Generative AI, a tool for creative expression

Freddy Koné, co-founder of SoWhen?, shares his insights and his company’s createch approach to Generative AI, which he sees as a tool in service of humanity.

Freddy Koné, cofondateur de SoWhen?. Crédit photo Amédézal.

A Creative and Technological Company Leveraging AI

For SoWhen?, creation is at the core of our business, along with cutting-edge image technologies.

Currently, SoWhen? sells scripted behavioral AIs in certain experiences that indeed exhibit a degree of robotic behavior and mechanics, but at least there is a level of control that is much more assured. 

If we intend to start incorporating Generative AI into our applications, we need to ensure that it is ethical, aligned with our intended purpose, and free from unintended consequences.

An Asset for Creativity: A Tool for Our Collaborators

We view Generative AI as a tool that will enable us to achieve several objectives. Like any business, we need to create faster and deliver custom interactive and immersive experiences to our clients while addressing numerous challenges. We face constraints related to time, cost, handling complex and sensitive data, and physical limitations in the venues where our phygital experiences take place.

Generative AI will allow us to deliver more efficiently and potentially strengthen our teams. We will be able to harness greater computing power without necessarily carrying the burdens that come with larger entities. We will witness the emergence of creations, teams, and creators who can express themselves in a more qualitative manner, even in places we might not have previously explored or considered.

What we advocate at SoWhen? is that everyone integrates these new Generative AI tools with other tools and workflows, whether in text or image generation, as we do with our artistic director when creating concepts, for example.

Ultimately, we have the choice to focus on interesting endeavors and avoid making compromises due to lack of resources or time. This opens up broader horizons!

New Technologies That Cause Concern

Like with any new technology, as long as it is not regulated, legislated, and understood by individuals, it can be frightening. I believe that in the coming years, there will be a rationalization and legislation of all this, which will allow Generative AI to be considered as one tool among others that we can use.

The Challenge of Creative Ownership

Of course, people are concerned about the ownership of creations, raising questions about image management and copyright. Who ultimately owns what is generated by the computer? Is it the collective of individuals who constituted the database used to generate the image? Is it the software publisher who compiled the algorithms? Is it the person who issued commands through prompts to generate the image? 

This also raises the question of hybridization, meaning when there is indeed a working base but it is subsequently modified. To what extent can we attribute authorship to an image that is not taken as is but altered? It indeed raises numerous ethical questions at this level.

Image IA générative midjourney article le monde
Image issue de l'article du journal le Monde "Comment reconnaître une image générée par le logiciel Midjourney ?"

What Ethics?

The widespread adoption of Generative AI poses major challenges. Security in applications and protection against misuse are crucial concerns. Measures must be put in place to prevent misuse and ensure responsible usage. For instance, when malicious individuals use Generative AI to create fake information or deceptive videos, it jeopardizes public trust.

It also raises questions about the training data and the ethics of AI, its personality, since it will evolve on its own. What values are instilled in it? We know that values vary depending on different cultures and countries. AI can be conditioned or unconditioned, restricted, and so on. Even though there are international rights, it’s evident that they are violated in some countries. So, what will happen to these AIs that will have a personality linked to the values we instill in them?

illustration abstraite trouvée sur le site de chat gpt
Image issue du site NVIDIA

Real-time, an Intriguing Creative Exploration Ground:

I believe that it will be quite interesting in the future, especially since tools are becoming more real-time. When it comes to chat, we almost have instant responses because there are machines in the cloud working intensively. It’s true that ChatGPT consumes a lot, but we are starting to have lighter models like LLAMA, for example, from Meta with streamlined versions that allow computations on much lighter configurations, thus being less energy-intensive.

In the gaming industry, the recent introduction of NVidia Ace in collaboration with Convai allows players to interact with a character by giving it a backstory, influencing its responses based on the role assigned and its underlying history. This is an incredibly interesting creative exploration since it allows us to truly create characters. We already create them at an editorial level, shape them visually with features, and provide them with a voice for sound. With this, personality can shine through and surprise us. There’s a bit of a “Frankenstein” element to it.

A Tool in Service of Human Creative Evolution:

I think that humans still have untapped potential to detach themselves from machines. This will challenge them to explore new territories beyond the beaten path.

However, one of the dangers of relying entirely on AI is that we may become increasingly consensual in our reactions and ways of doing things.

After all, we must not forget that all of this is driven by a massive algorithm operating on a vast scale of probability. Some will be tempted by the consensus AI offers, while others will stand out by producing things that AI cannot do. That’s why in the future, we will witness some quite interesting, polarizing creations, as well as a multitude of more consensus-driven creations.

If I return to significant artistic innovations, I could mention the impressionists, Picasso, or Marcel Duchamp, who broke away from existing classicism and created a new way of seeing and considering art. They disrupted established art and weren’t immediately understood…

image de l'œuvre de Marcel Duchamp Fountain

We Are on the Cusp of a Revolution:

I like to compare this to the combine harvester, which replaced many people in the fields but now feeds many people on this planet. Unfortunately, not everyone, but not due to production reasons, more so distribution.

Humans have changed; they are no longer in the fields, perhaps more often behind desks, but tomorrow, it will be something else. That’s why I believe we are on the brink of a revolution that we cannot yet clearly anticipate.

I understand people’s fears about losing their jobs, which allow them to sustain themselves. But unfortunately, I think we have already opened Pandora’s box, and it will be impossible to turn back and bury our heads in the sand, lest we be completely overtaken by events. So, it’s better to try to adapt as much as possible.

I mentioned distribution. AI also involves accessibility.

It’s a real issue. Today, Chat GPT is partly paid. Platforms like Hugging Face offer open-source and free distribution of models. Some people cry foul, saying, “Yes, if it’s in everyone’s hands, there are people who will do anything, like AIs specialized in harming humans. People who have launched the challenge of creating a Skynet.” 

So yes, it’s a dilemma because if it works, we might have already written our own demise. But at the same time, if only a rich elite can afford it, it will further exacerbate inequalities. So, the debate is still open about who will have access to this technology and whether it will make a difference between nations, countries, and ethnicities. These are real societal issues, I think.

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