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TECH-NOW-LOGY: Get artistic with artificial intelligence

Creative licence can lie with a machine too. Find out how

TECH-NOW-LOGY: Get artistic with artificial intelligence
Welcome to the world of artificial intelligence, also known as AI.

By Shubhangi Shah

There was once a time when you needed a sketchbook, colours, brushes, and a whole lot of artistic talent to create a piece of art. Now, you just need to cultivate the skill of feeding the right command to a computer programme, and voila, you get your very own piece of art. And no, you do not need to be a coder for this. Welcome to the world of artificial intelligence, also known as AI.

While this one is a very specific instance, we have been using this technology inadvertently quite often. How do you think Apple’s Siri responds to your voice commands, or chatbots on various websites interact with you? Remember IBM’s Deep Blue chess programme that defeated Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov in the 1990s? That win is seen as a milestone in the field of AI, where the machine’s intelligence trumped the human’s genius.

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What does it even mean?
For the uninitiated, AI refers to the simulation of human intelligence by a machine. It is done by feeding the machine data and turning that into actionable information based on a set of rules. These rules are algorithms or a step-by-step guide on what to do next. To improve accuracy over time, these algorithms are finetuned further. Take the case of chatbots. These are fed information in the form of text chats so that they can have real-life interactions with people.

It would not be an understatement to say that in some tasks, AI is better than humans, especially those that require sieving through a lot of data. The machine, in this case, is faster, more efficient, and creates fewer errors. No wonder the field of AI has blown up with this technology being the heart of many businesses.

Interestingly, you can too take benefit of this technology using the several AI-focused apps and websites available online.

AI at your service
Building your own website can be tedious, even almost possible. Or is it? Have you heard of Wix.com? It is an AI-powered website builder, that aids you to create your own website just by following the commands the website tells you. You do not need any coding knowledge whatsoever and is a very convenient, easy-to-use, and time-efficient way to come up with your own website just by clicking here and there a few times. GoDaddy and Weebly are some other websites that you can try.

What a relief Google translator is in some situations, especially when you find yourself in a foreign land. The New York Times had termed it ‘The Great AI Awakening’.

Apple’s Siri is another example. It uses what is called a weak AI, which is trained to do a specific task. Then there is the strong AI, which comes close to mimicking the human brain’s cognitive abilities. For example, when faced with an unfamiliar task, it navigates its way through using fuzzy logic and arrives at a logical conclusion.

Making writing a bit easier is Grammarly, an AI-powered writing assistance tool. It corrects grammar and can even do a sentiment analysis by understanding the tone of the text.

Navigation tools, such as Google Maps, too, have AI at their heart to suggest you the correct route based on traffic and other elements.

There are even AI art generators, in which you just have to enter a command of what kind of art you want to create. It can be as simple as ‘Shaolin monk at an ancient Indian Buddhist temple’, and that’s it! The machine comes up with a painting that fits the bill. There are several AI art generators that you can try, such as Nightcafe, Google’s Deep Dream Generator, and Artbreeder.

If you think creating art this way is outlandish, think of music. AI has even powered machines to create music. There are websites you can try such as Boomy and SOUNDRAW, which allow you to create your own music, just by clicking a few times.

An interesting tool is Google’s Poem Portrait, which uses your selfie, combines it with words of your choice, and generates your very own portrait overlaid with poetry. On the other hand, Microsoft’s Captionbot.ai aids you by coming up with captions for your image. There are even Instagram engagement predictors, such as Phlanx and Lisa, which tells you which images you can upload for the most traction.

Probably a more utilitarian one is Socratic, an app you can use when stuck in your homework. Just ask Socratic and it will come up with a possible solution. So try these tools and give the machine’s intelligence a chance.

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