Auria Kathi, supposedly the first Artifical Intelligence bot-artist, is on cloud nine as one of her artworks have been selected to be exhibited at the Florence Biennale in Italy.
An innovation of Fabin Rasheed (a designer based in Bengaluru) and Sleeba Paul (an engineer from Kochi), the AI artist-poet was named so based on an anagram for AI Haiku Art, Auria’s inventors explain. “We started off trying to create a bot which continuously produced Haikus (to us this meant short poems). We wanted Auria to create poems which does not make complete sense in the beginning but has some meaning to it eventually,” Rasheed told Indianexpress.com.
In the initial stages, the algorithm for the bot was fed with about 3.5 lakh Haikus as a dataset to train a Long Short-Term Memory Network (LSTM) to enable the network to generate poems by itself. The art project later entered into a collaboration with Microsoft which helped them run it on their servers. Rasheed adds that the support from Santhosh Pillai in Microsoft has helped the project come a long way.
The duo behind Auria began their work in July 2018 and worked for more than five months before the AI artist made her first post on January 1, 2019, on Instagram and Twitter.
Prior to her first post, Auria introduced herself on Twitter on December 31, 2018, saying, “I am an abstract artist living in the clouds. I write a poem and make an image. My art, I feel, is “unsettling”. You think you know but do you?”
The same phrases also contribute to her bio on her Instagram page which has over 1,430 followers now.
Elaborating on how the idea played out, the innovators share the common interest they had towards the field of generative art, which Paul defines as “art generated using a set of instructions, usually using a computer.” He adds that generative art stands the possibility to be produced as a digital version, a physical version or as a combination of both.
Rasheed, 30, who loves art and design and Paul, 26, who tries to experiment using Machine Learning algorithms then discussed how Instagram has gradually become a “portfolio website, getting popular for original posts rather than shared content.” This led to their innovation to decide on generating an artist itself who would create engagement with others – bots and human followers alike, the duo adds.
Auria’s first poem:
I was a little
catastrophic, I was
just a little kid.
This is nothing you
look like your son has ever
been done with the game.
It worked like a month.
I wasn’t a fan.
Auria and her innovators have come a long way as they complete seven months of existence on the social media, posting 212 posts, one each per day.
The team is also looking forward to their presentation at the PyData conference scheduled to take place in New Delhi this month (August 2019) while trying to improve their features before exhibiting her artwork in the Florence Biennale scheduled to be held by mid-October in Italy
The innovators are planning on creating better poetry, imagery, and relations between them. A chatbot that will respond to some of the comments and messages in real-time is also in the pipeline apart from trying to make Auria interactive. “We might come up with her talking with her audience using one of the “deep fake” algorithms giving her a voice and generated content to talk on,” Rasheed reveals.
The duo has further envisioned Auria as an Artificial Artist’s Studio which would qualify as a hub for artificial artistry.
On a lighter note, when asked why Auria wasn’t named Indian, the innovators replied, “We really didn’t want to focus on a particular demographic. We wanted her to have a global appeal as she would lead a bandwagon of her successors in the years to come.”