AI is here and it’s not going away. You can either live in fear of what it might do, or learn to work with it and be more powerful in the process. Our first guest for this podcast chooses the latter. Galen Oakes is the new Creative Director at Future Factory, where he helps implement Web3 and AI across diverse initiatives within the startup’s ecosystem. In this conversation with Ron Levy, Galen treats us with an abundance of expert tips and tricks on how to create incredible custom AI art with Midjourney. He also shares his views on the direction that AI is going, how it is going to impact the world, and where to discover the coolest new AI tools to improve your life and work. Take your seat and get ready to take off!
- Galen Oakes is a self-taught artist with a passion for integrating AI into his artwork.
- Mid Journey is an AI art platform that allows users to generate unique and creative images.
- The Avatar NFT Collection created by Galen for Future Factory features otherworldly beings and characters.
- The framing and style of the artwork are important factors in creating a cohesive collection.
- Galen believes that AI can be a powerful tool for artists and encourages others to embrace its possibilities.
- “I want to focus on all the good that I can do instead of focusing on all the bad that might happen.”
- “AI is not going to replace you. People using AI will.”
Listen to the podcast here
Mastering Midjourney With Galen Oakes Of Future Factory
You are about to embark on another stellar show journey brought to you by the Edge Of Company, empowering the pioneers of Web3, Tech, and Culture. Responsible for groundbreaking endeavors like the Outer Edge LA innovation festival, and the Edge Of NFT Podcast, find out more at EdgeOf.xyz, EdgeOfNFT.com, and OuterEdgeLA.Live.
This is Galen Oakes, Creative Director at Future Factory, a groundbreaking membership experience that bridges the cutting edge of tech with community and wellness. I’m on the Edge Of AI, the show building your bridge to a meaningful life through AI.
Hello, AI passengers, jump on in. Here’s what’s to come on this episode’s journey. Find out an abundance of inside expert tips and tricks on how to create incredible custom AI art with Midjourney. Find out where our guest might transfer his consciousness in twenty years and find out where to discover the coolest new AI tools to improve your life and work. All this and more, take your seat.
Welcome aboard the Edge of AI show. Snap into your safety belt and prepare to explore the depths of the rapidly expanding AI universe. Each episode is a dispatch featuring hyper-relevant reports from the pilots, pioneers, and passengers aboard the AI rocketship. We explore the latest use cases and developments in AI, hear from experts building the tech, and learn how this disruptive force is transforming industries and society.
Welcome aboard, all. I’ll be your captain for this exhilarating voyage to the edge of AI. Just like most of you, I’ve embraced the spirit of exploration and entrepreneurship throughout my life. From starting my own business before graduating high school to traversing the world’s most challenging terrains, I’ve always sought out new frontiers and adventures. I’ve conquered legal battles and built award-winning homes, and now I lead a public company dedicated to pushing tech boundaries and unlocking our full potential. Together, we’re going to navigate uncharted territories within AI. The guiding star on this quest, it’s going to be to ask great questions. Buckle up and get ready to embark on an amazing adventure. Let’s set sail.
This episode features Galen Oakes, a visionary digital architect hailing from Northern California, seamlessly blending the realms of technology, humanity, and nature. From Bali to San Francisco, his vibrant creativity thrives within the profession built on passion. Galen’s exceptional talent in AI art expertise is in full display as a creative force behind Future Factory’s Avatar NFT Collection. Galen has been deep in ventures in photography, hemp, blockchain, and Web3. As a Creative Director at Future Factory, he helps implement Web3 in AI across diverse initiatives within the Future Factory ecosystem.
Future Factory itself is an extraordinary lifetime membership space, seamlessly fusing a nightclub, art galleries, a marketplace, yoga studio, and more. They’re combining physical with our wonderful Web3 world. This immersive and communal experience transcends boundaries and offers unparalleled access to lifetime benefits in cities like LA, San Francisco, Denver, and more. Galen, welcome to the show.
Thanks for having me, Ron.
We know Paul Hemming is the brainchild behind it, and it’s pretty amazing. We’ll jump into that a little bit later. Let’s start off with a little background. Tell us about your experience as an artist and your profession prior to integrating AI into your practice.
I’m an artist through and through. I never went to college or art school. Luckily, I had two incredible parents who were artists who always empowered me in finding my own way in the world. I got my first camera when I was sixteen years old as a birthday present, and I was into photography and graphic design. When I was twenty, I went to a junior college for a year in Chico. I got A’s and Incompletes. I did great in all of the classes that I liked, like advertising and film. The classes that I didn’t like, I didn’t go to. After a year of getting A’s and Incompletes, my father didn’t want to continue funding my college career.
I had saved up money to go to art school in Portland, and then that didn’t end up happening. All the money that I used to go to art school, I went to Bali with. I ended up taking photography at the very first Bali Spirit Music Festival. I offered my services as a trade and as a contribution to the festival. During that time, shooting at the festival, I met all these incredible artists from all around the world. In meeting those artists, it inspired me that I could make a living as an artist. That’s what I decided to do.
I came back from Bali, moved to San Francisco, bought a DSLR camera and a laptop with a credit card, and started going around to all these different venues taking photos for free. One of the nights that I was at a venue was Temple Nightclub. I was taking photos of these incredible body artists that were airbrushing people’s faces. Jennie Dozier, the Marketing Director of Temple, came down and got her face painted, and I took a really incredible portrait of her. She then offered me a job taking photos at Temple.
