With the rise of AI, the way we judge the value of art is going to be revolutionized. Claire Silver believes that AI will dissolve the traditional skill barrier, making way for a new era where taste is the defining skill. An anonymous AI collaborative artist, Claire has produced art that isn’t just confined to galleries. It’s part of a permanent collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and has been sold at renowned places like Sotheby’s. Claire has a way of describing how AI is going to revolutionize art and society that is compelling and accurate. If we are to crown a spokesperson for the industry right now, she’d easily be a prime candidate. You don’t want to miss what she has to say – and she has a lot!
- Taste is the new skill in the world of AI art.
- It’s important to retain that divine spark in humanity that artists have been trying to capture for millennia as we become more integrated with AI.
- AI is a versatile tool with diverse applications in art, and it’s constantly evolving, offering artists new ways to express themselves.
- AI is not theft. It’s a tool that can be used to augment human creativity.
- AI democratizes access to creative tools and empowers individuals to explore their creativity in unprecedented ways.
- “Taste is the new skill.”
- “Using AI feels like the freedom of being a child and being able to express yourself.”
- “I don’t see AI leading us to an impoverished dystopia.”
- “I collaborate with AI to produce transcendental art that evokes in the viewer a wordless truth.”
- “I’m a caveman painting fire.”
- “I think of AI as like the Holy Grail. You have to ask the right questions to be able to find it and to use it. And then the question is, “Who does it serve?”
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AI show passengers, jump on in. Here’s what’s to come on this journey. Find out what it’s like to take a life-changing debilitating illness and convert it into an inspirational artistic career.
Also, how a dragonfly and lobster come together to inspire this guest’s existence.
Get a waterfall’s worth of insider tips from an AI artist tapping at the door of blue-chip status. All this and more, take your seat.
Welcome aboard. 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 built award-winning homes, navigated complex regulatory landscapes, and now I lead a public company that is dedicated to pushing the tech boundaries and unlocking our full potential.
I have an insatiable curiosity for disruptive ideas and technology, which has led me on a cross-industry entrepreneurial journey building transformative companies. As cofounder of Edge Of Company, I’ve hosted over 250 conversations with emerging tech leaders. Artificial intelligence has been part of my toolkit for quite a long time.
I’m cofounder of one of the largest food tech companies in the US, Territory Foods where I architected the menu planning algorithm based on consumer taste. Before all of this, my roots in consulting included supporting geospatial visualization services across the federal government and a predictive analytics initiative to curb veteran homelessness.
Buckle up and get ready. Let’s tackle uncharted territories in AI with curiosity as our guiding star. This episode brings you Claire Silver, an anonymous AI collaborative artist. Her work is a visual exploration with AI touching themes like innocence, trauma, the hero’s journey, and how our perceptions will shift in the future with increased transhumanism.
Claire’s art isn’t just confined to galleries. It’s part of the permanent collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and has been sold at renowned places like Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and SuperRare. You might’ve seen her featured in the New York Times, Wired, Forbes, NPR, and various podcasts.
Ever vocal about her fascination with AI, Claire also champions the budding art movement and reflects on the significance of this point in history. She believes that with AI’s rise, the traditional skill barriers dissolve, making way for a new era where taste is the defining skill. Claire, as an AI collaborative artist, could you provide some background and share insights into your journey within this unique art form?
Thanks for having me. I had a career in something unrelated, and then I got hit with a chronic life-changing illness. It ended that career. I spent a lot of time online, as sad people do. In the space that my career left for me, I taught myself to paint to have a way to express myself. I also started watching Westworld around this time. I’m not sure if you’re familiar. It’s so excellent, the first season, especially. Anyway, it fascinated me because I could imagine a future where illnesses like mine had been solved and where these ancient human evils that have plagued us since the dawn of time were gone with AI. I started searching for AI plus art since. I was doing both in some capacity.
I found this website, Artbreeder. It was then called Ganbreeder, which let you, without knowing any code or having any technical ability, make AI images. This was before text-to-image. This was before you would type to create AI. This was all visual. You would mix things and curate things visually. I made maybe 30,000 to 40,000 pictures in the first week. I didn’t sleep, I didn’t eat, I was totally obsessed. I then curated them down to about five and that was very painful. It was like throwing away children. Those five taught me my taste. I then shared them on social media. I was unsure if anyone else would see them as art like I did, but they did. That’s all evolved from there.
Were you a painter and an artist earlier on or did that all start after your illness?
I was primarily a writer. I always wanted to be a writer, but the illness affected my word recall and my cognitive ability. I actually had to reteach myself how to walk and talk with physical therapy. Painting was a way of expressing myself that I couldn’t judge against a prior version of me. That was relatively new.
It’s a pretty interesting story and an interesting way of how technology has opened up, created possibilities for you, what you can do in the world, and how you can express yourself. I wanted to hark back to something you’ve mentioned before, which is that with the rise of AI, for the first time, the barrier of skill is swept away in this evolving area of taste is a new skill. I thought that was an interesting point you made and a reflection on where art is heading. Could you elaborate on your thoughts there?
