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Meet the expert: Luba Elliott

We talk to Luba about her work supporting and promoting creative AI practitioners. We also hear her views on why her work is important
To me, creative AI means experimenting and working creatively with artificial intelligence techniques in art, music, and design. I feel there are so many different technologies being developed by all these large technical corporations and research labs. And it’s important to experiment and to play with them and see how they can be applied artistically and bring artists and creatives and people from the general public into a broader dialogue with this technology.
I got drawn into creative AI around the time of DeepDream, which came out of one of the Google research labs in I think it was May 2015. And it caused a lot of excitement worldwide, because there were all these images that were very multicoloured and there were different kind of pagodas and dogs and slugs coming out of humans and buildings. So it was this very kind of psychedelic, crazy imagery that naturally captured the mainstream attention. And I also became quite interested in it because it was an example of technology being creative in a way and coming up with something that had a very distinct aesthetic.
I really think what is important about my work is that I built a community around this topic. And I bring together people from very different disciplines, because creative AI is a broad topic of interest.
Artists or creatives are experimenting with very realistic image generation to creates images of politicians or images of people who have never existed. And on the tech side, you have a lot of experiments with generating anything from recipes to alternative endings to Harry Potter and so on. Another development is probably the focus on ethics and bias. So given that a lot of these techniques are now incorporated into the public realm and into so many different kind of uses in the broader society, many artists are starting to think about the ethics of that and also are looking at the data that makes up the data sets and how that has been gathered.
Recently, there’s been a lot of interest in working with creative AI and that’s certainly given rise to a number of challenges. And these include, for example, looking at authorship and copyright, because normally when you work with these AI technologies, there are so many people involved. So if you’re looking to generate some images, what you normally do is you pick a data set that you either find online or you make yourself. Then you work with an algorithm that has an implementation that was developed by somebody. And then finally, you also curate the output. So there are different stages in the process and they can also be done by different people in a way.
So if you find the images online, then often the copyright might belong to a variety of different people.
If you want to work in creative AI, then first of all, I think it’s important to have a basic understanding of how the technology works. So I would certainly advise people to experiment a little with generating some text or images or playing around with facial or image recognition just to understand how the technology works. It’s important for curators like me who specialise in one particular niche to be aware of where that field might be going. So in the case of creative AI, I certainly feel that at some point it will become part of computer art. Or it might become part of the broader contemporary art field that encompasses a lot of different art forms.
So you definitely need to be aware of what’s happening and where things are going and so on.

As you’ve seen in the previous step, there are many creative AI practitioners exploring the idea that the machine is the creator, or at least the collaborator, in artistic work. This new twist on the authorship debate is core to the work of artist Luba Elliott.

In this video, we talk to Luba about her work supporting and promoting creative AI practitioners. We also hear her views on why her work is important and where she sees creative AI developing in the future.

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Introduction to Creative AI

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