This Russian Firm’s Star Designer Is an AI—but No One Knew That for a Year

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Imagine discovering a new artist or designer—whether or not visible artwork, vogue, music, and even writing—and turning into a massive fan of her work. You comply with her on social media, eagerly anticipate new releases, and chat about her expertise with your mates. It’s not lengthy earlier than you wish to know extra about this inventive, inspiring individual, so that you begin doing a little analysis. It’s unusual, however there doesn’t appear to be any details about the artist’s previous on-line; you’ll be able to’t discover out the place she went to highschool or who her mentors have been.

After some extra digging, you discover out one thing completely surprising: the one that you love artist is definitely not a individual in any respect—she’s an AI.

Would you be amused? Annoyed? Baffled? Impressed? Probably some mixture of all these. If you wished to ask somebody who’s had this expertise, you might discuss to shoppers of the most important multidisciplinary design firm in Russia, Art.Lebedev Studio (I do know, the interval confused me at first too). The studio handed off an AI designer as human for greater than a yr, and nobody caught on.

They gave the AI a human-sounding identify—Nikolay Ironov—and it participated in additional than 20 completely different tasks that included designing model logos and constructing model identities. According to the studio’s web site, a number of of the logos the AI made attracted “considerable public interest, media attention, and discussion in online communities” attributable to their distinctive type.

So how did an AI study to create such buzz-worthy designs? It was skilled utilizing hand-drawn vector photos every related to a number of themes. To begin a new design, somebody enters a few phrases describing the shopper, comparable to what sort of items or companies they provide. The AI makes use of these phrases to search out related photos and generate varied starter designs, which then undergo one other collection of algorithms that “touch them up.” A human designer then selects the perfect choices to current to the shopper.

“These systems combined together provide users with the experience of instantly converting a client’s text brief into a corporate identity design pack archive. Within seconds,” said Sergey Kulinkovich, the studio’s artwork director. He added that shoppers preferred Nikolay Ironov’s work earlier than discovering out he was an AI (and preferred the media consideration their manufacturers acquired after Ironov’s identification was revealed much more).

Ironov joins a rising group of AI “artists” which can be beginning to elevate questions in regards to the nature of artwork and creativity. Where do inventive concepts come from? What makes a murals really nice? And when multiple individual is concerned in making artwork, who ought to own the copyright?

Art.Lebedev is much from the primary design studio to make use of synthetic intelligence; Mailchimp is using AI to let companies design multi-channel advertising campaigns with out human designers, and Adobe is advertising its new Sensei product as an AI design assistant.

While artwork made by algorithms might be distinctive and spectacular, although, there’s one caveat that’s necessary to bear in mind once we fear about human creativity being rendered out of date. Here’s the factor: AIs nonetheless depend upon individuals to not solely program them, however feed them a set of coaching knowledge on which their intelligence and output are based mostly. Depending on the scale and nature of an AI’s enter knowledge, its output will look fairly completely different from that of a comparable system, and a massive a part of the distinction will probably be because of the people who created and skilled the AIs.

Admittedly, Nikolay Ironov does outshine his human counterparts in a handful of how; because the studio’s web site factors out, he can deal with actual industrial duties successfully, he doesn’t sleep, get sick, or have “crippling creative blocks,” and he can full duties in a matter of seconds.

Given these superhuman capabilities, then, why even maintain human designers on employees? As detailed above, it will likely be a whereas earlier than inventive companies actually need to contemplate this query on a giant scale; for now, it nonetheless takes a hard-working inventive human to make a fast-producing inventive AI.

Image Credit: Art.Lebedev

By Vanessa Bates Ramirez

This article originally appeared on Singularity Hub, a publication of Singularity University.


Charlene is a Bay Area journalist who hails from the small community of Fresno. Drawing from her experience writing for her college paper, Charlene continues to advocate for free press and local journalism. She also volunteers in all the beach cleanups she can because she loves the water.