Logo Genielab

Empowering youth to put the “art” in artificial intelligence

© Google (generated by Google Deep Dream)

Artificial intelligence, that elusive field of study associated with Siri, robot rebellions, and Instagram face filters. Here at Génielab, our aim is to make tech–including artificial intelligence–more accessible to all. Thanks to funding from the Minister of Culture and Communications, we partnered up with the Réseau BIBLIO de l’Outaouais to run a Cyber Intelligence Workshop Series to introduce youth to the field of artificial intelligence, and teach them how they can use it to make their own unique works of visual and sound art.

So, what IS artificial Intelligence, and how can we use it to make art?

At its most basic level, artificial intelligence (AI) involves programming a machine to recognize what is being asked of it, and giving it the instructions to respond to that question. For example, a social media face filter is programmed to recognize that it is seeing a face by seeking out specific light patterns that tell it which way the head is oriented (vertical, tilted to the left, etc.). Once the program has determined that it is looking at a face, it is programmed to recognize different facial features that tell it where to put a kitten’s snout and ears.

There are infinite possibilities when it comes to making art using artificial intelligence. AI gives you the power to create unique art by generating and combining images of objects, animals, and people based on images it has seen before. It can be used to morph one object into another, as the AI is an expert at detecting similar shapes and is programmed to transition between them:

AI can be used to modify the style of an image, like this photograph of New York City taken by a Génielab team member that was transposed into the style of Monet.

Artificial intelligence is the mastermind behind “deepfakes”: where one face is swapped with another in a photo or video. Using artificial intelligence, we can put Ariana in the shoes of Thor: 

The project: Series of FREE online workshops on cybernetic intelligence offered by the Réseau BIBLIO de l'Outaouais

In spring of 2021, the GénieLab team partnered with the Réseau BIBLIO de l’Outaouais to animate Cyber Intelligence workshops series in French and English, reaching 57 youth over the course of the two-month project. Youth aged 10-17 participated, diving into our three engaging workshops and unleashing their creativity.

Workshop 1: How to spot an AI

This workshop served as an interactive introduction to the topic of artificial intelligence, and answered the following questions: What is artificial intelligence? How do we train artificial intelligence? How do we use AI in everyday life? Using the whichfaceisreal.com application, participants learned how to recognize if an image was created by an AI, or if it was a photo of a real person. Try it out yourself HERE

Workshop 2: Creating Visual Works with Cybernetic Intelligence

Participants had the opportunity to explore the creative potential of “human/machine” collaboration through visual arts. In this workshop, participants immersed themselves in freely available web-based learning technology tools to create visual art. Make your own masterpiece HERE

Workshop 3: Drop Beats and Rhymes using Cyborg Intelligence

AI can be used not only for visual arts, but for writing songs and making unique new sounds. During the workshop, participants familiarized themselves with free web-based tools for designing and analyzing soundscapes, deepening their understanding of the link between music and artificial intelligence and putting their creativity into action by producing textures and soundscapes. Check out the possibilities HERE

Check out the workshops for yourself!

The production of these activities was made possible thanks to the financial support of from the ministre de la Culture et des Communications du Québec as part of the Rayonnement numérique programme.

For questions about the material or or for more information on how to launch a workshop series in your community