Are you an artist who can’t decide what to draw? Are you looking to hire a designer, but a computerized art slave somehow seems more appealing? Do you want to “create” but lack the skills to come up with those first few brush strokes? MidJourney AI (Artificial Intelligence, as the kids call it), uses Discord-based bots to draw pretty pictures based on the words in a chat box.
For the non-gamers, Discord is a chat platform that may feel like Slack on steroids. If you aren’t familiar with Slack, ask your favorite gamer friend about Discord in the least annoying way possible.
If you find yourself brave enough to create a Discord account and enter the “server” (a more computery name to describe the MidJourney online group), the bot allows you to enter a #newbies “channel” (think of this as a chat room) where you can watch a small group of weirdos write seemingly random prompts for the computer to draw.
Each image generation prompt starts with /imagine and then the system generates a smaller field (or box) to accept a string of words. After you’ve typed all the words you want, press return, and within seconds, the computer generates a 2×2 grid of images based on the words or phrases you entered. You can then select one of the 4 U buttons and the computer will enlarge the corresponding image for your enjoyment.
Enlarged images on the free tier are 1024×1024 pixels and the system will let you create for free, to a point. But what can be done with these images? Who owns them? What do these images teach us about the cultural biases of algorithms or the art world in general? Wait, is that a celebrity?
The release follows similar announcements of TikTok’s text-to-image generator and Meta’s Make-a-Scene. Here are some examples from MidJourney:
Here at The American Genius, we are fascinated by this technology and the resulting implications for intellectual property and the art world in general. Should artists feel threatened or welcome the seemingly effortless creative energy to inspire their next creation? We’re still exploring.