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The power of algorithms: an introduction to generative AI

Generative AI is a fascinating technology capable of generating creative, but often unpredictable, outputs that could have been produced by human artists or writers. The technology uses machine learning models to generate images, text, music and even full videos.

In this blog post, you will find out what generative AI does and how it can be used in creative fields. I will also be discussing issues and risks associated with this technology as well as its impact on the creative industry and how people work in this space. You can look forward to fantastic insights into the fascinating world of generative AI, and you will also find out learn how it can change the way we make art, music and even literature.

The art of artificial intelligence: generative AI explained

Generative AI refers to a group of machine learning models and algorithms such as generative adversarial networks (GANs), variational autoencoders (VAEs) and autoregressive models that are capable of generating creative, but often unpredictable, outputs that could have been produced by human artists or writers. It has the potential to revolutionise the way we make art, music and even literature by showing us new and unexpected ways to produce creative works. Generative AI is an exciting technology that opens up a number of applications and possibilities.

Art, design and more: remarkable examples of generative AI applications

Some of the applications for generative AI include game design as well as image, text, music and video generation.

In image generation, generative AI is used to generate realistic images of objects or people. It is used in medicine, for example, to transform CT scans into 3D images, or in art to create new and unexpected images.

Text generation is used to generate texts such as poems, lyrics or even full-length books. It can be used in the advertising industry to produce catchy slogans and creative advertising copy, or in the literary industry to explore new writing styles and formats.

In music generation, generative AI models are used to generate new pieces of music or even concerts. This technology is used in the music industry to explore new music genres and styles or to create computer-generated music for film and television productions.

In video generation, generative AI is used to generate realistic video sequences or even complete films. It is used in the film industry to create computer-generated scenes, or in the advertising industry to create stunning promotional videos.

Finally, generative AI can also be used in the field of game design to generate new and unexpected game worlds and scenarios that would be difficult for human designers to imagine. This can help to increase the creativity and replay value of video games.

From GANs to autoregressive models – the many methods in generative AI

Generative adversarial networks (GANs)

Generative adversarial networks (GANs) are powerful generative AI models capable of generating realistic images, videos and even audio content that could have come from a human.

GANs consist of two neural networks: the generator and the discriminator. The generator generates new outputs, while the discriminator evaluates the generator’s outputs and identifies them as either real or fake. The generator is trained to improve its outputs by trying to fool the discriminator into believing that they are real.

By training GANs with large datasets using lots of computing power, they can deliver amazing results. For example, GANs can be used to generate realistic images of non-existent objects or people that are almost indistinguishable from real photographs. The technology has applications in the arts, in medicine and in the gaming industry.

In the arts, GANs can be used to generate new and unexpected images and sculptures. In medicine, GANs can be used to convert CT scans into 3D images or to test the effectiveness of drugs. In the gaming industry, GANs can be used to generate realistic game worlds or to create computer-generated characters that offer players a more immersive gaming experience.

Autoregressive models

Autoregressive models are another type of generative AI capable of generating sequences of data, such as text, music or speech. The model learns to determine the probability of the next elements in the sequence based on the previous ones.

The basic concept behind autoregressive models is that the model first selects a start element and then, step by step, predicts each subsequent element of the sequence. These predictions are then used as input for the next element until the entire sequence has been generated.

Training autoregressive models requires large amounts of data and lots of computing power to capture the complex relationship between the elements in the sequence. However, if the model is properly trained, it can deliver impressive results. For example, autoregressive models can be used to generate realistic texts, poems or even entire books that could have be written by human authors.

Autoregressive models are used in a variety of fields, such as speech recognition, text generation and music composition. In speech recognition, the model can be used to predict the next word based on the previous words. In text generation, the model can be used to write a paragraph, a story or even an entire book. Finally, in music composition, the model can be used to generate melodies and harmonies.

Although autoregressive models have enormous potential, there are also challenges and limitations that need to be considered. For example, long sequences can be more difficult to generate, since the probability of the model making correct predictions decreases the longer the sequence is. It is also difficult to train the model to produce consistent and realistic outputs. Nevertheless, autoregressive models can be a powerful and useful technology if used conscientiously and responsibly.

Other methods

In addition to GANs and autoregressive models, there are other generative AI models that also offer powerful capabilities to generate data. These include variational autoencoders (VAE) that can be used to generate realistic images, videos and audio. Flow-based models, such as RealNVP, can also be used to generate high-dimensional data by transforming a complex distribution into a simple distribution. Each model has its advantages and disadvantages and may be suitable for different applications

From music composition to image generation: exciting applications for generative AI

Some of the best-known applications for generative AI are in image, speech and music generation. Generative AI can also be used in other areas as well. For example, generative models can be employed to generate human-like movements for animation or robotics. One example of this is the DeepMimic model, which is able to generate human-like movements based on input parameters such as speed and direction.

Another possible application for generative AI is in the field of fashion and textiles, where generative models can be used to produce new designs or optimise existing ones. An example of this is the Bigthinx model, which is able to create human-like avatars and dress them in tailor-made outfits to produce the optimum fit and style.

However, generative AI also has its challenges and limitations. It is important to ensure that the data generated is used ethically and responsibly to avoid undesirable outcomes.

Man versus machine – risks and ethical challenges associated with generative AI

Generative AI poses a number of challenges and risks, especially in terms of the ethical concerns it raises and the difficulty in controlling the technology. One of the main issues is that it is not always possible to ensure that the data generated is ethical or responsible. For example, racist, sexist or other discriminatory patterns may appear in the generated data if the underlying model has been trained on data that is racist, sexist or discriminatory or it has not been adequately monitored.

Another risk is that generative models are often difficult to control. In some cases, these models can generate unforeseen outputs or even cause harm. An example of this is Google’s Deep Dream experiment, in which a generative model was used to generate psychedelic images. Although the experiment was in itself harmless, it showed that these types of models can be unpredictable.

To address these challenges and risks, it is important that great care is taken when developing, training and testing generative models. It is important to ensure that the data generated is used ethically and responsibly. After all, it is vital that we can maintain control over generative AI and that we are able to check and correct the results if necessary.

All in all, however, the possible applications for generative AI are promising and have the potential to change the way we generate and use data and information. It is therefore critical that we use this technology responsibly and monitor its impact carefully.

Between innovation and ethics – final notes on generative AI

In summary, generative AI is an exciting technology that has the potential to change many areas of our lives. It can help us create art, music and images, develop new products and much more. But there are of course also challenges and risks that we have to keep an eye on. Above all, it is important to consider ethical concerns and our ability to control the technology. We have to exercise diligence when developing, training and testing generative models and make sure that the data generated is used responsibly.

You will find more exciting topics from the adesso world in our latest blog posts.

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Picture Kevin Pahlke

Author Kevin Pahlke

Kevin Pahlke is a consultant at adesso.

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