How Good is OpenAI’s DALL-E at Drawing Guitars

Published : - Author : Dan Kopilovic
Posted under: Tech World

Just this morning, I woke up with an invitation to join the DALL·E platform. In case you’re not familiar with what this is – it’s OpenAI’s innovative AI system that in theory should be able to draw anything you ask it to.

So, of course, the first thing that I requested for it to paint was something guitar-related. I decided to start with arguably the biggest name in the guitar industry – Jimi Hendrix, and one of the biggest events in rock and roll history – Woodstock 1969.

I asked DALL-E to paint me, quote “Jimi Hendrix playing a white Fender Stratocaster at Woodstock”.

The result, honestly, was not all that impressive. It seems that the AI system was designed in a way that prevents it from drawing famous people’s faces, so the person that DALL-E drew for me didn’t resemble Jimi at all. This is understandable since they could run into potential legal problems down the line, in case someone ends up creating something offensive that includes a person that is well known.

So, I went for something a little bit more general. I asked DALL-E to draw me a “famous guitarist playing on stage at Woodstock 1969 festival”. This time, the result was pretty cool.

A trippy image of a guitarist, generated by DALL-E
A trippy image of a guitarist, generated by DALL-E

I can’t quite tell who this “famous guitarist” that DALL-E drew is (perhaps Jerry Garcia?), but it’s kinda funny that it decided that he should play a Duesenberg guitar – a guitar company that didn’t even exist in 1969.

So, to see whether DALL-E can actually distinguish between guitar brands and models, I simply asked it to draw me a “person playing a Fender Stratocaster guitar in Guitar Center”.

For some reason, the AI decided that the person needed an extra hand (don’t we all), but overall, the image looked impressive. That is indeed a Fender Stratocaster, no mistake about that.

DALL-E drawing of a person playing a Fender Stratocaster guitar.
DALL-E drawing of a person playing a Fender Stratocaster guitar.

So, this is pretty cool, but also pretty boring, right? Anyone can take a photo of a person playing the guitar, but not everyone can paint a cool picture, of let’s say – “person playing his guitar so hard that it catches fire”.

No problem for DALL-E here, as it seems to like it when you throw as much weird stuff at it as possible, and it prefers when you describe the image to the last detail – no matter how weird the detail is.

DALL-E’s drawing of a guitar being played so hard, it caught on fire.

To test how weird we can go, I asked it to draw Gandal and Dumbledore playing guitars with Led Zeppelin. I gotta say, even though I can see no Led Zeppelin, I’m impressed with how good these wizards look playing guitars. They both seem to be Les Paul guys, which for some reason, makes perfect sense.

Gandalf and Dumbledore playing guitars.

So, after spending probably an hour asking DALL-E to draw me the weirdest things, and spending all my credits but two, I thought what can I ask it to draw for the end?

Then I remembered seeing a lot of cool designs online when people asked the AI to draw the last day on earth – so what about the last rock concert on earth? I typed in “the last rock concert on earth before the apocalypse”, and I have gotta say, the art was amazing.

The last rock concert on earth, DALL-E, version one.
The last rock concert on earth, DALL-E, version two.

Overall, I’m impressed with how good DALL-E does, especially when you ask it to draw something abstract. And with how good these AI systems seem to work today, one can’t help but wonder how long it will take until they completely replace humans. Furthermore, if they can draw images, what stops them from writing music? Will we be sitting here in five or ten years asking a program like DALL-E to write us a rock and roll riff?

I would like them to, just out of curiosity, but I can’t but feel some sort of dread. For example, these images are beautiful, but there’s something about them that’s unnerving. Like, the fact that they are artificial, generated by AI, just makes them weird and unnatural.

I can only hope that whenever Google, or some other tech giant, releases an AI bot that generates music, there will be some clear distinction between AI-generated songs, and human-generated songs. Otherwise, the age of humans becoming musicians and playing instruments could be behind us.

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