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Creating new realities with AI.

This is how new realities pulp out of AI.


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Vlad Alex Merzmensch

3 years ago | 3 min read

In my Essay on Artbreeder, I explored the creation of non-existent imagery, with the help of a Deep Learning and Image Processing based tool by Joel Simon. Let’s take a little walk across non-existent culture.

Do you know it — your High Fidelity moment? Not that of the failed relationships from the novel of Nick Hornby and movie with John Cusack. I mean, that feeling when you are entering the record store, full of rare and unknown LPs, albums, covers. And then there is another Rob, musical elitist. That one whose reaction is — if you happen to reveal your musical illiteracy:

My favorite facepalm.

This feeling occupies me when I am using the section “Albums” of Artbreeder. I should know them. But I cannot. They were created a second before. All these covers emerge from the AI imagination.

Short to Artbreeder: it’s an AI-driven tool, which allows generating images of non-existing things without apparent reference. As a base, it is trained on various image data sets. The results are surreal (read more in my essay)

At the moment section “Albums” at Artbreeder have three categories:

  • Random
  • Mix-Images
  • Animate

In Random Section, you can generate dozens of new visions or see already created versions.

The diversity of images, designs, layouts is impressive, sudden, and useful for visual brainstorming.

So here is just a sneak view into a music library in an alternate reality:

Some elements are recognizable — the system was trained on vast amounts of album covers as well. But look at the unknown languages!

Dialogue of Artificial Harmonies

An Italian surrealist writer Tommaso Landolfi created once a horrible vision in his short story “Dialogo dei massimi sistemi” (“Dialogue on the Greater Harmonies”, 1937).

A poet was obsessed with learning foreign languages. A random person agreed to give him lessons from Persian. This beautiful, flowery, colorful language fascinated the poet, he begun to write his poems just in Persian.

Alas, not many people were able to understand this ancient language, so he wrote practically for himself for years. But then, one day, he stumbled upon a scholar of Persian and was over the moon to finally find somebody who could understand his poetry.

Just the thing was… the language the poet now spoke already better than his native language wasn’t Persian at all. It was an artificial or rather fake language. Years ago, the “teacher” took the liberty of a little prank — he pretended to teach Persian, but it was a made-up language. So the poet locked himself out of the semantic system. He was the only one in the world who could understand his Œuvre.

Scrolling around the Random Section of Albums in Artbreeder arouses similar feelings. Probably with the one little difference: even you, who generates this language, won’t understand it. It’s a mimetic, artificial, one-time language, written in a mix of partly mirrored Latin and Cyrillic letters.

You can almost guess which music styles and music bands could be hidden behind this design. And all the attempts to comprehend it bears power within.

Imaginative power for non-existent things.

But are they still non-existent?

Do we materialize them in our perception as soon as we see them? Are the dreams existent for us after we wake up? They are still emerging and breathing in our minds. The AI-generated imagery has the same potential — just it isn’t produced by ourselves. But it inspires us.

And Artificial Intelligence as a Muse is already a topic of various researches and experiments, like this fascinating experiment by Libre AI and Cueva Gallery. They confronted a traditional artist with works being generated by AI.

The artist stated:

“The stimulation of the imagination due to the fact that the residual images are blurred could serve very well as abstract paintings. I did not expect at the beginning to be able to find a way to look at images produced by AI and incorporate them in my practice. But in the end I did it in my own way.”

Read more about this experiment here:

When a Traditional Artist meets AI for the First Time: An Experiment

by Beth Jochim, Co-Founder and Director at Cueva Gallery

And here is my essay on ArtBreeder — you can build your own realities.

Artbreeder: Draw me an Electric Sheep

How to apply Generative Adversarial Networks in a user-friendly way.

AI won’t take our creative jobs. It will rather inspire, assist, help us to open our incrusted minds.

So let’s create. Let’s inspire and be inspired.

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Vlad Alex Merzmensch

Russian writer living in Germany. Writing about AI, New Tech and Art


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