AI watch: from architects’ assistants to writers’ rivals

  • August 12, 2023
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This week in artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is either going to save humanity or finish it off, depending on who you speak to. Either way, every week there are new developments and breakthroughs. Here are just some of the AI stories that have emerged in recent days:

“Just accept the tech, architects!” Oliver Wainwright, our architecture and design critic, looks at whether AI will wipe out architects. Teaser: it can quickly show you what mosques in Abu Dhabi could look like, summarises local planning policies and allows the public to experiment with projects. If architects want to explore the endless world of AI, they can start by viewing AI as their perfectly on-time, organised and eager studio assistant.

Authors 1, AI 0. Five books that were listed on Amazon for sale were removed after author Jane Friedman said the titles were falsely listing her as the author. A reader sent in the listings to Friedman who has written several books about the publishing industry. This comes after authors call for AI companies to stop using their work without consent. It’s sort of like when your group project in school was so bad you’d rather your name not be on it, but in this case, they’ve slapped Friedman’s name on some low-quality work that she was not involved with at all. Poor AI-fort.

Disney’s new family members are not mermaids with a voice of gold or a pretty waitress who turns into a frog but … a team to explore artificial intelligence! Walt Disney has created a taskforce to look into how AI can work within the entertainment industry. Though the taskforce was launched before the Hollywood strikes, it’s ironic that Hollywood writers and actors are striking against the impact, er, AI will have on writers and actors.

AI could help airline pilots avoid areas that create polluting contrails. A study by Google and American Airlines has suggested that AI could lessen aircraft contrails, the clouds of condensation behind planes. This would contribute to cutting aviation emissions, which contribute to climate collapse. The study found that flights needed to burn through 2% more fuel to avoid the contrails.

The fashion industry has been flirting with AI for the last couple of years and more fashion and retail executives are talking about it. This week, the luxury brand Ganni’s spring/summer 2024 show at Copenhagen fashion week put an AI on display. The show, a collaboration with digital artist Cecilie Waagner Falkenstrøm, saw a Ganni AI trained on data from the brand and from comments from social media. Those in attendance could interact with the AI during the show. There were also talking AI trees.

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