AI: New Era in Art, Or the End of It?
1. AI Shakes Up the World of Art and Design
Over the last few months, several AI Image Generation tools have captured the public’s attention as accessible tools like Midjourney and DALL-E allow users to enter basic prompts to generate fascinating images like the below: (Times Square New York but in the 1500s as painted by Raphael).
While output from the likes of DALL-E, Midjourney, and most recently Stable Diffusion are no doubt impressive, they raise questions about the nature of creativity. Some artists even see these “tools” as an existential threat, especially as AI generated art begins taking home awards (like at the Colorado State Fair). The winning piece, Théâtre D’opéra Spatial, “took home the blue ribbon in the fair’s contest for emerging digital artists.”
And even if the worst fears of artists (that they’ll be fully replaced by AI) are overblown, there are still concerns around the datasets the AI tools use to produce the art. For example, Stable Diffusion’s dataset — which was legally scraped from the open internet —contains millions of artistic works. Is it ethical for those pieces to be reduced to data points used in the creation of new art?
In the quest for data, the image set used to train Stable Diffusion includes millions of pieces of art gathered from living artists without consultation with the artists, which raises profound ethical questions about authorship and copyright. Scraping the data appears lawful by US legal precedent, but one could argue that the law might be lagging behind rapidly evolving technology that upends previous assumptions about how public data might be utilized.
In the meantime, it won’t stop experimentation as projects like Deep Objects see AI as an exciting complement to the creative process:
2. PUMA Revives ‘Black Station’ as a Virtual World
"Twenty years ago, Black Station was PUMA's home for our most innovative designs in fashion," said Adam Petrick, PUMA's Chief Brand Officer. "Given the boundaries we are pushing from a product design and digital standpoint, we found it fitting to bring Black Station back as a new portal for digital exploration across fashion, sport performance, our heritage classics, and innovation."
Black Station can be accessed via internet browser (Blackstation.PUMA.com) allowing anyone with an internet connection to enter PUMA’s first metaverse experience which is a reveal for the exclusive NFRNO and Fasteroid shoes. These limited collections (2,000 each) are the first PUMA products to be conceptualized digitally-first and represent an experiment in product design philosophy.
The second activation in Black Station will be tied to the Futrograde Fashion Show occurring in New York tomorrow night which will pull elements of Black Station into the show and vice versa.
3. Are You Ready for the First Day of ‘Metaversity’?
COVID and the subsequent lockdowns have been cited by many as accelerator for trends in Work and Learn from Home. The ‘kick-start’ propelled Zoom to all time highs as it became synonymous with video conferencing.
Zuckerberg doesn’t think that seeing your peers’ faces on a screen, unable to make true eye contact, is at all a replacement for being in person. Developments in VR allow for a sense of ‘presence’ with others, in addition to allowing for some cool learning environments.
The University of Maryland Global Campus is one of them. The online-only school—which enrolls more than 45,000 undergraduates—doesn’t have any physical classrooms or student life spaces. Meta has sent the school dozens of headsets, free of charge. A selection of students in its introductory biology and astronomy courses—two of the five pilot courses this fall—will use them.
While this program is free, it won’t be forever.
"Meta has big plans to turn the metaverse—where the digital campuses ultimately live—into a money-making machine. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said the company hopes to have at least one billion users in the space in the next decade."
4. Blurred Lines: A Metaverse Reality Show
A new web series will attempt to channel the ‘The Real World, but in the metaverse. The R3al Metaverse brings NFT based characters from top projects like Bored Ape Yacht Club, Cool Cats, and Doodles together in a classic ‘90s reality TV format…simply living together.
Beyond the lack of human characters, the series has some other key differences from its predecessor. For one, it will take place largely through channels like TikTok.
The parent company, Invisible Universe, establishes its characters on social media first, with plans to extend them into books, movies, games, toys, NFTs, and more.
“We think that the next Woody and Buzz will be introduced to you on TikTok instead of on the big screen,” Biggio told Decrypt.
And in web3 fashion, fans will have the opportunity to impact the storylines themselves via ownership of an associated NFT collection. In fact, your NFT could make a cameo.
The R3al Metaverse is just the latest attempt on the part of web3 creators to disrupt traditional distribution models within the world of entertainment. From the Deadheads series, to Dan Harmon x FOX's Krapopolis, to Mila Kunis-backed Stoner Cats, many of these projects have buy-in from established Hollywood talent, but questions still remain -- such as: what happens when rights to a character is lost? See: Seth Green's stalled The White Tavern project (which was meant to featureBored Ape #8398 as the lead character until the NFT was lost in a phishing scam.)
In the end, however, perhaps the only question that matters is whether or not the quality of these shows is worth the hype. There’s already a glut of content as it is.
Check out the trailer for The R3al Metaverse here:
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