That ultimately turned into me becoming the Media Director of Temple Nightclub and forming Temple TV, which was a website that I built. The website featured videos that I would shoot during the week of artist features. This was the origin of Mirus Gallery, a company that Paul brought to fruition in 2012. I would do artist features of artists he liked. I would do nightclub recaps. I went to Burning Man with them. I had a lot of fun creating content for Temple. After Temple, I started a company called Manifest Media, which was a production company that focused on after-movies for festivals.
The 5D Mark II was the camera that I had at the time. It revolutionized media. Before then, it was hard to take video and that small DSLR that Canon came out with made digital video a lot more accessible for everyone. At the time that I was doing festival recaps, there wasn’t anyone doing videos, so I created a niche. I built Manifest Media up to a point where video was a lot more prevalent in the industry, so then I switched back over to photography and did artist portraits.
I then created a company called Dope Creative, which was a company doing content for cannabis companies. It was a creative agency for cannabis content. I built that up for four years. As I was doing all this media stuff, I’ve been involved in startups. I was involved in a music startup called Unvael. I was a Cofounder of a startup called Opencall, which was an app to connect photographers, brands, makeup artists, and stylists for photoshoots. We had some incredible product designers build it. They worked for Instagram. We had Apple and Instagram designers building this product. We went to market, we didn’t have enough money for marketing, so eventually that product fell flat. I do want to bring that product back at some point.
I was always an artist with a passion for entrepreneurship. To this day, my main focus is Future Factory and being a creative director there. I’m also a partner of a new DAO that’s launching called ARCC, which is going to be planting hemp in Thailand, sequestering carbon from the atmosphere, and distributing the carbon credits that we’re generating from the sequestering of the carbon to our DAO. There are a lot of different things. I’m a very multifaceted person. It’s hard to break down everything that I do, but my main focus now is working with Paul as a Creative Director of Future Factory. Paul hired me to be in that position because of my experience working with launching NFT projects and integrating AI into artwork.
You’re covering a lot of ground, and that’s phenomenal. It’s simply amazing. What you did is you defined a complex life. You don’t sit still, you’re always looking at what’s next, and you just covered a lot of ground, which is phenomenal. I want to take and back up a little bit because, in your heart, you’re an artist. You are that. You’ve proven that. What you do is very unique.
It is the fact that you grew up in Northern California and it was rural, and then the fact that the time you spent in Bali being very inspirational. Bali, as most of us know, when it comes to nature and rural, it’s spectacularly gorgeous. As is Northern California. I feel like we’d be remiss if we didn’t focus on that as a foundational route of the art that you create now. Am I off base by saying that, or is there anything you want to add around that?
No, not at all. My father is a big part of who I am now. His name is Baile Oakes. He has a sculpture in Santa Monica that marks the winter solstice. In the mid to late ‘80s, he was a very popular artist. He was being funded by a lot of entrepreneurs during that dot-com boom before the bubble burst. He had a studio in Downtown Los Angeles on Mateo Street in the Arts District before it was the trendy Arts District. He had parties with members of the Philharmonic playing music and Taiko drummers. I was born in this kind of world.
He ultimately moved to Northern California to raise us because he didn’t want to raise us in the city. He instilled in me this idea of the natural world, how we’re all a part of it, and how incredible it is. He created a book called Sculpting with the Environment which was all these artists around the world that were integrating art and using art as inspiration and showing humanity how we’re all connected and we’re all one. He did projects to raise awareness for global warming, the impact that it’s going to have, and all these things.
My father instilled in me that love for the natural world and our job in communicating how integral and important it is to our success as humanity living in coexistence with everything. That was a big part of my upbringing and something that I still bring into my life every day. What drives me the most is to inspire people to connect with themselves, heal themselves, connect with each other, heal each other, and then ultimately the world, because it all starts from within. If we can’t come to peace and love ourselves, then we can’t do anything.
You hit two belief systems of mine. That is, in the world now, at least in the first world and what we do, a lot of people spend a lot of time in front of their laptops, on computers, and social media. We all know this. The majority of their time is spent sedentary in that environment. I believe that one needs to get in touch with the world around them in nature with the electronics turned off. Those are two different things. When you do get out into nature, whether it’s hiking or doing something out there, maybe doing something with your hands, there’s a part of you that’s being built up by doing that.
If you only did that and didn’t do the tech, you’re not going to be able to take part in a lot of the adventures that are coming in these next decades. If you only do the tech, you’re going to be missing out on a piece that probably can build you in a more substantial way. They’re both very important. What you’ve shown through this intro is you have a great balance of both. Unfortunately, it’s not as common as it should be. I want to point it out. It’s a really important factor, I believe, in where you’re going.
Through your journey of these different businesses and different things you did, the marketplace that you described about photographers and makeup artists and bringing them together, you said you want to come back to that. By the way, it’s fantastic. When you come back to it with what you’re doing in AI, I’m going to imagine that AI will be part of it. It will be the next-gen of your original idea. To me, that is life. We do a lot of things and, over time, they all come back and come together based on your newer experiences. Those are some point-outs on a pat on the back for your active life in both the nature side as well as the tech side. It’s going to pay off well.
Let’s jump over to how you discovered Midjourney and what drew you to using AI as a tool for artistic expression. In a lot of people’s worlds, not necessarily people who even read this, but in typical worlds, they seem contradictory. You use AI as a tool for artistic expression. I know there’s a personal story there. Feel free if you can to go ahead and share that.If we can't come to peace and love ourselves, then we can't do anything. Click To Tweet
Growing up in a rural part of Northern California, I grew up in a town called Westport. Our address was right off Highway 1. I grew up at a point where the closest village, Westport, had one building. It was a post office, market, and gas station. It was a small population. I grew up in a very rural area. We didn’t have TV. I finally got access to media with a 56K modem. The internet and technology were the ways that I was able to explore the world without being in a place that was culturally rich, like a metropolitan place like San Francisco, Los Angeles, or other places. I spent a lot of time at home because of where I was located. My love and desire to learn more about the world, I dove deep into that.
