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Robots Can Draw, Too

BY Alex HughesOctober 28, 2018

Giant Blue Robot - Probably an AI Genius

Guys, I don’t know if you’ve heard – but AI is a thing now.

From self-driving cars to shops where you can buy a KitKat by picking it up and walking out the shop, the world is turning into a utopia for introverts like me. But even now, at peak-AI hype, I still don’t think anyone realises the potential that AI has.

Boat, prepare to be rocked.

I think one of the fundamental problems we have with AI, is that there’s this idea that there are some jobs, even whole industries, where AI simply can’t compete with humans. That AI will in fact never compete with humans. Listen to the Grandmaster of Go trash-talking the very idea of AI, just before he was trounced in a match against AI (which was also a great documentary you should totally watch).

We’re harbouring this collective self-delusion that AI is only going to take the jobs of other people. The more optimistic of us are even going so far as to say that AI is leading us down a magical path, to a planet where all the fun, artsy jobs – painting, literature, music, cooking – are all left to the humans, whilst AI does all the nitty-gritty dirty work.

Sorry folks, but the last I checked capitalism is still a thing.

And the one thing I’ve learned in startups is, if there is value left on the table – someone is going to step up and fill that niche. Just because you don’t *want* robots to take those good jobs like being a musician or artist, doesn’t mean that the terminator isn’t going to come-a-knocking with a paintbrush in tow.

You know, I think this might be one of the main reasons nobody has as yet whipped out their Luddite batons. The idea that AI is only getting rid of the boring jobs. Nobody in a position of power seems to care that retailers and lorry drivers are going to lose their jobs, but what happens when AI starts taking the jobs of doctors and lawyers?

Then things are going to get interesting.

So, just for giggles, I’m going to list all the AI projects that have already been built, that are already making money in all these supposed ivory tower industries.

 

MUSIC

If you’ve been keeping up with Tim Ferris’ new book, you’ve probably heard of Brain.fm. It’s a monthly subscription service to listen to music produced by AI, that’s designed to help you stay focused.

And you know what? It actually works.

That’s why I fork out $40 a year to listen to it. And seriously, how many musicians can say they make that much per album?

Let’s be honest, the last time I bought a CD, Eminem was blonde.

 

COOKING

Mate, you already know it’s a thing.

Meet Moley. It’s a robot chef consisting of floating hands. It already knows a hundred meals. It’s awesome.

Free Startup idea: Use that hardware and build a platform where developers can upload the steps so that the Moley can make any meal, and charge people a monthly service to access infinite recipes. Basically Netflix, but for food.

(You’re welcome, btw).

 

LITERATURE

If you’ve been on the darker corners of the internet lately, you’ve probably seen this Harry Potter fan fiction floating about.

It’s hilarious.

Guess who wrote it? Yep, written by a robot.

We’ve built algorithms you can download for free that take in vast amounts of data from books, and then happily go off and write their own material based on what they consume.

At this point, I wouldn’t even be surprised if Dan Brown and Stephen King are actually just stooges for cutting-edge AI technology.

Can someone please tell George R.R. Martin?

 

VIDEO

I have a Masters degree in Computer Science, and I still don’t understand what’s going on here.

But the long and short of it seems to be; YouTube has been taken over by AI-generated videos that are targeted at children.

Yes, we live in the future now.

And guess what? Millions of children are eating it up. Thousands of people are already making money from AI-generated video, and we’re only scratching the creepy surface of where this technology is leading us.

 

ART

Check this painting out:

Pixellated Portrait of a Man Created by AI Robot
Via Morning Brew via Christie’s

 

Last week, this painting called Edmond de Belamy sold for a whopping $432,500. That’s over 40x the initial estimate. And it was created by an algorithm developed by Obvious – A French art collective.

You can’t tell me that a painting sold for nearly half a million dollars, and that industry isn’t going to get flooded by startups improving that technology to make better and more interesting paintings that don’t look like that botched Jesus fresco.

I just want to say, I’m not saying robots are going to take all our jobs and humanity is doomed.

But I am saying, any time a friend tells you that software can’t do something – you should be extremely sceptical. At the end of the day, most things humans do are just processes. Processes are just recipes. And robots, well they’re the best cooks in the business.

But, let’s end with some good news.

We’re living in the golden age of startups. With a bit of luck, funding, and AI knowhow, there’s an opportunity right now that has never before existed – to build products to dominate industries that nobody is expecting to be dominated by AI.

All you have to do is invent the next Picasso.

AUTHOR

Alex Hughes

Full-Stack Engineer