A conversation with OpenAI’s first artist in residence

Reben is OpenAI’s first artist in residence. Formally, the appointment began in January and lasts three months. However Reben’s relationship with the San Francisco–based mostly AI agency appears informal: “It’s slightly fuzzy, as a result of I’m the primary, and we’re figuring stuff out. I’m in all probability going to maintain working with them.”

Actually, Reben has been working with OpenAI for years already. 5 years in the past, he was invited to check out an early model of GPT-3 earlier than it was launched to the general public. “I received to mess around with that fairly a bit and made a number of artworks,” he says. “They had been fairly focused on seeing how I may use their methods in numerous methods. And I used to be like, cool, I’d like to strive one thing new, clearly. Again then I used to be principally making stuff with my very own fashions or utilizing web sites like Ganbreeder [a precursor of today’s generative image-making models].”

In 2008, Reben studied math and robotics at MIT’s Media Lab. There he helped create a cardboard robotic referred to as Boxie, which impressed the lovable robotic Baymax within the film Huge Hero 6. He’s now director of know-how and analysis at Stochastic Labs, a nonprofit incubator for artists and engineers in Berkeley, California. I spoke to Reben by way of Zoom about his work, the unresolved pressure between artwork and know-how, and the way forward for human creativity.

Our dialog has been edited for size and readability.

You’re focused on ways in which people and machines work together. As an AI artist, how would you describe what you do with know-how? Is it a device, a collaborator?

Firstly, I don’t name myself an AI artist. AI is just one other technological device. If one thing comes alongside after AI that pursuits me, I wouldn’t, like, say, “Oh, I’m solely an AI artist.”

Okay. However what’s it about these AI instruments? Why have you ever spent your profession taking part in round with this type of know-how?

My analysis on the Media Lab was all about social robotics, taking a look at how individuals and robots come collectively in numerous methods. One robotic [Boxie] was additionally a filmmaker. It principally interviewed individuals, and we discovered that the robotic was making individuals confide in it and inform it very deep tales. This was pre-Siri, or something like that. Lately individuals are accustomed to the thought of speaking to machines. So I’ve at all times been focused on how humanity and know-how co-evolve over time. You understand, we’re who we’re right now due to know-how.

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