimmick. To us, deep learning and AI are a means to enable artistic expression at greater scale. We judge the success of our AI by its ability to support creators in telling a good story – authentically and reliably. And in that critical sense, yes, AI will help tell stories through live broadcast and streaming formats, just as much as better software and hardware always does.”

USE YOUR IMAGINATION A response from the Craiyon AI to the prompt: ‘the future of media technology’



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