AI augments skill. For better and for worse, it augments skill. With an even playing field, you’re left with message, aesthetic, and meaning. There are certain motifs and symbols that weave through my work, even though the aesthetics can vary greatly. That’s me. That’s my artist’s fingerprint. That’s who I am inside. AI is an answer box. You ask it what you want and it gives you what you ask for. It depends on who’s asking and what they’re asking. That’s much more important than the skill that we’ve lauded forever. That’s another point to make. A skill is something that we’re very protective of because forever, that has been the delineator of good, let’s say art or a skilled artist, years dedicated her craft.For better and for worse, AI augments skill. With an even playing field, what you're left with is message, aesthetic, and meaning. Click To Tweet
That’s laudable and that’s something we can admire. We’ve admired that for forever. We’ve heard what people who have dedicated their lives to their skill have to say in some capacity. I’m interested in what people who don’t have to say when given the tools to do so. I’m interested in what blue-collar workers have to say when they come home and are able, maybe for the first time, to express themselves creatively and share that with the world. What perspectives we’ll hear fascinates me.
I do binge on Netflix in the evening and I was watching a show about the world’s most dangerous prisons. I was fascinated by how articulate these prisons were about their lives and their perspective on the world. I don’t think we see that color in society. We tend to focus on what people around us are saying. I think what you’re saying here, clarify me if I’m wrong, is that AI is a forcing function for us to look aesthetically at the world of expression more broadly in what all people in society have to say with their words and with their ideas.
Yeah. Not just visual art. Music, code, videos, games, and any creative expression that people can have, there’s already AI to assist with that. One point to make also is that I can write code with AI, but I’m not a programmer. I don’t know how. A coder using AI will run circles around me in terms of what I can do versus what they can do. It’s a multiplier for skill as well as an augmenter for skill. I don’t think that people need to be afraid of that.
I was going to touch on something and you handled it. To everything, there’s usually a yin and a yang. There are both sides of it. It’s more inclusive. You’re including everybody to be able to contribute and display themselves, so to speak. That’s the plus and that’s phenomenal. I was going to go into, what are we leaving behind? Are people who have developed skills over years or a lifetime getting erased as to their art forms? However, I think you touched on it and I love the way you said it. It enhances what you can do. Is there anything else you want to add on that?
Yeah, there is one more thing. Remember when you were a kid, let’s say kindergarten or first grade, and everyone was making art in class all the time? There was a freedom there that you weren’t judging against. They say comparison is the thief of joy. That’s something that we learn as we get older. Using AI feels like that for me. It’s the freedom of being a child and being able to express yourself. To that end, imagine children growing up with AI from the time they can start to form memories. What will they be creating? We have to raise the bar somehow. If we raise the bar in terms of augmenting skill, then those who have skills will naturally rise as the cream of the crop.
The skills may not be what we’ve traditionally looked at either. I think that we’ve looked at it in a commodified way for a long time. Not to sound far anything but a capitalist way, it’s what we can produce through skill that is defined in a particular way. I hope that within a couple of generations of AI augmenting skills for people, let’s say 100 years from now, people begin to look at empathy messages and creative expression, these human qualities as skills in their own right that are as important or more important than the traditional way that we look at skill.
I think about this from a societal perspective where there are a lot of observations around the rich getting richer or the poor getting poorer. I’m wondering if you thought about how this affects the folks in the middle. Clearly, it gives more opportunities to folks to augment their skills at all levels, but does it create more competition in that middle area where it’s going to be hard for folks to differentiate themselves under this new set of rules?
I don’t have all the answers, I’ll say that, but when I’ve thought about this, I feel like it’s going to have a YouTube effect. It’s like how YouTube had an effect on cable television. It moves the power from creative studios, from corporations, into the hands of the individual. One guy in his bedroom, a year from now, we’ll be able to make a full-length AAA film. I would put money on that and it’ll be entirely his vision. There are no testing groups. There are no teams of people having input. It’s his creative vision. While that will create more competition in that everybody will want to be doing it, once you find someone that you resonate with, it’s a diehard fan. I think it’s a lot like YouTube in that way. It’s decentralized.
I’ll also say rich, poor, and middle are going to change everything for everyone. If it’s going to be taking jobs, it’s not just one type of job or one class of people. It’s about finding ways that we can enrich people’s lives with it instead of taking from them. One way of doing that is I see Adobe and a few other companies right now are paying artists, photographers, and musicians to let them use their music in their data training sets or their art in their data training sets.
They’re paid a small fraction every time someone uses that piece in their work through the data training set. It’s like royalties but on this massive scale. I think that the models of copyright, of employment, and of everything are going to have to necessarily be totally overhauled as we go on, but I don’t see AI leading us to an impoverished dystopia.
