Monday 5 December 2022

Jesus on a unicycle

 As a digital artist I’ve embraced technology where I’ve seen value in it and dismissed it where I can’t. I think some of you will be aware of my contempt and dismissal of the Emperor’s New Clothes that are NFTs. I've also been avoiding AI* in the main because I couldn't quite see how useful it might be. I do have one picture that I created a while back that includes some AI, thanks to my Twitter friend Trundle, but I've never really been tempted to take it any further. Then the other day I read an article in the Guardian about how artists are using AI to create art and I thought, perhaps now the time is right to delve a bit deeper.

My attitude to AI can be summed up as this: You know how natural fabrics breath and synthetics don't. Well the same applies to art and AI. As far as I'm concerned AI will never take the place of humans totally. At best AI is a Bri-Nylon shirt that can only be improved by the addition of human creativity. Add that creativity and you could have the art equivalent of a polyester cotton shirt. It will always need human input. But one thing that is certain is that it's the perfect Dadaist tool.

I've created an account with Dall.E 2, which is some online software that creates pictures based on written instructions that you give it. I plan to use some AI generated pictures in my art where appropriate. I’m still working on a piece that uses the first few images I created with this particular software, but below is an image totally created in AI. As you can see it has limitations. Artists really do not have anything to fear from it. Well certainly not at the moment.

The instruction that I gave it were: “Jesus with a middle eastern complexion riding a unicycle in a supermarket. Father Christmas is being crucified in the background.” This text was inspired by a conversation I had on Twitter with Groggy and Neill where it was suggested that perhaps I create a picture with Jesus on a unicycle. I thought it would be interesting to use AI to generate such a picture. As you can see from the picture, it’s not very good at following orders, and it doesn’t know what a unicycle is. Oh well, early days.

created using Dall·E 2

*AI = Artificial Intelligence. Software that is designed to learn and grow its knowledge derived from the tasks it is asked to perform.

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