Also, I want to give kudos to Mendocino High School. They had an incredible technology program. The person who taught me Final Cut Pro actually wrote the manual on Final Cut Pro. We were very lucky to have a very advanced tech lab. I was installing Modchips in Xboxes to play burned games, build websites, and make movies. The Mendocino High School and its tech lab were incredibly well done. The resources and teachers we had were a big part of my development in the art and technology space, for sure.
I first learned about AI with Google DeepDream, those very psychedelic images that were lots of eyes looking out, and it was psychedelic and weird. That was my first experience with AI art. That was a couple of years ago. I then learned about deepfake, and there were people who were cloning people’s presence and being able to emulate different faces and sounds. DALL-E was the first AI image generator that I learned about. I got on the waitlist for that, and then someone told me about Midjourney. I was like, “This is crazy.” I went on Midjourney on the same day I discovered Midjourney. I was able to log into Discord and start generating images.
At the time, I was going through a pretty hard time. I’ve been emotionally closed off for most of my life. I finally let love in and had an incredible connection with a woman, and then that ended. I was left with this confusion and pain. This happened right around the time of discovering Midjourney. People medicate in different ways, and I have always medicated in my life through working and creating. That’s the way that I transmute everything that I’ve been going on. I’m lucky to have been able to take a lot of the hardship in my life and turn destruction into creation ultimately.
In July, I was very hurt, confused, and lost. I took all of that confusion and looked for possibilities in creating new worlds, new beings, new environments, and spaces with Midjourney. To date, I’ve created 54,000 images which translates to around 880 hours of time on Midjourney. I was pretty obsessed with Midjourney. It was my outlet. My time spent ultimately turned into something incredible because I was able to create art that sell.
Brock Pierce auctioned off my first piece of AI art for the Rainbow Lightning Burning Man camp fundraiser. That was cool. Brock Pierce has always been an inspiration for me in the blockchain space. I’ve had my art featured. I was part of an Open Tree Accelerator that the most famous artist, Maddie Mo, put together. Ultimately now, Paul has seen what I created over the last 6 to 8 months and turned into me being the Creator of the NFT avatars for Future Factory.
That’s a great dovetail because what Paul’s done at Future Factory is fantastic. For those of you who want to keep up on what’s going on in the world of AI and all this Web3 tech that’s going on, there’s a lot to get from the Future Factory, and it’s amazing. With the Avatar NFT collection that you’ve done, give a little insight into how your efforts to create cohesive art across 10,000 images panned out. Let’s go to some visuals and have a look at that if we can.
This is Midjourney. When you first go to Midjourney’s website, they direct you to their Discord, and they tell you to start going into these newbie rooms. When you’re in these newbie rooms, it’s just like an open forum where all these people are co-creating together in one channel. When I first got it, I was like, “This is crazy.” You type forward slash, you hit Imagine, and then you can be a person having a Zoom meeting in a living room. I didn’t add any other prompts to that, but we can see what happens with that. When I type that, you can see that other people are creating different types of things right here. There’s a painting of a profile face by Ivana Viskovic. You can reference different artists and styles. These are different people creating all this live.
That’s great. You can see those images from all these other users and you can see their prompts as well.
Exactly. Here’s a person having a Zoom meeting in the living room. With very little direction, that’s what it puts out. If I wanted to make this one bigger, I would hit U1, or if I wanted to get a variation of that, I would do V1. Each of these is an upscale. The number correlates to the number that’s in the grid, and it’s a variation. If I didn’t like any of them, I would hit that refresh, and then I would create a different one down here. When I first got into Midjourney, this is where I was. I was in this newbie’s thing. It was hard to find my artwork and it was messy. I then discovered that you can click on the right-hand side of the Midjourney bot, and you can do message. When you message it, you’re in your own private channel, so there’s nothing else to see in this channel except for what you’re talking to with the bot.
The one thing I would like is if you could create albums of artwork in Discord because I’ve tried to search keywords that I’ve used in the past for things, and it doesn’t do a good job of searching the entire conversation. I’ve created artwork, and then tried to recreate the artwork and forgot some of the prompts. I went into the search to try and find the prompt that I used to create it, and it wasn’t there, so I decided to make a prompt library. On notes, I have every piece of artwork that I’ve created. Above it, it will say the prompt.
I’m going to interject real quick here for the audience. We may have people here who have spent countless hours on Midjourney and they already know a lot of this. If you’re newer to it, these little things like the library for your own prompts and keeping notes about them, what worked, what didn’t, and what the outcomes are, this is the type of thing that instead of figuring that out when you’re hundreds of hours in, do it from the beginning. You just heard from the master. You do it from the beginning and it will save you a ton of time and get you leapfrogging very quickly.
There are probably more resources now than this.
This is typical. All our whole Web3 world, the blockchain world, the crypto world, we all know that you can nail it down one week and the next week it’s all different. That’s the fun of the journey.