It’s why I have one word, Blockchain. Blockchain itself has changed the world. AI is separate from Blockchain but if you put the two together, you’ve got a monster. That monster could be horrible. It could be fantastic. It depends on what happens next. To understand it, you have to understand decentralization, why it’s there, and the power that it enables. I’ll even make it personal for you a little bit, Claire. It allows you anonymity. Think about that to be an artist on your level.
For our audience, I hope you don’t mind me saying and it doesn’t take away from your art because it’s certainly not my intention because I could tell by your art that your art-first. People spend a lot of value in ETH for your artwork. For an artist to be able to create that, get appreciated like that, and have an anonymous life, which, in my book, there are amazing benefits to that compared to the other, it’s only because of Blockchain. I think it’s fantastic. I commend you for having the concept in the beginning and keeping it that way. It’s pretty amazing.
Thank you. I have no shame about where I come from or anything, either. I’m from a flyover state. There’s no opportunity. My town had a Walmart and that was about it, cornfields. Blockchain allowed me the opportunity to have a life, have a career, and have all of this. None of this would’ve happened. I couldn’t get my foot in the door at a gallery. AI on top of no connections or anything.
Another quick thing on Blockchain since we’re talking about that, a lot of people worry about AI, training sets, and taking attention away from their aesthetic. Anyone right now could train an AI model on my work and make art that looks like mine, but that would only drive attention back to my work because my work is minted immutably and permanently on the Blockchain. It’s got a stamped record of being there first with that aesthetic. I love when people use my work. I’m not afraid of it at all. It drives attention back.
With that, what I want to do now is I want to go to your website. The first one is About. You’ve got some great quotes here as I was reading through it. Can you comment on this a little? I might pull out a quote or two as you’re going, but it was pretty powerful and pretty unique.
Thank you. Touching on a couple of things here. I am a religious person. I am Christian. That is not popular either in the tech or art communities, but I am. I wanted to find that divine spark in humanity that artists have been trying to capture for millennia. I think it’s important to retain in humanity as we become more integrated with AI and machines in the future. Even if AI doesn’t know or understand what that is, it needs to recognize it when it sees it and know that it’s important to keep it. A lot of my early work especially is focused on keeping that transcendental wordless truth thing, which I mentioned in the first, to train the AI to know it when it sees it.
I’m going to read the first sentence. “I collaborate with AI to produce art that is transcendental art that evokes in the viewer a wordless truth.” What a beautiful sentence. It’s truly fantastic and I see it. You do go from physical to AI and back and forth. That in itself adds a dimension that is the reason people subscribe value to what you do.
It’s a lot of fun to go back and forth. It’s one thing to type words and I’m not disparaging that. I do it all the time. I love it. It’s another, though, to take pieces of things you’ve made scribbles and drips of paint, photograph them, and feed them to an AI so that it learns art through your lens and makes work from that.
There’s another section down here. I explore themes of vulnerability, trauma, disability, social hierarchy, innocence, and divinity. Question the role they’ll play in our transhumanist future. I wanted to mention that because another thing that fascinates me is society. When you think about children, you think about innocence. If you have a transhumanist child with a Neuralink chip that has access to all of humanity’s knowledge, is that child still innocent? If not, what do we value in its place?
If we have a society where all of these awful things are healed, illnesses, poverty, etc., all of these struggles are healed, which is the goal, where’s the hero’s journey? What kind of people will we become without struggle and trauma? Will it be better? Will it be worse? What kind of story will we tell ourselves instead of the hero’s journey if we replace it?
I guess you don’t have the same Darwinian belief, but how does this relate to our instincts? How we grew up, how we were raised, and how our parents think of us. To what extent is some of this in our DNA versus something that could be nurtured and crafted? How quickly will we adjust? These are some of the questions that come to mind for me.
I don’t have an answer for that. It’s fascinating, though. I will definitely think about it.
All these questions, I don’t think are meant to have final answers. They’re just great questions. The ones you asked Claire and the ones you mentioned, Josh, and the word struggle. I can’t imagine a life without struggle because if you live a life without struggle, you live a life without development. Struggle is what creates it.
I thought that, too. Everybody’s going to struggle forever a little bit. I met a collector not too long ago who actually talked to me about that specifically had read that and heard me say that and said, “I grew up in a great family, loving parents, wonderful siblings, very privileged, lots of vacations, great education, no trauma that I can think of in any way.”
“I like to think I’m a good person. I work full-time for a nonprofit helping people. I volunteer and I like my life. I want to encourage you that struggle isn’t necessarily a component to not suck essentially.” That was good, but that last quote on there at the bottom, “I do not make statements on whether AI is good or bad. I’m a caveman painting fire,” that’s generally the answer that I go to when given these questions because I don’t know. I’m just fascinated.
