This post is part of a collection of thoughts I’m putting together as a companion to Five Seven Five, a stand-alone book that uses haiku I wrote as input to an AI art generator. It was a super-fun project to build. You can get it by backing my kickstarter. Or you can pre-order it at several online retailers.
Fun or not, though, the use of AI in any endeavor is filled with intrigue. So as I came closer to launching the project I decided I wanted to explore the bigger picture of how AI is impacting our world, and specifically the creative world I dwell in.
Several, such as today’s will have short afterword videos where I’ll add some detail.
Today is launch day, so I decided I would start with the most basic question of all: Why?
The creative world is at a nexus. Artificial intelligence has now officially smashed into our world with a vengeance. A few months back that smashing came in the form of visual art generators like Midjourney, Dall-E, and Stable Diffusion. Today it’s the text generator ChatGPT.
AI engines had been around for a few years, of course. I wrote about them in this blog as far back as 2016. But relative to our world today, those systems were quaint. They were mostly disparaged, and no one paid them much mind. Now we’re talking about some real competition for eyeballs. The gloves are off.
Amid this gnashing of teeth comes Five Seven Five, a project I’ve undertaken specifically to see what art generators would do with work I wrote—in this case, haiku. As soon as I envisioned the project, my blood began to boil with interest. My mind went into overdrive. What would happen if I wrote haiku, then used them as prompts for one of the AI generators?
It was a fascinating project. It got me thinking a lot about what it meant to be an artist and about how the entire movement of AI influence was going to change the world. When I got to thinking, I began to see the project as a way to look at that broader world, for good and for evil and for all points between.
Which made me want to write.
So, as a companion to this project, For each day it runs, I’m planning to drop articles here that touch on the wide array of issues that surround the use of AI as it stands in our world. The topics will include the creative fields of writing, digital art, and music, but will go outside the pale to touch on other topics that might surprise you. Maybe twist your mind. Some of them twisted mine, anyway.
My personal religion when it comes to AI is mostly agnostic.
I’m not a zealot in its corner, nor am I particularly inclined to start wringing my hands about it. I touched on this in an earlier post here. I come neither to praise nor to bury my deep learning challenger. All I’ll say with certainty is that the inclusion of AI into the world will cause considerable change, and that I’m interested in dealing with that change.
In these posts, I’m sure you’ll find both optimism and darkness.
I figure I’ll learn a lot about how I feel about things, too. I won’t be surprised if my views change as I release and contemplate each post. That’s one of the reasons I write. I like to see how I feel about things. To process them and come out the other side feeling differently.
Which brings me to the answer to the question in the title of this post.
Why does this project exist?
It exists because the idea got me excited. It exists because the act of creating the haiku was fun. It exists because working those haiku through the art generator was a fascinating exercise—and I think seeing them together now carries a wide array of emotion—which is one of the key requirements of any art. Does it create a response?
Tomorrow I’ll begin digging deeper.
But today I’ll just say that I am a human being, and that this project was a great joy to compile. It still makes me happy to look at it.
Which is why I’m here today, writing about Five Seven Five.