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Review: The AI and Creative Meetup in London
By Yasmin Chamchoun
Last month, I was thrilled at the opportunity to attend The AI and Creativity Meetup event, hosted at the fabulous Omnibus theatre in the trendy area of Clapham Junction, London. With the theatres captivating entrance and the hosts warm welcome, I knew from the offset I that I was in for a wonderful evening.
The evening kicked off with a free mini workshop lead by expert data scientist Dr. Stylianos Kampakis, CEO of The Tesseract Academy who is also the organiser of the AI and Creativity Meetup group. The aim of the workshop was to provide a quick yet thorough insight into how AI and data science can be used in the creative industries. Having been involved in AI and Data Science for over a decade, as well as spending the last six months working alongside the phenomenal artist Jack Oat using AI to create AI-based images, Dr Stylianos Kampakis passion for both AI and art really shone through.
One key technique he discussed which I found really fascinating was something called ‘style transfer’. This process consists of feeding two or more images to a pretrained network which then creates a whole new image using features from the initial images inserted. For example, you may like the colour palates from one image and also like the scenery or an object you captured from another image, this VGG Network can then combine the two or even three to create your uniquely ideal image. Now, doesn’t that sound remarkable yet surreal!
Dr. Kampakis concluded the workshop by sharing some useful tools for deep learning suitable for programmers and coders. For example, those just starting out he suggested using Keras to apply the skills they have learned. More on Dr. Kampakis work with AI and art was shared in a recent blogpost he wrote which can be found here. The Tesseract Academy also provides some free resources and tools on data science and blockchain which are available to download online, which I’m sure many particularly business owners will find beneficial.
Next, Tapiwa Senah the founder and CEO of LookCard took to the stage to discuss the role of AI in the fashion industry. In 2016, Tapiwa and his co-ceo Yasmin Senah made it their goal to create a platform that could “provide smart shopping and fashion business solutions using targeted & effective marketing communication with precision selections and filtering using data science technology”. They found a gap in the industry where AI can be used in order to see a flawless digital version of yourself. This is how LookCard came to be born. Tapiwa also provided a comprehensive talk into how humans learn from their day-to-day experiences whereas machines on the other hand learn from data. He reinforced the message that the “data we give is not free”, but in fact we give it to all these companies, social media platforms which therefore makes it valuable. He believes that “the future is in smart shopping”, and with increasing number of style and fashion apps popping up, the future might well in fact be as that!
After two exceptional and informative sessions, it was time for a networking break so everyone headed to the theatre’s quirky café downstairs. With a lovely atmosphere and an impressive menu I was spoilt with choice. I went for a café latte and a slice of carrot cake, which I must say was very scrumptious! I also enjoyed a lovely chat with Yasmin Senah the co-ceo of LookCard who filled me in on her very impressive background in personal styling and creative design. I also had the pleasure in meeting Emma Stannard a theatre actress who most recently played a leading role in the short run Ofcom ‘Room Service’, a play which explores the relationship between man and machine.
Overall, the evening was very delightful. Both sessions I attended were instructive and engaging and I got to meet some wonderful individuals. If you are ever looking for a free yet educational evening in London and you have an interest in emerging technologies and their intersection with the art world, then I highly recommend attending their future events, which you can follow here.
On that note, I do believe that AI and data science are increasingly revolutionizing many industries and not just the art and fashion world. In the future, I am intrigued to see how far the influence of AI could really stretch. One day we may even see robots walking the catwalk…you just never know!