This is interesting. This is a Midjourney artist spreadsheet that someone put together. This is from version three, so it’s a bit outdated now since Midjourney’s on version five. At the beginning of Midjourney, they trained these machines with libraries and catalogs of pre-existing art that was available online. They tapped into Deviant Art and a lot of other databases. This is a spreadsheet that breaks down each artist and if they’re artist-style trained. If you like any of these styles, for instance, you can reference this. It’s not loading the whole thing right now, but you get the idea. This is a big part of how they were training AI. There were people on Discord who would be referencing different artist styles to create artwork in that style.
When going through Discord and creating artwork, I realized that there were pieces that I had created that were too archived in my message channel with the Midjourney bot that I wasn’t able to figure out what prompts I was using to create the images. On Apple Notes, I created a document that lists out all of the different prompts that I would do. Every single time that I would generate a piece of artwork, I would save the initial of those pieces, and then above that, write the prompt. I could then go back in time, and if I decided I wanted to do something similar to that again, have a very easy reference where I could have a database to see which prompts created which images visually.
That seems critically important because it’s just your own personal catalog. That’s how your art builds off of the last one as you come up with new ideas and concepts. These images you’re showing us as you’re scrolling through are pretty much amazing. They’re fictional creatures, people, aliens, however you want to describe them. Not very long ago, Hollywood would’ve paid a fortune for someone to draw this up. Here you are able to do it and refine it in such a way that’s amazing.
Maybe some insights on shaping the creative process with Midjourney. You certainly covered a fair bit of it. Specifically, what prompts and techniques do you use? You’ve created a beautifully integrated, large, but also very cohesive collection, and that in itself is an art form. How do these have a consistent character to create more of a collection instead of just random images?
The creation of these avatars stems from Paul’s vision to create otherworldly beings for the membership of Future Factory. I came on as a consultant for three months to work with Paul on creating this new Web3 layer of Future Factory. The initial plan with the avatars was to use Midjourney to generate concept art that a 3D animator would go in, take, and turn into an actual 3D object. Realizing that Paul wanted to create so many of them, we realized that it was going to be too time-consuming and costly to generate thousands of 101 3D characters. We decided to lean into Midjourney to generate all of these artworks.
Paul liked the PFP style of having the head framed up, head and shoulders, and wanted to create a bunch of different characters. I would sit with Paul and he would talk and share ideas for all these different beings, characters, and deities. I would take notes on all of the different things that he was talking about. On my time alone, I would generate iterations of these archetypes that he had communicated to me.
In order to create a cohesive style across the collection, the first thing that I needed to define was the framing. When you’re a director or a photographer, the first thing that you decide to do when creating an image is decide what lens you’re going to use. You put on a wide angle because you want to get a wide frame. You put on a telephoto lens because you want to get a tight frame. I’m coming at this from a photographer, DP standpoint. The first prompt in my mind should be defining the frame in which you want to have your character or your scene appear.
The first frame that I use for all of the characters in this collection is 50 millimeters. You can use other prompts to define the scene and how wide it is. You can do expansive landscapes, widescreen, or portrait. You can use different lens styles. Whatever, in your mind, works best to define that space of area that you want to capture with Midjourney should be your first prompt.
My first prompt was 50 millimeters. It was a cool prompt to use because as you can see in one of the images here, it’s a portrait of a woman wearing a space helmet, she’s blue, very futuristic. In the background, there’s a desert landscape, but it’s out of focus. You can tell that it’s emulating what a 50-millimeter would do in real life, which is cool. That was the first prompt I used.
That’s your photography background, coming back to interject to help you with what’s going on here and guide a machine. I love that.
Yes, exactly. Defining the framing was very important, so I did that in the beginning with 50 millimeters. The other most important prompt that I used in creating these pieces was OctaneRender. OctaneRender was a prompt that I borrowed from seeing what prompts other people were using in the Midjourney Discord. There were a few more advanced channels that I poked around in that were doing characters and scenes. OctaneRender seemed to be a very popular prompt that people were using to define the visual style of the pieces. As you can see with this image, you can see the definition of the character in the foreground and the background blurred out in the background, like a 50 millimeter lens would emulate. This is a good example of 50 millimeter done well.
For those of you who might be reading and not be able to see the screen depending on what format you’re reading, they’re pretty powerful images. It is exactly that. The backgrounds are very blurred like you get with a typical physical camera. The images themselves are lit spectacularly.
You can get into very specific styles of lighting and different things like that, but with the prompts, I focused more on the character sets than the actual lighting and things of the characters because I wanted the characters to have more variation. If you’re looking to create a broad scope of characters, it’s good to find a balance of doing something that is defined, but not so defined so that everything doesn’t look the same when you’re creating it.
That’s a collection answer. That’s how you’re getting to a collection.
For this prompt that you’re looking at right here, it’s this space age. The prompt says it all. It’s a future retro, 1970s futuristic style, psychedelic Burning Man, alien beings, vibrant color, futuristic, artistic, creative outfits, minimal background, plus OctaneRender. That’s the prompt used for creating these otherworldly Burning Man beings that are incredibly fashionable with face paint masks, headdresses, and psychedelic cool space outfits.
We can see four now. Each one of them is different than one another, the different helmets, the different faces. They are very different from one another, yet there is a foundation of similarities.
I did some geishas, space cats, some Aztec chief warriors, some psychedelic priests, and some Dia de los Muertos artistic skulls. In the beginning, I wasn’t defining the background. I was just using 50 millimeters in the front, head and shoulders facing front, some different prompts, and then OctaneRender. Towards the end of building the collection out, Paul realized that he liked having a more minimal background for the avatars because it brought more focus into the avatars and also was more similar to the PFP collections, which don’t have scenes in the backgrounds. They’re all minimal colors.
