We ask AI to take us on a tour of Wellington – it was weird

We asked an AI image generator to show us Wellington – here’s how it got on.

A picnic in Summer

By Hannah Mahon
Images by DALL-E

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AI (Artificial Intelligence) has been a fascinating, and somewhat daunting topic. It already controls the smart assistants in our phones, recommends new shows we should watch, and even powers self-driving carsnow it’s taking on the art world.

Imagine going to the Louvre to admire Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, trying to work out the meaning behind her smile, only to learn Da Vinci had written a phrase into an AI image generator. Do the colours and intentional-looking ‘paint strokes’ become void?

Put simply AI is the simulation of human intelligence processed by a computer system. AI artwork generated by an algorithmthe system ‘learnt’ information which could then be used to create a new image. Humans may have gathered the data or written instructions for the system to use, but the process of creation is done by AI.

The city from Mount Victoria lookout
The cable car
People jumping off the wharf

Eating ice cream outside Te Papa

One of the leading AI artwork-generating systems is DALL-E. DALL-E is an artificial intelligence system that can generate realistic images from the description of a scene or object. The software’s name is a portmanteau of WALL-E, the loveable Pixar robot, and surrealist artist Salvador Dali.

With these AI art generators, anyone can be an artist with a fine-tuned prompt. So should we be worried about AI replacing artists?

Victoria University PhD candidate in Artificial Intelligence, Harisu Abdullahi Shehu, doesn’t think so. “Artists are creative individuals that communicate ideas or feelings through their art. They think of the message and come up with an idea to design art based on that, which requires an extensive decision-making process. This isn’t something that AI techniques can currently do.”

The Beehive, Parliament
The Sunday vegetable market
The Bucket Fountain on Cuba Street

Animals at Wellington Zoo

Within the next ten years, Harisu thinks that AI will be integrated everywhere around us, and Wellington will be no exception. “I think that AI will be used in hotels and retail stores to help customers, hospitals to help in critical healthcare situations, and care homes to help elderly people among others.”

We asked Dall-e to take us on an AI-generated tour around Wellington, and this is where we went:

  • Jason Allen recently took first place in the digital category at the Colorado State Fair for his AI-generated work “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial” – try your luck entering CPotY 2024.
Oriental beach
Shopping on Cuba Street


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