Generative AI

Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a term for deep learning systems that create artificial content such as images and audio from textual prompts. Popular examples include image generators such as Dall-E, Stable Diffusion and MidJourney.  When prompted by users, these engines create computational art matching the textual prompt. 

Dall-E 2, a portmanteau of Salvador Dalí and Pixar robot Wall-E, is one such model that generates artful, photorealisic images from descriptions in natural language. For instance, the prompt "an autochrome painting of a gravel cyclist in the mountains" generates the following image.

an autochrome painting of a gravel cyclist in the mountains

OpenAI, the company behind Dall-E 2, was founded in 2015 as a non-profit AI research organization by tech entrepreneurs Elon Musk and Peter Thiel, among others. Apart from its obvious aesthetic appeal, the cultural dimensions of machine vision make open source AI technology a natural research object for students and scholars of digital culture. For instance, in an OpenAI YouTube video celebrating the launch of Dall-E 2, a voice-over can be heard saying that 

Dall-E helps humans understand how AI systems see and understand our world