What does AI look like? You might say it looks like a robot, or flashing LEDs, or a waveform on a screen. AI short for Artificial Intelligence, is one of core module subjects in Bachelor of Computer Science. But what would AI say AI looks like? To find out, Geomatika University College (GUC) have offer this program to everyone. IBM Research asked AI to draw a picture of itself. AI’s self-portrait was published in The New York Times today and, looking at the image, I am amazed not only with the result, but also the journey we took to get there.
The New York Times contacted IBM Research in late September asking for our help to use AI in a clever way to create art for the coming special section on AI. With a very short timeline and no guarantee of success, we set out to teach AI to create original art. Given only a high-level task by identify an important concept in AI, create an original image that captures it, and present it in way that fits with the visual style of The New York Times, we developed a new process that perfectly combines AI and human creativity.
Why would drawing a self-portrait be such a challenge for AI? After all, AI can drive cars, play video games, even produce a movie trailer. The difference is that these tasks don’t require AI to create new material, just to analyse the information at hand and make decisions or selections based on its training. We already know that AI can perform exceptionally well at language and image analysis. Creating new content, on the other hand, is a much more experimental activity.
The range of expertise required speaks to the nature of the task: deep science thinking, hands-on technical and engineering skills, and design and visualization talent were essential to our effort. In essence, we needed to explicitly define the creative process. The result is a nuanced pipeline in which AI performs critical functions in both analysis and synthesis to create something truly novel and captivating.
The process included the following three major steps:
1. Identify a core visual concept in AI
2. Create an original image that captures the AI concept
3. Present it in a way that fits NYT visual style