What Happens When You Ask Robots To Create Art?

A funny post from Astral Codex Ten: A Guide To Asking Robots To Design Stained Glass Windows

I love stained glass. Not so much your usual suburban house stained glass with a picture of lilies. The good stuff. Cathedral windows, Art Nouveau, Art Deco. Why did we stop doing that? I blame the conspiracy.

Recently I’ve been experimenting with small-scale alternatives. You can get custom-printed window film from these people. If you print out a picture of a stained glass scene and stick it on a window, it looks pretty realistic.

But what scenes to use? Most of the stained glass images you can find are saints, which isn’t really the mood I’m going for. What I’d really like is a giant twelve-part panel depicting the Virtues Of Rationality. But the artists I’ve asked to design this all balk. I need an artist who works for free and isn’t allowed to say no.

Enter DALL-E-2, the new art-generating AI. 

Click through and enjoy the somewhat peculiar results when the computer is asked to design a stained glass window showing Charles Darwin studying finches.

As usual for Scott, this is a long post that becomes quite thought-provoking.

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4 thoughts on “What Happens When You Ask Robots To Create Art?”

  1. Camille McAloney

    What a fascinating post! I actually really love the images with Darwin’s head on a finch’s body. Something about “embodying” one’s work, and embracing that humans are animals too–something people still push back on! I also really like the image of Alexandra Elbakyan with rainbow hair, even if it’s more cubist than stained glass-esque.

    I clicked through Scott’s post on “the conspiracy” as well. I’ve wondered the same thing about lack of ornamentation as well! At least as far as clothes go, I partially blame George Bryan “Beau” Brummell. He was a major influence in rejecting ornate clothes for sharply tailored, but boring, outfits. It started in Regency England and spread from there, unfortunately. I really do wish more clothes were exciting and fun! Lots of cool stuff to be had overall. Thanks for sharing!

  2. The name of that AI is extremely well chosen. No human would make those errors except deliberately. Also, I’d go with craftsman style for this topic, though art nouveau is my second pick.

  3. I … somehow did not notice the AIs name. I generally subvocalize, but didn’t this time, I guess.

    Camille, I deeply regret that we cannot have long coats that flare out at the hip and have a zillion buttons up the front and panels of ornate embroidery and all the trimmings.

  4. Camille McAloney

    I knew you’d understand! Honestly my love of ornate fashion is the only reason I watch the Met Gala every year.

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