Understand the role of AI in collaborative art creation while critically reflecting on authorship and creative boundaries within digital art-making
In this assignment, students interact with an AI “remixer” to produce a series of images. The act of “remixing” images (i.e., uploading select images as input and getting an output based on these images), is meant to illustrate how AI models learn and “produce” images and to spark conversation about authorship and creativity in AI agents.
- Ask students to select 2-5 images. The images could be chosen based on the course objectives and topics that the instructor would like to engage with. For example, in a course on Racism and AI, students could select images of people of color to see how AI interacts with them.
- Have students go to https://artbreeder.com and create an account.
- Select the “Mixer” option. Ask students to find images they want to “remix” together. Students upload the images they want to remix or select them from “community images.” Once the students have uploaded the images, generate the first set of results. They can choose different blending amounts and parent images. Allow students to iterate and adjust the sliders until they have an output they find interesting. They can download the final image. Note: Be mindful that the free account gives 3 credits/month and each generation consumes a fraction of the credits, depending on the parameters for remixing.
- After the creative process, ask students to share their one remixed image and the original images. Invite them to elaborate on why they selected the image and their thought process behind it.
- Facilitate a group discussion where students collectively reflect on their experience with the tool. Some potential questions you might think about as a group include:
- Who is the author of the image – the AI, the student, the creators of the original image, something else entirely?
- How does the AI generate new images or play a role in the creative process? Do they understand how AI is “remixing”?
- What creative freedoms and limitations did they experience?
- How might AI tools be used by artists, designers, etc.? What kinds of risks (professional, ideological, legal, etc.) attend to the use of AI in the art world?
- How did they relate to images or art works differently when viewed through the lens of “breeding,” as opposed to creating, imagining, or collaging?
- Optional: Artbreeder is a product of a specific socio-technical imaginary about AI that is anthropomorphizing the technology. The language that is articulated in the product, such as “breeding,” “genes,” “child,” and “parent,” reflect this. Invite students to engage in a discussion of how they feel about this. Does it reflect what they think about AI? What does it mean when we think about AI technology in this manner?