Me and Josh have a mutual friend and I won’t mention his name here. Whenever we talked crypto, he said, “The way to analyze it is, what would a caveman do?” He’s very prominent in the industry, by the way, which is why I’ll keep him nameless for the moment right here. Let’s go on to Selected Work as we describe this for our audience. The opening picture here is beautiful. It looks like a formal gallery, possibly a very nice home. There’s a picture of a flower that is moving. Beautiful. It’s moving very subtly, but it is absolutely mesmerizing. This is your prime photo under your work, so maybe you can give us a little comment about that.
This was made for the Christie’s event, Christie’s and Gucci, part of two pieces. This is a 3D model of a home. All of the fabrics, textures, the couches, and the drapes are all made with AI imagery. I would make AI patterns and images and then put them onto the 3D models as the fabric. The video itself is a combination of free CCO stock footage of a flower blooming and layers of AI video. There’s Runway, which we’ll talk about later, which is a website that lets you make a video with artificial intelligence. I’ve layered that into this ever-blooming flower. The 3D metaverse home is meant for the metaverse. It’s meant so that the collector can use it.
It is an impressive look. By the way, it’s ClaireSilver.com for the audience to go yourself and have a look as well because we can’t go through all of them, although I’d love to. Maybe some of the ones that you feel have the most fascinating stories behind them.
That’s like asking her to choose her favorite child.
It wasn’t which one you liked best. Maybe we could pick two for sure. We might get to a third.
I won’t say I have any favorites, but I have a couple with interesting stories. Very briefly, the one right in the center of the screen has the colorful abstract. That’s the piece that’s in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Is that the one called, “A feeling I can’t put my finger on?”
It is. That was one of my early works. The face in the background has 7% of my face mixed in. It doesn’t look like me, but it has a tiny touch of me mixed in with AI. The abstract elements in the front are some abstract paintings I made in real life, photographed, layered in digitally, and then outlined digitally with the gold.
The way it physically looks is you do see a face, and then that’s got abstracts over it. I would say 20% of the face, maybe a little bit more, are not covered over, but the remainder is covered by all these abstract paintings. It’s gorgeous.
Thank you. If we can go back, I’ll mention a couple more quickly. On the far right, that’s Pieces. That was made pure text to image prompt on DALL E 2. It was minted the day that DALL E 2 commercialized. I think within an hour of announcing, it was immediate. It was the first legal DALL E 2 mint on SuperRare. Essentially, the idea was that this is all these pieces of my life that come together into this couple of sentences that I’ve typed. It’s like the quote about my entire life’s work has gone into this doodle on a napkin, even though it only took five seconds.
The point of it was it was priced very high. It took a collector buying it to do this performance art thing where it’s me saying text-to-image, low-effort, high-feeling work is worth as much. It took a collector agreeing with me to complete the piece and one finally did. It was very special when they did. That’s what I want to say with that.
Without getting the exact prices on individual pieces, which I don’t mind doing, but I don’t want to push you there, what I saw was you’ve sold more than 1 piece for 5 to 6 ETH, to give people a ballpark range.
Right now, I’m selling for 52 ETH. I think my all-time high was around $90,000 for a one-of-one. It’s like I had read somewhere that they consider in the gallery world blue chip artists $100,000 and above. It’s like I almost made it. Next, we’ll market, I’ll come eventually. The last piece I’ll mention is the one moving in the center underneath that one. This is The Fisher King. Another early work. This is owned by Cozomo de’ Medici.
The idea of this is it’s a story with the Holy Grail and the question you have to ask to find it is, “Whom does the grail serve?” I think of AI as the holy grail and you have to ask the right questions to be able to find it and use it. The question is, “Who does it serve?” Does it serve man or does it serve baser instincts or scary things? That’s something that we’ll have to decide moving forward. This is a moving image of a girl made with AI. Again, 7% of my face. I always mix in 7%.
You can see the girl there. She looks very young, by the way. In front of her, that looks like, in my mind, a fire. Maybe I’ll let you describe it.
It’s open to interpretation. It’s an abstracted piece. Artbreeder is quite abstract. Some people see a fire. I see a gown, like a skirt, and then these gilded metal pieces in the front with fish jumping up front, which is what reminds me of The Fisher King to begin with.
When I said fire, it looks almost like you stack sticks like you might in a campfire up higher to light the fire. As soon as I heard gown, I saw those sticks could be framing out a gown as well. It is abstract. It’s great. With a cloud above, which has some incredible imagery in the cloud, I’d probably want to stare at for a while.
Pretty amazing stuff, Claire. It prompts me to delve a little bit more into your creative process of creating these transcendental pieces in how you’d like to evoke award-list truth in the viewer. Can you describe your creative process here and some of the insights you’ve learned from incorporating AI into your art?
Totally. What I’ve learned is that it’s a rabbit hole. It goes as deep as you want it to. If you would like to stay at the surface level where you type in a prompt and get an image, that’s totally fine. I know people who make haiku or even one-word prompts. They’ve got it down to a minimalist thing for their aesthetic. I think that’s very cool. If you would like to go deeper, you can combine it with 3D. with music, with video, with hand-painted animations, photography, or anything you would like to do. You can train your own model, which I’ve mentioned a couple of times, which is like there is a baby’s mind and it only learns what you teach it.