Toward the end of the collection, I started integrating a gradient color background in the back. By adding that gradient color background, it took the subject and I took it out of an environment and put colors behind it. It’s a cool example of how you can start to add cohesion by framing it, the style, and having all of them have a colored background. These are all cool tips and tricks to create a cohesive collection.
Another good lesson for some of you newbies or newer people in it is to think collection. I think Galen’s points here are golden. You’re able to take hundreds of hours of work that he’s done and take some of the bigger points out of it. It’s pretty fantastic. First of all, thanks for sharing your techniques with us. It’s been amazing to see the demo, so that’s great. What advice do you have for individuals who are just getting started with Midjourney or even AI art in general? Do you have any specific tips or recommendations for exploring and experimenting on the platform? You can almost do it like you’re talking to your former self. If you could go back and talk to yourself when you were started, what advice could you share that would shortcut the process?
The first hack is, if you want to take it seriously, don’t skimp on the monthly subscription. I would go pro from Git. I started with the standard and ended up spending $300 a month on buying more fast hours because I was nonstop on my computer all day long. Designing things on Midjourney was the main thing that I did from July to March 2023.
I discovered Midjourney at the beginning of July 2020. From July 2020 to January 2021, I was nonstop on that. I then started working with Paul in January on the futurist collection. We did the entire futurist collection from January to March. In January, there was no futurist done. I don’t think I even started until mid-January on them. At the end of March, we did a soft launch at Future Factory with the website live with 1,111 unique generated images that were avatars that were the membership.
Getting the pro plan from the get-go is super important. If you want to take it seriously, you’ll have to spend less money buying fast hours. The initial investment of $60 a month is good. Another great thing about the pro plan is if you plan on doing anything commercial, you need to have the pro plan because it gives you the right to use them commercially for whatever you want.
When I first discovered Midjourney, they were asking for a percent of sales. If you were selling more than $20,000 a month, they were asking for 10%. If you were over $1 million a year, they’re asking for 20% of your sales. Don’t quote me on this. This is my own speculation, but I feel like they stopped asking for a royalty because they weren’t able to give royalties to any of the artists that they were using to train the machine. I feel like it was unfair for them to charge a royalty when they weren’t paying out royalties themselves to the people who helped them build the algorithm that creates all these incredible images.
That’s going on in the industry. There are presently some litigations around that subject and some warning letters that have gone out. They are now selling a product. If they train that product on someone else’s information, that creates a legal battle. Those things are going on, and that’s fascinating stuff because it’s such a nascent industry.
I can understand the frustration of artists. People are probably replicating people’s artwork, selling them, and making money off of it. I say to all artists that you are the true visionaries, and everyone else that’s stealing or borrowing your style is borrowing your style. You can still create original things because ultimately, you’re the visionary. With creatives, if they embrace the possibilities that lie in AI, they can create far more. For me, for instance, as an artist, I love artificial intelligence because I’m able to radically express and create everything in my mind faster than I could have ever imagined. It’s helped me elevate and expedite what I’ve wanted to create in the world.
Another cool thing if you’re into AI is Midjourney has a magazine, and it’s $5 a month. In it, you can explore all these different incredible images. It’s cool because they include the prompt at the bottom of everything. You can see the image and the prompt that was used to create the image, so it’s cool curated. They have food. When I first discovered Midjourney, I was creating fashion designs. I was designing homes and jewelry. I’m an artist and I’ve always wanted to create all these different things, and I was able to create everything that I wanted in minutes.
I love that Midjourney’s putting out a physical magazine. It’s bringing the physical to our Web3, which segues into what’s to come with all this. There’s a lot of fears around AI. People can narrate different fears that they’ve got, and there are a lot of them that are founded. They make a lot of sense, but I would like to put them in the word of caution more than fear. How do we address that moving forward? Are you afraid of AI in any way? If so, what advice do you have for addressing these fears and the challenges that AI can bring?
I like to rephrase any fear as excitement. I’m a big believer in the Law of Attraction. What you think, what you speak, and what you create ultimately manifests and creates the world that we all co-inhabit. I don’t like to fear anything. I like to restructure any feelings that I have towards what’s happening in the world and look at it in all of the possibilities that could be constructive and beneficial to humanity. I know that there are a lot of people who fear it because it is going to expedite a lot of the already pre-existing human conditions that aren’t ideal.
For me, I want to create the possibility with AI and the right intention behind it with training it, because now we’re training it. We need to put as much positivity and intention into what we’re creating with it and what is learning about us because it’s all input. We need to continue to output the best that humanity has to offer so that that intention can go into the creation of this new thing that we’re seeing in life now.
That is an absolute fascinating perspective. It’s so true because we’ve heard it outside of tech. We’ve heard that your intentions become a magnet. It’s a magnet for negative intentions or things you’re voicing or positive. We’ve heard that a long time, but in fact, that’s a fact within AI. AI is learning from everything it’s doing and we’re doing. What you said is powerful. Be careful what we’re putting out there and what we’re putting in there, and it will make a big difference as AI itself grows and the tools of AI that we’re all using.
With everything in the world, you can be fearful of it. There are a lot of things to be afraid of outside of AI itself. We’re living in an exciting time and we’ve been living in a very exciting time for some time. I want to focus on all the good that I can do in the world versus focusing on all the things that could happen that wouldn’t be ideal for me or the rest of the world.There are a lot of things to be afraid of outside of AI. We’re living in a very exciting time. We must focus on the good that we can do instead of the things that could happen. Click To Tweet
It makes a lot of sense. Dovetail a little bit, what is next for you? What kind of projects are you developing now, and what are the planned outcomes for those projects?
