The next great artists, writers, filmmakers, and musicians will all employ artificial intelligence collaborators. AI will be a big part of their creative process, whether they design AI models to fit their unique needs or use one of the readymade creative AIs on the market today.
The AI Collaborator
Having a collaborator is crucial to the creative process. Someone to bounce ideas off of, bring you new inputs, or make you think differently. If nothing else, having a creative partner motivates you when you’re just not feeling it.
Now we’ve reached a point where AI models are good enough to work alongside artists, writers, and other creative professionals.
To have an AI collaborator in the past required a deep knowledge of machine learning algorithms like GANs. AI Weirdness was a blog I followed for a long time which documented the laborious process of building creative AIs around prompts like AI designs Halloween costumes and AI writes recipes.
But today, researchers have made collaborating with AI much easier. They’ve packaged these AI tools into accessible software interfaces that laymen can test out.
The first AI-powered creative tool to capture the culture was GPT-3, created by Sam Altman’s OpenAI project. About two years ago, the service was launched and quickly caught everyone’s attention for how good it was at generating coherent text. It was so good that people believed its writing came from a human.
Today, GPT-3 is used by over 300 commercial applications and generates over 4.5 billion words for users per day. Fable Studio uses GPT-3 to create real-time, interactive stories for their virtual beings. Viable uses GPT-3 to generate summarized customer insights from feedback and reviews.
More recently, a new AI writing tool has emerged specifically for creative writers. Sudowrite is an AI-powered writing platform designed to help writers brainstorm new ideas and overcome writer's block.
After inputting just 20 words of a writing prompt, Sudowrite will generate paragraphs of text that pick up right where you left off. If you want it to elaborate on a sentence or create a better description of the situation, you just highlight that section and tell it to describe it more. If you want it to rewrite something, then you can tell it to do so. And it works for both fictional and factual writing. Here’s a video of Sudowrite in action. Below, you’ll find a sample of what Sudowrite can create.
How many of us have dreamed of being artists but possessed no drawing skills? Now all you need to be an artist is to come up with a few words and input them into one of the many AI art tools out there and you’ll come back with something impressive.
DALL-E 2, which was also created by OpenAI, is an AI system that can create realistic images and art from a description in natural language. No matter how crazy of a prompt, DALL-E will parse through its archive of billions of images and generate a new image.
Midjourney, created by David Holz, is another example of an AI-powered artist. What’s cool about this tool is that it works directly in Discord, greatly diminishing the barrier to using an AI collaborator.
AI art is not totally perfect. It’s definitely not always pretty. But it’s damn good.
The best way to describe AI-generated art is that it creates dreamlike images. At a quick glance, they look complete. But the more you focus on them, the less clear they appear.
However, some artists are taking the outputs from Midjourney or DALL-E and using AI rendering tools like Disco Diffusion and Stable Diffusion to make the AI-generated imagery even clearer and more distinct. Seriously, the art that is being created through this process is scary good (and also cause for concern).
On a lighter note, you can use AI to generate fake Pokemón with Nokemon.
Where AI Fits in the Creative Process
AI can now assist creators in ways that go beyond auto-adjusting lighting on images, autocorrecting spelling, and suggesting content. We're now in an era where the human can be greatly augmented creatively by the AI. When your human self runs out of ideas the AI companion can help stimulate and provide creative support to help you beat your creative block.
AI has been elevated to a creative partner. And I feel that all creatives should look at AI in this light. It’s not going to replace your role as a creative, but it can help you in two ways.
Speed and endless ideas.
AI can create from any prompt and get you something to spark your ideas in minutes or seconds. That’s what’s most powerful.
Commerce is driven by content today. With every year that ticks by, we’re consuming more and more content. This means that creative competition has shifted from quality to quantity. It’s more important for a creator to show up on people’s timelines every day than it is for them to show up once a week with the perfect creation.
AI will help all creators up their speed of creation greatly.
Better With Each Use
If you’re skeptical of AI’s output today, then I challenge you to look at AI from a long-term perspective. Look at where AI is going. They may not be generating the next Van Gogh paintings or Hemingway prose. But they are competing with the average artist and writer.
AI-powered creative tools improve with every person that queries them or uses them. Every time that you choose which of the four images Midjourney has created from your input you like the most, it learns. Every time you correct the writing output from Sudowrite, it learns how to write better in the future.
Arthur Miller lays out the future of this creative relationship between man and AI in his book Artist in the Machine. He encourages us all to look at this collaboration with optimism about how we can all integrate them into our process.
I get shivers up my spine whenever I think about where creative AI will be a decade from now. And you should too.