Round up: Hybrid Talks 44 - Kreative KI ?!

On Thursday, October 19, 2023, our 44th Hybrid Talks entitled "Creative AI?!" took place in the foyer of the UdK building at Einsteinufer, moderated by Prof. Dr. Stefan Neuner.

The first to speak was Prof. Christiane Kühl, Professor of Interdisciplinary Artistic Practice and Theory at the Studium Generale at the UdK Berlin. Following her studies in Modern German Literature, Philosophy as well as Spanish at the University of Hamburg, Christiane Kühl is active as an editor, author and theater maker.  Prof. Kühl started her interesting contribution with an article by Kevin Kelly, which was published in the computer magazine WIRED in November 2022. Kelly referred to text-image generators as "Engines of WOW" because they seemed familiar yet surprising. The question is whether AI poses a threat to artistic production in the traditional sense. In the article, Kelly refers to two terms: "lowercase creativity" describes general graphic or design products that can be reproduced by AI. Meanwhile, "uppercase creativity" refers to groundbreaking works that require collaboration between AI and humans. Here, Professor Kühl mentioned the terms "collaboration" and "curation" to describe a desirable relationship between art and AI. As a theater maker, Professor Kühl revealed to us that she takes a rather critical attitude towards AI, which is expressed through her performance group "doublelucky productions". Moreover, she explained that so far only single components of theater could be produced by AI. Here, the topic of our Hybrid Talks "Creative AI?!" was extended by the question of the inclusion of creative AI in artistic processes.

The second speaker of the evening was Prof. Jörg Heiser, the managing director of the Institute Art in Context at the UdK Berlin. He studied philosophy, American and English studies, received his PhD from the Humboldt University in Berlin in 2014 and is a music and art critic of renowned publications. Professor Heiser showed us artistic works similar to AI-generated images in his informative lecture. Artist Oliver Laric worked with "Google Image Search" in late 2000 by entering combinations of terms into the search engine that had very little connection to each other. The results were used to create various works and animations. Heiser continued his presentation with a reference to the group "Cursed AI", which shares grotesque AI images on Facebook. The abstruseness of these images points to an algorithmic bias, which is continuously reinforced. Therefore, Professor Heiser said that biases in AI must be changed. Professor Heiser concluded his contribution with the question of the factual accuracy of images. In a current phenomenon, he said, the validity of real images is being challenged. For example, photos of Kanye West and his partner Bianca Censori taken outside Mustafa's Vegetable Kebap Berlin in September have been labeled as "fakes". This phenomenon could have significant implications, such as with the Middle Eastern war situation.

The last to speak was Florian Dohmann, founder of the consulting firm and AI agency Birds on Mars. He is a member of the artist collective YQP and a lecturer at the UdK. In 2017, Dohmann was involved in the invention of a muse based on Artificial Intelligence. Because an "AI muse" had been special in 2017, Google gave it an award in 2019. These days, he mentioned, it's common to use AI-generated products as a source of inspiration. Dohmann showed us some projects that illustrate the possibilities of artificial intelligence. By combining a synthesizer and artificial intelligence, for example, people with disabilities could express themselves in a special way. Another example is the collaboration of Birds on Mars with Deutsche Bahn, where AI was used to avoid the use of glyphosate. Even if AI opens new ways for us, it entails a big and rapid change in the world of work, art and life, where questions are still to be discussed. This is why the founder of Birds on Mars made the appeal that we should all be concerned with the topic of AI. Consequently, he said, an interdisciplinary approach, in which questions surrounding AI are addressed from different perspectives, would be helpful.

In a lively discussion and in personal conversations between the audience and the speakers, the topic "Creative AI?!" was discussed in more detail.