I have a lot of things that I want to create in the world. One of the things that I have on the back burner now is a product to help adolescents and adults process what’s happening and find peace with themselves through technology and a product. I have a hemp venture that I’ve been working on that hopefully will help to replace petroleum-based plastics and create new building materials such as Hempcrete.
As in my life, I have my main focus, and then I have other things that are going to be there and maybe now’s not the right time. The right time for me and what I’m creating now is everything that we’re doing at Future Factory. Paul is an incredible visionary and one of the best humans that I’ve ever met. I’ve met a lot of people. I value his integrity, his heart, what he is looking to create, and what he has been creating for the last couple of years with Future Factory. I’m incredibly excited to be working with an organization that is acting as a bridge to onboard people to Web3, to onboard people from nightlife to wellness, from wellness to art, to technology, to co-working. We’re bridging a lot of different worlds with what Future Factory is, and that’s what I’m most excited about now.
This is decentralization at its best. The world is changing like a snowball. It’s just going faster and bigger as the years have gone on. In our industry, I would say as the hours go by, that’s how quickly it happens. That’s the magic about Future Factory. This is going to sound like a plug, I don’t mean it. What I mean to say about it is, in days gone by, there was a big company or a big organization that you couldn’t get into and you couldn’t get access to when they were designing our future and what we’d receive. We weren’t part of the conversation.
When you take something like Future Factory, you get all these like-minded people engaging in blockchain, Web3, crypto, and certainly AI and the NFTs. All those things merge at different times in different ways. To take that and have the physical world or a physical place in these major cities now and growing, to combine all that and be around like-minded people, I know for sure that relationships are being made now from people that are just getting in and are curious that moving a few years down the road, those relationships will be working together and creating amazing things.
That’s what makes this an incredibly wonderful time. It is to have a place where you can get a lifetime membership or two and participate in the growth. As you said it, you said it well, AI is, in large part, what we’re putting into it. It’s learning off of that. It’s just critically important. Look what you’re doing with it. Through Future Factory, they’ve got an amazing artist who has many disciplines and has put them there. It’s phenomenal.
Thank you. We’re living in exciting times. Paul and all the people that we’ve been meeting through Future Factory give me a lot of hope for the future and what we can co-create together.
Let’s move on to segment two. It’s time for AI Wants to Know. AI is curious, just as everybody reading here is, and certainly we are. These are ten quick questions. They’re designed to uncover mysteries that AI longs to comprehend but can’t quite grasp yet. Think of it as a snack break on our journey. Keep the answers quick, but the safety belt sign, that’s off. Let’s explore more of who you are and what makes you tick. What’s the first thing you ever remember being proud of?
I was getting the most improved player in soccer when I was a sophomore in high school.
That’s a great one, by the way, back to being outdoors and being active. What do you need help with that you wish you didn’t?
Getting billionaires to pay taxes and put all the money into changing the world, we could have a completely different world if we were different about how we manage money and how we allocate funds and resources to people.
What do others often look to you for help with?
Tech support, creativity, and advice. I’m going to plug myself right here. I have a website. It’s Inpower.Guru. I have open 2 15-minute slots 5 days a week, Monday through Friday for free advice and consultation. If you’d like to ask me any questions for fifteen minutes, Inpower.Guru is a website where I have Calendly set up and you can schedule an appointment with me.
That’s amazing. Well done. To answer what others look for help, Midjourney’s got to be on there as well. What do you treasure most about your human abilities?
Perfect answer. Throughout your whole life, what is the most consistent thing about you?
Passion, persistence, and kindness.
What a beautiful list. Throughout your whole life, what has changed the most?
I assume you mean that has grown.
What do you find strangest about reality?
That we could be living in a space that goes on forever. The idea of having no limits on something is quite a thing to comprehend. Also, the fact that, at some point, we’re going to realize that there’s no separation of binary and what we are. We’re protons and electrons, pluses and minuses, 1s and 0s, essentially. I’m excited to see what the future brings and AI is going to be a bridge to discover a whole new layer of our existence.We could be living in a space that goes on forever. It’s exciting to see what the future brings. AI is going to be a bridge to discover a whole new layer of our existence. Click To Tweet
When, most recently, do you remember feeling the most alive?
Falling in love with this woman that I moved into my house after only knowing her for six weeks.
What’s your most unique trait?
My ability to adapt. I’m a very resourceful person that can evolve quickly.
Which is needed when you’re in an industry and a passion that evolves quickly. If you weren’t human, what would you be?
If I wasn’t human, I’d probably be a synthetic organic android with my consciousness that’s been transferred over to it in twenty years.
Based on that, I’m going to throw out a bonus question. Let’s say you never touched a computer, you never lived in the internet world, the computer world, or any of that. You were in Northern California in a very natural setting, growing up in nature, going to that wonderful high school you mentioned. What would you have done with your life there if there was no computer connectivity?
There you go. You didn’t hesitate. I love that. It’s cool.
That’s a big part of Northern California. For a lot of my friends, family, and extended family, that’s just the culture up there. It’s changed a lot now when commercial grows because a lot of the commercial grows are pricing the smaller mom-and-pop operations out because they can’t compete with the scale that these other people are growing at. It’s affecting a lot of people who had their livelihood depend on it for so many years and built the industry.