That’s how it learns what the world is. If you give it all of your paintings, photos, or whatever you like, that’s what it learns the world is. It will give you a new work that is influenced by and reflective of that without taking from that directly. It can get very technical. I know an artist, Sasha Styles, who does literature, poetry, and code with AI. There are a lot of dimensions.
From my process, I do text-to-image work. I love that work. I also do no-text image work. That’s Artbreeder, Ganbreeder, the older website that is all curation and visual-based. I use ChatGPT to code because I’m not a programmer. I’ve made some interactive generative art pieces with ChatGPT. In that way, combining AI. I also use it with music. I’m just starting there. We didn’t get to it, but one of the pieces on the website, I asked for ‘90s industrial music but played through a 1920s player piano like in Westworld and it gave it to me, which is amazing, and I was able to get it.
You use prompting, which is a common technique in the world of creating with AI. Are there other techniques that you’re using as well creatively that maybe folks might not be aware of and these are tools in your toolkit?
There are so many. I use everything. I use Figma and Canva quite a bit, believe it or not, because it has the ability to turn images into vectors and then turn vectors into extruded 3D images. I’ll take AI images and make them 3D that way, and then export them to a 3D program for what I want to do with it. The prompting is the primary starting point for me as of late. It didn’t used to be, but it’s so convenient and getting more high fidelity.
There’s another program called Character Creator, which is not AI, but it has an AI plugin called Headshot. What it does is you give it an image. I’ll make one with AI usually, and then it uses AI to transfer the face of the image to a 3D model. It doesn’t just paste it on there. It sculpts the clay. Once you’ve got this face, then you can dress it and change the hair, and then it animates.
It becomes a fully rigged avatar for you. I can hold up my smartphone to my face and talk into it and it will live-animate this character that I’ve made to go along with it. You can Twitch stream, record video, or whatever you want. I’ve been using that as well, but the depth and breadth of tools out there are dizzying when it comes to starting with AI.
There’s so much you can do. We’ve already touched on some of the misconceptions of AI. We have a lot of audience who are certainly experts in the area and we have a lot of audience that are new and learning from ground level, which we love on all levels. We touched on some obvious misconceptions with AI and the fact that I think you used the term blue collar at one time earlier can create things. Maybe you can dispel some of the other common misconceptions we haven’t mentioned. Are there any that came to mind for you that we haven’t discussed and you can dispel some of those misconceptions?
There’s one big one. The argument I hear most often about AI is that AI is theft. The reason for thinking that is that the data sets that the AI is trained on. The thinking is that it looks at images in the dataset, it pulls little pieces of them out, and it cobbles them together into this copied thing. That’s not how AI works. I think I can break it down quite simply for people.
This is going to be helpful. This is going to be great.
I always use the example of John Singer Sargent, the painter that I love. If I ask for John Singer Sargent in the middle of one of my prompts, it doesn’t take pieces of his work and hodgepodge them together into my sci-fi concept heart. It doesn’t do that. What it does is it learns traits about Sargent. It learns that he often paints figures, that figures have hands, that hands have fingers, and that he often paints them with this quality of light or this brush stroke.
It takes all those things that it’s learned and it imagines something new. That’s influence. That’s how our minds work. You are not in a vacuum. Everything you look at and everything you love influences the fingerprint of who you are as an artist. That’s how AI works as well. It’s so efficient at it that people look at it and say, “Theft. Copy.” It’s not. It learns like we do in a lot of ways.You are not in a vacuum. Everything you look at, everything you love influences the fingerprint of who you are as an artist, and that's how AI works as well. Click To Tweet
That’s why they call it generative AI, meaning it’s generating something new.
Claire, I think you’re using a lot of the potential applications of AI now. It seems like you’re enjoying trying a little bit of everything. Are there applications of AI that you see in the future that aren’t readily accessible right now that you’re excited about?
We’ve got some right on the horizon. Unity Sentis is a program that is not out yet, but what it will do is you can take a large language model. ChatGPT is an example of a large language model, but you can train your own. Putting copyright aside here, I’m saying for the sake of example, if I were to take all of the Lord of the Rings novels and feed them to a blank large language model to a blank AI, it would learn everything about the world from Lord of the Rings. With Unity Sentis, I can then take that model and embed it in a video game.
All of the rules of the world, the physics, the weather, the atmosphere, and everything will be taken from the Lord of the Rings. All of the non-player characters, the people that walk around in the game that aren’t real people, will have AIs inside each of them, live their own lives, and have their own memories and personalities. You’ll be able to have a conversation with them like you would a regular human. Nothing is scripted, but it’ll be within the lore of the universe because that’s who they think they are. It’s very Westworld for better and for worse. That’s beta access. I think right now, not many people have access. I don’t have access, but it’s coming soon.
