Embrace the Machine…

My talk at Glug, Bristol.

It’s 24 hours since I spoke at Glug, but I’m still buzzing.

The event was sold out. The room was full of energy. And I got some lovely feedback on the night, and today. So I’m feeling pretty chuffed.

If you didn’t manage to get a ticket to the ‘What’s Next?’ event, or even if you did. Here are the five slides that got the biggest reactions on the night.

1. The AI-created short film – Sunspring

I showed the first five minutes of Sunspring and it did make the room smile.

If you haven’t seen it yet, Sunspring is a film script that was created by an AI and then acted out by humans. The results are pretty dystopian, and a little bonkers, but as a creative endeavour it definitely deserves applause.

2. Robbie Barrat’s Balenciaga shin bag

Robbie Barrat is a 19 year old AI artist who’s doing some weird and wonderful work. His latest project involved training a generative adversarial network (GAN) on images from Balenciaga’s look books, online catalogue and runway shows, to generate a new collection.

One result I particularly like is the AI-generated shin bag. Something which Barrat has turned into a reality.

Afterall, who wouldn’t want a shin bag, right?

3. A.I-created celebrity photos

When it comes to photography, AI creates a whole host of new possibilities. Recently, Nvidia published a paper showing how they trained a GAN to generate photorealistic images of new ‘celebrities’.

At the moment there are limitations to the photography. The images are small compared to modern-day cameras (only 1,024 by 1,024 pixels), and some have the odd glitch when you look closely.

Nevertheless, you can see how the creative industries could find uses for this kind of technology going forward.

4. Lil Maquela

Lil Maquela has 1.5 million followers on Instagram, she has released two singles on Spotify, modelled for the likes of Prada – and is a supporter of charities including Black Lives Matter.

But here’s the interesting part. She’s not human. She’s actually an AI-powered CGI creation, who is now a social media ‘influencer’.

The operational logistics behind Maquela’s account are complicated. If you’re interested, The Cut give a full rundown here. But what is clear is that virtual influencers are making an impact – and could soon be flooding our social feeds very soon.

5. Can’t dance to save your life? You can now.

The biggest crowd-wower was definitely this video from Berkeley University researchers. The team developed a deep learning system that takes dance moves from a source video and applies them to the less-talented dancers amongst us.

The work is still in its early stages and there are some potential ethical concerns, but it could be so much fun once it’s fully worked up.

How great would it be to impress your friends (or embarrass your kids) with your perfect Floss, “Fresh Prince” or Flapper?

So there you have it. My Glug talk in five.

If you like what you see here, do check out the Tiny Giant website to find out where me, Richard Norton (or both of us) are talking next.

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