We’re going to head to segment three now, AI leaders and influences. This is a tough one. This is a brand-new industry. There are certainly some individuals who stand out and people recognize names. When you look at the 800-plus hours you’ve spent, sometimes we’re not watching others. I’ll spare the name, but it’s a famous comedian that I was speaking with that I know. I asked him what he thought of different comedians, and he specifically said he doesn’t listen to any. I said, “Why is that?” He said he didn’t want it to influence his own art.
We would think it would be the opposite, but that was an interesting answer. There’s a lot of power there. Are there any leaders that you notice in the world of AI that you would look at a long-form interview like this where you’d like to pick their brains on and get some real deeper understanding of them and what makes them tick? Does anybody come to mind?
To mention a note of what you communicated, I don’t think Prince listened to anyone else’s music either. A lot of artists put themselves inside their own vacuum so that they could be more intentional with what they were creating. At the beginning of my process, I was on Midjourney for a little bit going through different channels but then decided to do my own thing in my own way and not look to other people for inspiration. Because I didn’t go to art school either, it allowed me to shape a very unique and distinct perspective on the world with my art.
To your question of what other leaders and influencers are in this space, I would say the most prevalent artist that I saw first was Refik Anadol with the art that he was doing. He was the first AI artist that I saw at Art Basel a few years ago. He had this incredible square screen right on the beach. I saw a photo of it, and I thought it was fake. I thought it was a fake photo because it looked computer-generated. It was this huge square screen on the beach. There were no wires. There was like a sunset behind it. I was like, “This is so cool.” I guess they set up a truss and then had an LED screen, and then ran cables under the sand, but it was cool.
Nvidia is an incredibly important part of AI with the processors and chips that it’s creating. If you bought Nvidia even in October 2022, good job. It’s gone up a lot. I was telling friends to check it out before it popped off. OpenAI is the best chat generator in the space. I’ve tried a lot of them, Bard, etc. Pay for the subscription to have access to version four. It’s way better if you want to use it seriously. Spend the money. You’ll save a lot of time and it’s worth it.
Midjourney is an incredible resource. They have different versions. Version five is almost too photorealistic for me. It’s crazy. You could create a portrait that looks exactly like someone with beads of sweat off their face. I like version 4 and even version 3 sometimes, depending on what I’m going for because of the different styles it can create. Version 3 and 4, you can do more painting-type styles. If you’re looking to do stuff more abstract, version 4 gets more realistic, and then version 5 is just ridiculous. It’s crazy what it can do now.
Through Future Factory, we’ve met a lot of incredible people, including Todd Terrazas. He’s the President of Artificial Intelligence, Los Angeles, AI LA. He’s doing a lot of incredible events, educating people about all the different possibilities of AI in Hollywood and beyond. We met him and we’re going to be doing some events with him. He’s a futurist. He’d be a good person to get on the platform. He’s based in LA.
It’s a great list. I want to throw in there that the great thing about our industry is it’s not a winner-take-all. There are all kinds of opportunities and things that are coming to be. As people develop in the niches for exact uses, that AI platform and this one, it might be built on some of the existing ones we know now, but it’s almost like apps on the iPhone. They just keep populating. The more they do that, the more Nvidia should stay busy and improve their chips because the growth is exponential. It’s incredible to watch. You could be using one of these platforms that you love and next week another one comes out and it fits you even more so. That’s why we need to stay close informational-wise with each other and grow with this industry. It’s @ToddTerrazas. That’s his Twitter handle.
His website is JoinAI.LA.
Let’s head on to segment four now and an AI resource list. This is where you can share a handful of your favorite resources in AI. I know that we’ve asked you to and you have prepared a few ideas, so please go ahead and tell us about them.
There’s one that’s great. It’s called AITools.com. It’s a website that categorizes pretty much everything out there. AITools.com is a great place to discover tools. On Twitter, just hashtag AI. There are a lot of incredible pages that you can follow. I need to get better at using Twitter. I am more about Instagram, so I follow a lot of tech and AI pages on Instagram. If you go to the top right of the profile and click the button, you can favorite it or star it. When you star it, those pages will populate your home screen. On my feed is a lot of incredible resources about new tools and technologies that are emerging with AI.
I discovered Tweet Hunter. It’s a tool that uses AI to help you structure copy for tweets, and you can also schedule them. You can generate tweets, and then schedule them at different times throughout the week. If you want to have a foundation of tweets that are going to be populating your feed consistently, you can do that. You can at least have that foundation, and then you can pepper in your own organic tweets on top of that, but at least there will be something living there all the time that you won’t have to worry about. That’s a great tool that I just discovered.
Runway is another incredible tool. You can generate three-second videos from the text. If you have a video already to use as a prompt, it will generate a fifteen-second video. That technology’s only going to get better. There are so many things happening, it’s hard to keep up with all of them. We’re creating, with the help of this incredible coder named Joshua, a dashboard that pulls in a lot of different tools that we’re using to automate the backend of Temple and the organization so that we can have a bird’s eye view scope of everything and be able to see everything one place from influencers to how influencer contents with ROI is on that, where ticket sales are, and where marketing ads are going. We’re looking to optimize everything that we’re doing with AI. It’s a very exciting time.
