New podcast: DALL•E & You & Me

On Friday I had a ball chatting with Brian McCullough and Chris Messina on the arrival of DALL•E & other generative-imaging tech on the Techmeme Ride Home podcast. The section intro begins at 31:30, with me chiming in at 35:45 & riffing for about 45 minutes. I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoy talking (i.e. one heck of a lot 😅), and I’d love to know what you think.

Image credit: August Kamp + DALL•E

I’ve gathered links to some of the topics we discussed:

  • Don’t Give Your Users Shit Work. Seriously. But knowing just where to draw the line between objectively wasteful crap (e.g. tedious file format conversion) and possibly welcome labor (e.g. laborious but meditative etching) isn’t always easy. What happens when you skip the proverbial 10,000 hours of practice required to master a craft? What happens when everyone in the gym is now using a mech suit that lifts 10,000 lbs.?
  • Vemödalen: The Fear That Everything Has Already Been Done,” is demonstrated with painful hilarity via accounts like Insta Repeat. (And to make it meta, there’s my repetition of the term.) “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past…” Or as Marshawn Lynch might describe running through one’s face, “Over & over, and over & over & over…”
  • As Louis CK deftly noted, “Everything is amazing & nobody’s happy.”
  • The disruption always makes me think of The Onion’s classic “Dolphins Evolve Opposable Thumbs“: “Holy f*ck, that’s it for us monkeys.” My new friend August replied with the armed dolphin below. 💪👀
  • A group of thoughtful creators recently mused on “What AI art means for human artists.” Like me, many of them likened this revolution to the arrival of photography in the 19th century. It immediately devalued much of what artists had labored for years to master—yet in doing so it freed them up to interpret the world more freely (think Impressionism, Cubism, etc.).
  • Content-Aware Fill was born from the amazing PatchMatch technology (see video). We got it into Photoshop by stripping it down to just one piece (inpainting), and I foresee similar streamlined applications of the many things DALL•E-type tech can do (layout creation, style transfer, and more).
  • StyleCLIP is my team’s effort to edit faces via text by combining OpenAI’s CLIP (part of DALL•E’s magic sauce) with NVIDIA’s StyleGAN. You can try it out here.
  • Longtime generative artist Mario Klingemann used GPT-3 to coin a name for Promptomancy. I wonder how long these incantations & koans will remain central, and how quickly we’ll supplement or even supplant them with visual affordances (presets, sliders, grids, etc.).
  • O.C.-actor-turned-author Ben McKenzie wrote a book on crypto that promises to be sharp & entertaining, based on the interviews with him I’ve heard.
  • Check out the DALL•E-made 3D Lego Teslas that, at a glance, fooled longtime Pixar vet Guido Quaroni. I also love these gibberish-filled ZZ Top concert posters.
  • My grand-mentee (!) Joanne is the PM for DALL•E.
  • Bill Atkinson created MacPaint, blowing my 1984 mind with breakthroughs like flood fill. The arrival of DALL•E feels so similar.

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