I’m going to go for a little challenging question following up on that. That you know is beta. You don’t have access yet. You’re getting it. What’s the next thing you’re going to use that is not in beta that you imagine is the next level of our future with the industry?
The Apple headset comes out, the augmented reality, virtual reality headset comes out. That is going to be world-changing, slow at first, then very quickly just like the iPhone and everything else. Using AI with 3D, using AI with interactive experiences, and using AI with VR. Any of those things is going to become a very useful and lucrative skill. Let’s say that very quickly. You have a few months to get your head around how to do that. I’m working on that right now. Immersive world and also using AI for AR fashion.Using AI with 3D, interactive experiences, and VR is going to become a very useful and lucrative skill. You have a few months to get your head around how to do that. Click To Tweet
The amazing thing about that, when we used to talk about the future, you had to go many years out in front. You’re going months out in front, just the reality of where we are.
Yeah, it’s very fast.
Claire, as we conclude this segment of the show and we have a lot more to talk about, is there any message you want to leave our audience with in terms of the potential of AI as a creative tool and its capacity to empower individuals?
I have this story I’ve been thinking about. It’s brief. It’s the first caveman to discover fire. He thinks it’s fascinating and he shows it to all of the other cavemen and they are afraid of it and shy away from it. The fire goes out and he sadly puts his hands in the ashes. When he looks at them, they come back black from the ashes. That caveman takes those hands and he puts hand prints all over the walls of his cave and we get the handprints that we got from cavemen in the beginning. He uses the charcoal to draw prehistoric elk on the walls of his cave.
AI is like the discovery of fire. It’s that transformative for us. It’s a homo sapiens sapiens moment in the future of our species. We branch at this point. It’s about using it to enhance and express what makes you human. It’s freeing in a way that I can promise you, you likely have an experience since you were little. Please give it a try and see what you think.
I’m always going to crown you as the spokesperson for the industry. You have a way of describing it that is so powerful and completely accurate. It’s pretty phenomenal. We’re going to move on to segment two, which is AI Wants To Know. AI’s curious and so are we. These are ten quick questions that are designed to uncover the intriguing mysteries that AI longs to comprehend but can’t quite grasp. Lord knows we’ve touched on that already. It’s a snack break in our journey. Keep the answers quick, but the safety belt sign, it’s also off. Let’s explore more of who you are and what makes you tick. Are you ready for this?
Question one. What’s the first thing you ever remember being proud of?
Tying my shoe. It was very difficult for me. I struggled at preschool.
I feel like I had that same challenge. That and another one that’s a little bit beyond PG.
I’ve got one of those too.
What do you need help with that you wish you didn’t?
Eating, sleeping, making phone calls, and humaning. I need help with humaning.
I feel like we all need help. I haven’t eaten yet. I’m pretty hungry. If someone reminded me that it was time to eat, that would’ve been a good thing.
What do others often look to you for help with?
Methods, tools, tips, and tricks for AI. Also, for encouragement around AI. I’m very optimistic, not a dystopian. Also, creative applications. I tend to push things in every direction and see what sticks.
What do you treasure most about your own human abilities?
Empathy. I think my empathy is my best trait.
Throughout your whole life, what is the most consistent thing about you?
If I had a biography, I would name it Fascinated. I am consistently fascinated by everything.
Throughout your whole life, what has changed the most?
My illness made me view the world and myself differently. It made me stop viewing myself as a productive tool in society or a cog. It made me have to look to the more human things inside me as something special and worthy of living for.
I almost feel like this next question is somewhat perfect for you. Not to put more pressure on you, but reality. What do you find strangest about reality?
Speaking from Web3 and AI, I’ve used my punk so often and my name Claire Silver so often, which is not my real name obviously, that when I pass a mirror or hear a family member say my name, it’s jarring. I think there’s going to be a whole field of psychology that opens up in the next decade for that thing.
Back to that anonymity thing. That’s probably a side of the blade we didn’t think to have to look at. When do you most recently remember feeling alive?
I was on a cliff by the ocean. It was stormy, gray, windy, and not at all safe. It’s actually quite dangerous. Looking out onto the ocean and feeling that rain on my face, I felt connected to something intrinsic, greater, and true. Those moments are what I try to capture with my AI sometimes.
I’ve been to over 40 countries, but those cliffs in Galloway in Ireland in general, something about that mist and those vestiges that makes you feel so alive. That’s what harkened back to me when you said that. What’s your most unique trait?
Probably fascinated. I’m never bored. I’m always interested in something, which is why I don’t sleep or eat.
Minor details in the scheme of life. If you weren’t a human, what would you be?
I like dragonflies a lot, but they don’t live very long. Maybe the smart answer is a lobster because they’re immortal, so they don’t age in the same way, but probably a dragonfly.
Your ties to nature have been pretty impressive.
I’ve got this vision now of a lobster and a dragonfly merged together. If you want to use that in the future, by all means, please do so. No commercial rates on my side.
