A Return to Machine Learning
Kyle McDonald
51811

What a treat to read this article — thank you for putting it together. In entrepreneurial life, I focus on software that automates white collar office work in finance. In private life, I create new media art, and the advent of creative AI in the form of deep style last year gave me a shock of existential dread. It was a real surprise to see the tech we were building with financial software applied to human creativity, though maybe it shouldn’t have been surprising. Between deterministic art systems, neural nets, VR and 3D fractals, what room is there left for the human artist? Staring in awe at the precisely sublime imagery built by machine can be demoralizing.

I’ve spent the last year struggling with this in my practice.

The answer to me is the same as when photography replaced portraiture. The rendering of faces by human and brush is a craft now stripped of scarcity and value. But the social boon of having every individual equipped with the ability to make a most perfect memory has far more benefit. Creative AI, from my limited perspective, is a way to democratize the craft of rendering and power a new explosion in human expression. That expression may not be better, or “expert”, but it will lead to new form of social creativity.

I’ve been changed permanently by this new tool. I don’t code as deeply as you — but I hunt for a personal aesthetic and can use implementations like Dreamscope, Pikazo, Prisma, etc. When taking a photograph, my mind now looks for things that will feed the algorithm to create an interesting result. I can nest infinitely complex fractals into faux-paint rendered environments in a 20 minute session with my iPhone. (Examples: one, two, three, four, five). Without doubt, my practice is better, more rich, and more challenged to be thoughtful rather than illustrative, because of creative technology.