Generative AI is here to stay!
Some reflections on what 2022 showed us about the future.
Generative AI describes AI that takes a prompt and generates something from it. Prime examples include Copilot which takes code or comments as a prompt to complete the code I want to write, ChatGPT which takes a chat message and replies with a human-like answer and Stable-Diffusion (or Dall-E, or Midjourney) which takes a prompt and returns a fitting image. All of these AIs made massive progress in 2022!
Text-to-Image AIs like Stable-Diffusion, Midjourney, or Dall-E went from blurry images in which you could make out shapes to producing high-quality results. While Dall-E is best known in the press, Midjourney produces the best results as of today with the open-source alternative of Stable-Diffusion quickly catching up.
Today though these AIs can not replace artists. They don't yet understand well which composition, lighting, and atmosphere work best to convey a meaning. To turn an image in your head into an artwork you need a collaborative process between artists and AIs. But looking at examples of this we can see of these AIs will expedite exploration phases and help artists to venture into different territories.
Lexica.art is a great place to see what's possible and play around with a free account.
Text generation AIs like ChatGPT or Copilot also made tremendous progress in 2022. They went from testing things out to being super useful in production.
Copilot can write code easily. It helps developers enter new languages and prevents us from doing repetitive tasks. Once again it is a collaborative process between AI and humans where I as a developer decide which suggested version best suits my needs and style and where I need to learn how to talk to the AI.
ChatGPT is a personal tutor, an expert advisor on any topic, and just a friendly robot to talk with. Personally, I already asked it to explain subject matters to me, had it generate outlines and sections for blog posts, and help me write a game. And every time I was amazed!
You can try ChatGPT for free at chat.openai.com.
What all AIs to date have in common is the need for Human-AI-Collaboration. To get the best out of Text-to-Image you need an artist, to get Copilot super productive, you need a developer. And I am not sure whether this need for the "knowledgable user" will go away any time soon.
What also became apparent is that all of us need to learn a new skill! We need to learn how to talk with AI. Same as the introduction of the calculator into Math lessons at school, this will ultimately and fundamentally change how we address problems and find solutions.
I hope for a world of free creativity and personal tutors, where humans can focus on being human. On being social and creative beings with machines taking over more and more of the "work". Within AI I see the potential for such a world within our lifetime!