Thank you. Very generous.
Staying with the mother nature theme, we’ll call it a bonus question. What place, it could be anywhere in the world, have you visited where nature itself spoke the loudest to you? It could be an ocean or a mountain, who knows what, but you fascinate me in that regard. I’d be curious to know the answer to that one.
That cliff is immediately what comes to mind. After that, Iceland, I want to go back to that kind of rugged. That’s very much what I feel in my heart. I love Basque country as well. Also, my roof at home where I grew up. I used to sit on my rooftop near the oak trees in the fall and that place is home for me as well.
With that, we’re going to head to segment three, which is AI Leaders and Influences. This segment is going to allow you to highlight some of the leading individuals, projects, and organizations that influence you or that people might want to follow. Who has influenced you the most? Both within the world of AI and perhaps outside as well. This is a great time to recognize someone who’s had a big impact, whether a direct personal impact or through their work. You can highlight some of the leading individuals, projects, or organizations. Who would they be?
The first that comes to mind is Joel Simon, who is from Studio Morphogen. He created Ganbreeder, the first website I ever found to make AI, obviously instrumental and a genius. He’s brilliant. I’ve met him and he’s truly brilliant. Refik Anadol, the first AI artist that I know of in the MoMA. That huge wall of shifting color point cloud stuff touching emotionally. It’s almost like Rothko in the way that it makes you feel. Very cool. Sasha Styles, I mentioned. She does AI literature, poetry, and code. She’s brilliant on that front.
Emi Kusano is a Japanese artist that I was lucky enough to meet in Tokyo working with AI. She does a lot of AI fashion and a lot of AI art focused on a feminine lens, which I feel is lacking right now. I love her. She’s also an advisor or served an advisory role to the Japanese government on passing AI policy in regards to copyright and whatnot. They passed the most sweeping positive legislation in the world for AI in part, thanks to her. We all owe her a debt of gratitude if you use AI.
That would be an interesting future interview to learn about that process because I think the policy side of this doesn’t get discussed enough.
Yeah. She sure would be up for it.
That would be great because Japan is a country that didn’t come up in the news that much regarding all the Blockchain developments over the past years, but most recently, they’ve been on it. They’re moving forward with Blockchain, crypto, and apparently AI now too. It’s fantastic.
It’s a very tech-forward country.
We’re going to head to segment four, which is the AI Resource List.
I’ll kick us off here. This is where our guest share a handful of their favorite resources in AI. This could be websites, applications, books or podcasts like Edge of AI, though we’re new, so this hasn’t been one of your resources, newsletters, and learning tools. We would love to understand what this world looks like for you. What are your go-tos?
Typically, I don’t do a lot of podcasts or informational things like that because I like to get my hands dirty and figure it out on my own through a lot of banging my head against the wall. That’s my method. For tools, I would say Midjourney is a very accessible starting point for a lot of people and it’s fantastic, very high quality. They also added a bunch of new things and features to it. I would recommend that if you’re curious. Stable Diffusion is another platform. DreamStudio is the accessible option for that as well. If you search for Stable Diffusion and DreamStudio, you can find it. It’s text-to-image, but it allows you to change the model and change filters and looks in the prompts. That gives you a little more control. It’s a taste of a little more control.
There’s a local installation, so that means you download it to your computer called AUTO1111. That is Stable Diffusion, which I just mentioned, but on your computer. The benefit of that is you can train your own AI models on your own artwork. That gives you the next level of customization. There’s something called control net, which is like a plugin that will let you take one image and keep all of the lines and contours, but it’ll let you change it entirely. You can turn a drawing into a photograph, for example.
Civitai is a website. It’ll allow you to train your own Lauras, which are like aesthetic filters almost for models. It’s very simple to do on the website. I think it’s $5 a month or something, so it’s accessible. I will warn you with Civitai, there is a lot of not safe for work content on there, so do not browse it at home. If you do download any of the AI models people have put up on there, make sure that you virus scan them. Most of them are fine, but every now and then.
AIVA is a program for music. You feed it your favorite songs or genres and it learns traits about those things and gives you something new, but then the step beyond that is it gives you the music roll sheet. You can drag the notes around, change instruments and change tempo. It gives you all of the hands-on control of garage band essentially, but with AI. I love that.
RunwayML is another one I should mention. That is a text-to-video or video-to-video. You can take a video of yourself and then have AI reinterpret it based on what you tell it to or you can type what you’d like and it’ll create a video for you. They have free trials on their webpage. It’s amazing. You should try it. I already mentioned Character Creator for the 3D avatar. Those are the tools that I would probably first mention.
That’s a great list. We’ve got a busy weekend playing around with all these new tools.
It takes hours to get your head around one of those tools. What Claire described was a lot of time. Let me tell you something. What you’re chasing here is another level of freedom, understanding, and many things that are incredibly positive. If this speaks to you, the time will be very well spent if you have it. It’s pretty fantastic. That was an incredible list. How many hours did it take you to find those right tools? At least people get to skip that part of it.
