What is AI-Driven NFT Art? Interview with Korean Artist CS Lim

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CS LIM is a Korean AI media artist who trains AI models to explore their own algorithms through art, creating stunning works of imagination and originality.

“I try to express the concept of the multiverse that many concepts in modern physics indicate in common”, said Lim, whose interests in physics and modern astronomy have led him through multiple careers, including AI developer and now rising artistic star within the Tezos NFT ecosystem.

“While researching image creation as an AI developer, I found a way to visualize the concept of the multiverse nicely. Since then, this has become the main theme of my work, and I am trying to develop it in various ways.”

Lim said that his first encounter with AI came about when he was part of a company creating an object recognition algorithm for an autonomous vehicle. The vehicle had to recognize things like pedestrians, signs, and preceding vehicles. Lim said the attraction to study deep learning algorithms was almost a natural extension of his day job.

“And when I saw the news that Christie’s was holding an auction for works made using AI, I thought it was very interesting, but I didn’t know if I could use AI to make art,” he said.

More from a sense of fun and self-satisfaction than anything else, Lim started to play around by creating an AI that reinterprets traditional painting. Lim said his launch into being a full-time artist because of his early exploration is an unexpected development.

Machine-driven art (but not a machine artist)

On the somewhat esoteric question of who is the artist – the person who programs the AI or the AI itself – Lim is firm. “I think artificial intelligence (AI) is just a tool”, he said, “somewhat like an advanced version of Photoshop.”

Like Photoshop, AI can be controlled to produce the desired result according to the will and intention of the artist. However, the operation method used is very different from existing tools, so budding AI artists need to familiarize themselves with the basic concepts at play.

“We’ve got the amazing magic wand-like tools at our disposal now, but we’re still trying to figure out how to use them correctly.”

According to Lim, not only does the power of these new machine tools sometimes confuse the artist, but they also have their limitations.

The bias in the learned data can dramatically change the behavior of an AI and affect the outcomes. Lim said he believes that for the best results, the designer and user of the AI for artistic endeavors must be one and the same person.

“Exploring the world created by AI sometimes feels like a dream”, said Lim, “I secretly explore this little universe, collecting images I want to share with our real world.”

“I have developed several ways of evolving memory into specific forms within the AI’s brain, thus driving the AI’s ‘dreams’ in the intended direction. I’ve been watching it for years, but it’s always as mysterious as a new experience.”

Minting NFTs on the Tezos blockchain

Lim said he chose the Tezos blockchain on which to mint his original NFT art was because of its relative simplicity and efficiency compared to other blockchains. “I used to think that Tezos’ NFT infrastructure was lacking and had no major advantages, but now the situation is completely different. Tezos’ NFT ecosystem has achieved great growth and has a mature community culture. I believe that this mutually friendly community will also nourish the Tezos NFT to go further.”

Asia’s opportunity

Lim said that for Asia especially – with millions still economically marginalized – the rise of the new NFT economy presents an economic opportunity for many. “We had to start the game in an unequal environment because we were late to participate in the global ecosystem created by developed countries”, he said. “A fair game cannot be played on a sloped playground.”

“I think blockchain and NFT culture are very meaningful in that they can balance this slanted playground and help ensure fair competition into the future.”

Tagalog

Si CS LIM ay isang Korean AI media artist na nagte-train ng AI models na i-explore ang sarili nitong mga algorithm sa pamamagitan ng sining. Dahil dito, nakabubuo ito ng kamangha-manghang mga likha ng imahinasyon at orihinalidad.

“I try to express the concept of the multiverse that many concepts in modern physics indicate in common” (Sinusubukan kong ipahayag ang konsepto ng multivere na kung saan maraming konsepto sa modern physics ay nagpapahiwatig ng pagkakapareho), sabi ni Lim, na ang interes sa physics at modern astronomy ang nagdala sa kanya sa iba’t ibang career, kabilang rito ang pagiging AI developer niya at ngayon ang pagiging prominenteng imahe niya sa Tezos NFT ecosystem.

“While researching image creation as an AI developer, I found a way to visualize the concept of the multiverse nicely. Since then, this has become the main theme of my work, and I am trying to develop it in various ways.” (Habang ako ay nagsasaliksik tungkol sa image creation bilang isang AI developer, nakahanap ako ng paraan para i-visualize nang maayos ang konsepto ng multiverse. Simula noon, ito na ang naging pinakatema ng aking mga gawa, at sinusubukan kong i-develop ito sa iba’t ibang paraan.)

Ayon kay Lim, ang unang encounter niya sa AI ay nangyari noong siya pa ay bahagi ng isang kompanya na gumagawa ng isang object recognition algorithm para sa isang autonomous vehicle. Ang sasakyang ito ay dapat makakilala ng mga bagay na tulad ng pedestrian, signs, at mga nauunang sasakyan. Ayon kay Lim, ang pagkahumaling niya sa pag-aral ng deep learning algorithm ay halos naging natural nang ekstensyon ng kaniyang trabaho sa araw-araw.

“And when I saw the news that Christie’s was holding an auction for works made using AI, I thought it was very interesting, but I didn’t know if I could use AI to make art” (At noong nakita ko ang balita na si ang Christie’s ay nagsagawa ng auction para sa likha na gawa gamit ang AI, naisip kong ito ay kaakit-akit, pero hindi ko alam kung magagamit ko ang AI sa paggawa ng isang likhang sining), he said.