To everyone afraid of AI, unfortunately, it’s here to stay. My advice to you would be to educate yourself and start learning how to use it. AI is not going to replace you. People using AI will. That’s the hard facts. I want to create the possibility that AI can come in and take care of all the tedious infrastructure of powering our society. Through those jobs that AI’s replacing, we’ll be able to create a universal income that will be able to pay everyone a living wage and we can have a comfortable life. That’s the possibility that I’m creating out in the world, but we’ll see what happens.AI is not going to replace you. People using AI will. Educate yourself and start learning how to use it. Click To Tweet
You have given a great example, and maybe you can repeat it here. I thought it was good. Now, it’s June of 2023 and there’s a writer’s strike going on in the entertainment industry in Hollywood. You said something that I found fascinating. You talked about what perspective writers might consider having because a lot of the strike is about putting some reigns around AI and its usage. I’ll try and paraphrase, but you’ll be able to say it a lot better. What you said was, instead of trying to protect that, it might be more powerful for the writers to learn how to get 1,000 times more productive by utilizing it.
Through doing Inpower.Guru and giving fifteen minutes of knowledge to people, I’ve gotten some side consulting gigs with one producer in Hollywood who came to me because he knew nothing about AI. I sat down with him for about an hour and a half and completely blew his mind. I came up with a new title for his show. I came up with a plot. I broke down episodes. I did what would take him and a writer’s team to do in a week or longer in an hour and a half. It completely blew his mind. I was joking with friends. You have to make light of things in these times. You can’t be so serious. If I were a writer in Hollywood, what I would be doing now was I’d be using Midjourney to generate what it would take me a month to do in a day or a week. You can iterate dozens of ideas. It’s been cool.
For instance, me and Paul love AI. We have a monitor up and we go in a lot. We came up with a marketing plan for our organization that Genghis Khan and another ancient leader how they would’ve tackled what we’re doing. I thought how cool it would be to have a Mozart character review or critique a modern song and have that as an article for a blog. As far as the writers, AI is not going anywhere. The people who decide to use AI are going to ultimately have an advantage. That’s the hard truth. If you’re a visionary, don’t fear it. Know that you’re going to become even more powerful if you learn how to use it.
This goes back about probably 4 or 5 months, so it’s as fast as we’re growing. That was a lifetime ago in AI, but I saw an ad for a job from a major corporation looking for an expert prompter.
On LinkedIn, there are all sorts of people looking for prompt engineers now.
Yes, it’s come a long way. Segment four, we’re going to talk about AI tips, but you handled it talking about marketing and other things. Is there anything we left out on that that you’d like to mention?
Think of ChatGPT as your own personal whatever. I’ve used it as a lawyer to draft up contracts. I’ve used it to write bios, press releases, and marketing strategies. It’s limitless if you think of it as a person. It’s important to be literal but also organic. Think of it as you’re talking to an actual human and you’re not just putting something as an input. The way you structure the input material has an incredibly important effect on what is generated by the machine.
I want to put a little asterisk near that. Those are all fantastic use cases, and the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. Do know it’s not always correct, so you can’t take what’s spit out and assume it’s AI, so it’s wonderful and perfect. Even then, I read the first article about some attorneys getting sanctioned by the judge because their brief cited case law that never existed. It turned out they used AI and that’s what came out, so they submitted it. It’s not all ready for prime time, and that’s why it does take an expert to be using it now to learn more and more, but certainly double-check all facts.
Yes, definitely. I use it as a writing partner. I’ll write something, it will give me something back, and then I’ll read it, I’ll edit it, review it, and then put it through it again. I never take anything at face value coming out. I always edit it at least once or twice. It’s fantastic. It’s another thing that I sidebar, but I have a cool idea for a TV series and I’m using AI to help create it.
We’re about to close out, but I want to leave it open for you, Galen. Is there anything we haven’t touched on that you would like to share with the audience before we close?
I would like to emphasize that we are living in exciting times and to not put intention into worrying about the negative outcome of what could come to be, but focusing on all the positivity and beautiful things that we can co-create together with this new powerful tool that we have at our disposal.
In closing, where can the audience go to learn more about you and the projects that you’re working on?
Now, I’m on Twitter @GalenOakes. Also, please follow Future Factory at @FutureFactoryLA. We have a Discord. We’re having incredible events. We have a lot of incredible partnerships and collaborations in the works. We have a lifetime membership now available for 1 Ethereum. That lifetime membership gives you access to as many yoga events as you want to attend, as many music events as you want to attend, as many art events, and the coworking space.
It’s an incredible value when you think about what you get for that initial investment of around $1,800. The price will be going up as we get more traction. This is also up for discussion, but after we sell the first 1,111, we’re going to close the public sale and open up a future list where you’ll have to answer Typeform questionnaires. I want you to know that we’re creating a community of people that, if you have lifetime access, you’re on the same mission as us as co-creating a future that we can all be proud of.
It’s time for another safe landing at our outer edges of the AI universe for this episode. This is your captain. On behalf of our guest and the entire crew, I’d like to thank you for choosing to voyage with us. We wish you a safe and enjoyable continuation of your own journey. When you come back aboard, make sure to bring a friend. Our starship is always ready for some more adventures.
Head over to Spotify or iTunes now, rate us, and share your thoughts. Your support and feedback mean the world to us. Don’t forget to visit EdgeOfAI.co to learn more. Connect with us on all major social platforms by reaching for @EdgeOf_AI and join the exciting conversations happening online. Before we sign off, mark your calendars for our next voyage, where we’ll continue to unravel the mysteries and the advancements of AI. Until then, we’ll see you next episode.
- Future Factory
- Mirus Gallery
- Dope Creative
- Sculpting with the Environment
- Google DeepDream
- @ToddTerrazas – Twitter
- Tweet Hunter
- @GalenOakes – Twitter
- @FutureFactoryLA – Twitter
- Future Factory – Discord
- Spotify – Edge of NFT
- iTunes – Edge of NFT
- @EdgeOf_AI – Twitter