Artificial intelligence has the potential to do some amazing and frightening things. On the more “amazing” end of the spectrum is new experimental software from Nvidia called GauGAN. The software is essentially a magical version of Microsoft Paint. The way it works is a human user draws a rudimentary sketch of a scene, such as mountains in the distance with a lake and a field in the foreground. These three elements would only be drawn incredibly simplistically in the program–basically as flat fields of color.
And then the AI in GauGAN takes over. It replaces the flat, 2D color that was used to sketch the mountains with photorealistic mountains and the flat blue shape of water with the photorealistic image of a lake–complete with the reflection of the mountains in the lake. Want to add a waterfall to the mountains? No prob, just draw a simple blue line down your rudimentary sketch, and now in the photorealistic interpretation of your drawing, a lifelike waterfall flows down the mountains into the lake.
You can see GauGAN do all this in real time in the video below. It’s nothing short of amazing but is also a frightening reminder that AI could make many human jobs, even the humble artist, obsolete in the coming years.