Higit sa katuwaan at self-satisfaction, si Lim ay nagsimulang sumubok ng mga bagong bagay sa pamamagitan ng pagbuo niya ng isang AI na kayang mag-reinterpret ng isang traditional painting. Sabi ni Lim, ang pagpasok niya sa pagiging full-time artist dahil sa kaniyang maagang eksplorasyon ay isang ‘di inaasahang pagkakataon.

Machine-driven art (pero hindi isang machine artist)

Sa tanong na kung sino ba ang artist – ang taong nagprogram ng AI o ang AI mismo – si Lim ay tiyak. “I think artificial intelligence (AI) is just a tool” (Sa tingin ko, ang artificial intelligence (AI) ay isa lamang kasangkapan), sabi niya , “somewhat like an advanced version of Photoshop.” (Tila isang advanced na bersyon lamang ng Photoshop.)

Tulad ng Photoshop, ang AI ay maaari makontrol upang makagawa ng ninanais na resulta ayon na rin sa kagustuhan at intensyon ng artist. Subalit ang operation method na ginamit ay malayo sa kasalukuyang kasangkapan, kaya kailangan ng mga papausbong na AI artist na maging pamilyar sa mga mahahalagang konsepto na kailangang alamin.

“We’ve got the amazing magic wand-like tools at our disposal now, but we’re still trying to figure out how to use them correctly.” (Mayroon tayo ngayong mga tila magic wand na kasangkapang maaaring nang maipamahagi, pero sinisubukan pa naming alamin kung paano ito gamitin nang tama.)

Ayon kay Lim, ang problema ay hindi lang sa kung paano nagdadala ng kalituhan ang kakayahan ng mga bagong machine tool na ito, pati na rin ang mga limitasyon nito.

Kayang mabago ng bias sa learned data ang behavior ng isang AI at maapektuhan ang mga kalalabasan nito. Sabi ni Lim, naniniwala siyang para magkaroon ng magandang resulta, ang designer at ang user ng AI para sa malakhaing hangarin ay dapat iisa at parehong tao lamang.

“Exploring the world created by AI sometimes feels like a dream” (Ang eksplorasyon sa mundo na ginawa ng AI ay minsan parang isang panaginip.), said Lim, “I secretly explore this little universe, collecting images I want to share with our real world.” (Lihim kong ginagalugad ang maliit na mundong ito, at dito ako kumukuha ng mga larawang nais kong ibahagi sa ating tunay na mundo.)

“I have developed several ways of evolving memory into specific forms within the AI’s brain, thus driving the AI’s ‘dreams’ in the intended direction. I’ve been watching it for years, but it’s always as mysterious as a new experience.” (Nakapag-develop ako ng maraming paraan ng pagpapa-evolve ng memorya sa iba’t ibang espesipikong anyo na nasa utak ng AI, kaya napapatakbo ang ‘dream’ ng AI sa nilalayong direksyon. Pinagmamasdan ko ito sa loob na ng maraming taon, pero ito ay laging mahiwaga na tila laging isang bagong karanasan.)

Pag-mint ng mga NFT sa Tezos blockchain

Ayon kay Lim, pinili niya ang Tezos blockchain bilang lugar kung saan niya nais i-mint ang kanyang orihinal na NFT art dahil sa pagiging simple at episyente nito kumpara sa ibang mga blockchain. 

“I used to think that Tezos’ NFT infrastructure was lacking and had no major advantages, but now the situation is completely different. Tezos’ NFT ecosystem has achieved great growth and has a mature community culture. I believe that this mutually friendly community will also nourish the Tezos NFT to go further.” (Dati iniisip kong kulang ang Tezos NFT sa infrasctructure at walang malaking advantage, pero ang sitwasyon ay iba na ngayon. Ang NFT ecosystem ng Tezos ay nakapagkamit na ng malaking paglago at may mature nang community culture. Naniniwala ako na ang nagkakasundong komunidad na ito ang magpapalusog sa Tezos NFT upang ito ay lalo pang sumulong)

Oportunidad ng Asya

Ayon kay Lim, ang Asya – lalo na ngayong milyon pa rin ang nanatili sa kahirapan – ang pag-usbong ng bagong NFT economy ay nagbibigay ng economic opportunity para sa marami. 

“We had to start the game in an unequal environment because we were late to participate in the global ecosystem created by developed countries” (Kailangan nating simulan ang laro sa isang hindi pantay na kapiligiran sapagkat nahuhuli na tayo sa pagsali sa global ecosystem na binuo ng developed countries.), sabi niya. “A fair game cannot be played on a sloped playground.” (Ang isang patas na laro ay hindi maaaring laruin sa isang ‘di pantay na palaruan.)

“I think blockchain and NFT culture are very meaningful in that they can balance this slanted playground and help ensure fair competition into the future.” (Sa tingin ko ang blockchain at ang NFT culture ay nakapamakabuluhan sapagkat nababalanse nito ang ‘di pantay na palaruan at natutulungan nitong masiguro ang isang patas na kompetisyon sa hinaharap.)

This article is published in collaboration with TZ APAC: What is AI-Driven NFT Art? Interview with Korean Artist CS Lim

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