So many, but I’ve condensed them down for you. Those are only the accessible ones. Those are the ones that are easy for you to start to pick up.
Segment five, we’re going to head to AI Tips now. Tell us some cool ways you use AI or your unique perspectives on AI now and where it’s headed that we might not have explored yet, although we have covered a lot of ground.
We’ve covered a lot of this already. The different ways that I use AI in 3D, training your own models, and using ChatGPT for code. Those are all the things that I would’ve mentioned. I will say I’ve started designing furniture. I’m getting a 3D printer and a CNC router. I just got that in, actually. The idea is that you use AI and a tool like Fusion 360 from Autodesk to design this parametric architecture. What that is, is you give the program parameters around what you want and then you make a basic shape, and then it gives you a thousand iterations on that using AI. You choose the one you like and then it gives you the plans which you then can use in your CNC router or whatever else. It’s fascinating and very cool. If any of you are crafty, I would recommend that.
One thing I did want to touch on in the aside, but not really. You were talking about where it may go in the future that we may not expect. This example I love. There right now is a team of scientists off the coast of Portugal. They’re on a boat and they are recording whale sounds from a particular pod of whales that they’ve observed to have social language, not just survival language. They have certain sounds for socializing. They’re recording all of these and they’re feeding them to a blank AI to a large language model. It’s beginning to decode the language.
I have no idea the ins and outs of how that works, but what they’re saying is that we’ll be able to understand another species and talk back by playing the sounds back in the succession they would need to be played using AI. Pretty soon, we’re going to have interspecies communication because of AI, which is fascinating.
Of course, why not? You pair up the sounds with the actions, activities, or directions that go with those sounds and why can’t you make sense of it?
I’m amazed by that because there are so many mysteries in this world. One of them is whales and dolphins. The ocean is full of mysteries, but so is the human brain. When you mentioned that, I was seeing one of Refik’s newest exhibits at Korea Blockchain Week and got to interview the team he worked with on that exhibit where he’s taking, I think, over 30,000 scans of the human brain based on people’s different types of mood and turning them into art. This whale science you mentioned is like another whole level of that where we’re giving them a language we can understand.
Speaking of people’s minds, the other example I would give very quickly is that there are a few teams around the world that now have brain-to-image technology. You would look at some images, go lie down an MRI essentially, and then the AI can interpret from you thinking about those images, a reconstruction of what they are.
It’s terrifying when you think about totalitarian governments and that kind of thing, how it could be used. Also, it is amazing to think about when you think about being able to record your dreams and watch them again, or show them, or people that are with Locked-in Syndrome, unable to speak or move, being able to show people what they’re thinking about and communicate.
I love the way you communicate your perspectives on all this because you’re not blind to the potential unintended consequences where it can go because they’re severe and it’s bad. It is countered with the positive, which you described as well. These are critical conversations for us to continue to have.
Thank you. I want people smarter than me to be talking about them and I don’t feel like they’re doing it at the level that I would like them to just yet.
This has been an incredible honor. I’ve learned so much and have such a deeper appreciation for you, Claire, and your work. You’ve come up in conversation so many times in my world over the last few years and it’s a treasure to have this time with you.
Thank you so much. If I could leave a parting thought, my parting thought would be this technology is coming. Whether or not you’re happy about it, it’s here. It’s like fire. You can have a centralized model where governments control this and have to trust that they will all do the right thing with this infinite potential. You can have a decentralized model where you will have bad actors creating scary things in their garages and you will have good actors countering that. I’m in favor of decentralization for AI open-source models. I hope that you will be too, but that is something to think about.
That’s a perfect closing to the interview portion and it’s been phenomenal. Claire, I got to tell you, I feel like we could do this for eight hours.
We could. Yeah. Thank you.
I love all that we’ve covered and you’ve done a great job. For the audience that want to learn more or follow what you do, where do you suggest they can follow your projects or what you’re working on?
The best place is my Twitter. I live on Twitter. @ClaireSilver12 is my handle and I post every day. Other than that, my website is a good place to go. Also, I have a nonprofit called Accelerate Art that focuses on elevating and highlighting emerging artists, not just using AI, of all types. I hope that you will check that out as well. Some amazing work there on exhibition in Paris and all over the place. We do what we can.
Everybody, please do that. Let’s support Claire as best we can in all aspects. Based on this, I think what we’ve learned is she’s a leader for goodness in the field. Let’s stay tuned to what she’s doing. It’s time for another safe landing at the outer Edge of the AI universe for now. 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 journey. When you come back aboard, make sure you bring a friend. Our starship is always ready for more adventurers.
Head over to Spotify or iTunes right now, rate us and share your thoughts. Your support and feedback mean the world to us. Don’t forget to visit EdgeOfAI.xyz to learn more. Connect with us on all major social platforms by searching for EdgeOf_AI. 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 advancements of AI. Until then, we’ll see you later.