Oct 19, 2018

AI paints a self-portrait

Image: IBM Research

Accompanying an NYT series on artificial intelligence today is a piece of art — seen above — that’s very unlike the newspaper's usual imagery: It represents AI, and it’s drawn by AI.

Why it matters: Artists are using increasingly powerful machine-learning algorithms to help produce fiction, film, and visual art. Incapable of creativity on their own, they can be programmed to act as a formidable artistic tool.

Developed by IBM Research, the algorithms that created this image were divided into three parts that together approximated a creative process.

  • First, the system had to pick what to draw. It read about 3,000 NYT articles about AI and extracted the 30 most salient concepts, like robot, self-driving, and computing. It went on to unearth the 10 that were most representative, from which one — a human and robot shaking hands — was chosen.
  • To build its own version, a generative adversarial network, or GAN, was trained on more than 1,000 existing images to create new ones.
  • To match the newspaper’s style, a final step sampled past NYT imagery and applied the design to the AI-generated image.

Importantly, every step depended on human-generated content for training data.

  • The algorithms synthesized thousands of artworks created previously by humans to make something novel.
  • This means AI can help creative people make new things — but it can’t make something unique on its own, said John Smith, a fellow at IBM Research who worked on the project:

"Creativity itself, which is the leap of thought or imagination to create something completely new, different and valuable is still an essentially human ability."

Go deeper: AI-generated art is selling for thousands of dollars

Go deeper

Biden says he'll follow CDC mask guidance: "Listen to the Faucis of the world"

Joe Biden said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that he will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new recommendation that people wear face coverings when they leave home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: After the White House announced the guideline last week, President Trump said he will likely not wear a mask and emphasized that the guidance was "voluntary."

Louisiana governor says state will run out of ventilators on April 9

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that modeling projects his state will run out of ventilators for coronavirus patients on April 9 and hospital beds on April 11.

Why it matters: New York is the only state in the country with a worse per-capita death rate than Louisiana, where around 12,500 people have been infected and 409 have been killed.

Go deeperArrow34 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 1,216,422 — Total deaths: 65,711 — Total recoveries: 252,478Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 312,245 — Total deaths: 8,503 — Total recoveries: 15,021Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. The virus is hitting poor, minority communities harder and upending childbirth.
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. "We're having the convention at the end of August."
  5. Business updates: Restaurants step up for health care workers. Employees are pressuring companies to provide protections during coronavirus.
  6. Oil latest: Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  7. Education update: Many college-age students won't get coronavirus relief checks.
  8. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.