OpenAI announced this week that they have trained an AI to take simple one-line briefs and generate corresponding illustrations and photo- realistic images. The results are stunning. But what are the implications for the creative industries and the creative people who work in it?

FIRST OF ALL, WHAT IS DALL·E AND WHAT CAN IT DO?

DALL·E is based on a previous OpenAI work around image completion. That system, called Image GPT, could take part of an image and generate the rest of it, pretty plausibly.

Which is fine, but falls into the parlour-trick end of AI. Impressive but ultimately pretty useless. …


Photo Tom Rickhuss/Unsplash

It’s that time of year again. The Christmas lights are being put up, Nigella is back on TV and the annual John Lewis ad has been launched.

Christmas is somehow more important this year, given the trials and tribulations of 2020. It’s certainly different to other years, with so much more riding on it.

So I was thinking, can an AI give us some clues about how to make it a good one?

Via the Philosopher AI app, anyone can now access GPT-3, the current state-of-the-art AI natural language generator.

So, I gave it the simple prompt: “how to have…


It was with real sadness that I heard the news today of the passing, aged 102, of Donald Zec — or as he was known in our house, ‘Uncle Donald’.

Uncle Donald was ever-present in the background of my childhood. His natural ability as a wit and raconteur as well as his own, very specific point of view on the world, made him a treat to be around. There was always a palpable excitement in the air when Uncle Donald, and his saintly, beautiful wife Frances, were due to visit.

Uncle Donald with us in the 1970s when we briefly lived in NY. (I’m the dude in the sunglasses)

A generation later and our own children warmed just as…


Photo: Larry Costales

A look at the rights around AI-generated faces and people

The rights issues that surround the use of AI to generate and animate people and faces are complex.

When you bring a still photo of someone to life using facial re-enactment, who’s copyright is that? The person whose face it is? The person who took the photo? The person/organisation who owns the rights to the photo? Or the people/organisation which brought it to life (so to speak)?

For example, Steven Wilson’s video for his new single, ‘SELF’ in which he ‘wears’ the faces of everyone from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Tom Cruise to Paul McCartney.


Joshua Sortino https://unsplash.com/@sortino

This is a summary of the presentation I gave at the Christmas edition of I’ll Be Back South West, a monthly forum for people who work in the AI/creativity/advertising/marketing space.

Many thanks to Kerry Harrison and Richard Norton for inviting me to speak. A video of the talk is also available here.

TL;DR: Erosion of trust, an AI skills shortage, machine learning taking over VFX, investment in data infrastructure, and the increasing merging of the physical and virtual.

First off, I should come clean and admit that I think predictions are (mostly) bullshit. You only have to look back at…


Images: Kerry Harrison

AI-powered technology doesn’t just have to be about refining existing processes, it can also be about creating new ideas and content

Last month I attended Faculty’s 17th Fellowship Demo Day. Young data scientists who are part of the fellowship programme get a few minutes each to walk through a project they have worked on as part of the fellowship.

It was fascinating to get a look inside 12 completely different projects where AI can have such a direct and meaningful impact.

The projects covered a range of activity, including:

  • Helping restaurants fine-tune their offering on Just Eat
  • Helping the Advertising…


WGSN’s offices near Piccadilly Circus

Men, I’ve got some fashion news for you. Over-shirts are on their way out, and cardigans are on their way in.

If you’re a menswear retailer or label, you should start reducing your investment in over-shirts and increasing your range of cardigans over the next 2 or 3 years..

I know this not because I’m particularly fashion forward or a maven of menswear. I mean, just look at me.

No, I know this because a machine told me so.

Even if you don’t know who WGSN are, you are almost certainly wearing clothes, using make-up, driving a car or living…


The 10 insights from Music Ally’s AI report on the use of AI in music creation

Three Musicians, 1921 by Pablo Picasso

I write frequently about how AI-powered technology is impacting the creative industries, so it was perhaps inevitable that I would eventually get to music.

Music is, in fact, one of the earliest forms of art to have been made by a machine. In 1958, a computer algorithm on a computer at the University of Illinois was used to compose The Illiac Suite, a string quartet in the Classical style.

Unfortunately, while doing my research, I came across Music Ally’s Nov 2019 reportAIs on…


Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash

For those who don’t know, Descript is a software tool which allows you to edit podcasts and other spoken word content much more easily than traditional audio editing applications.

Its main feature is that by using machine-learning, it converts the sound wave into a written transcript. This allows the user to edit the audio by editing the text. Pretty nifty.


Creation of adam, from Michaelangelo

TL;DR: The people challenge of introducing ‘AI’ into a business is often underestimated compared to the technology challenge. This is a guide to the human processes and pitfalls to consider when introducing and implementing AI-powered tech.

AI — it’s the big buzzword. Depending who you ask, it’s either going to save the faltering economy or it’s going to steal all our jobs. Or maybe both.

Certainly machines are doing some amazing things for businesses:

But…

Matthew Kershaw

Consultant, advising AI-powered businesses and those who want to use the power of AI — particularly in the creative industries https://bit.ly/MatthewKershaw

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