This Ukrainian Deeptech Startup Trained an AI to Paint the Art of War – TechCrunch – 71Bait

A Ukrainian deeptech startup is launching a charity NFT project selling AI-generated artworks with the twin goals of raising money to support people affected by Russia’s war of aggression and also, it hopes, drawing attention keeping the conflict focused as it nears its fourth month, with many in the country concerned the world’s focus is fading.

The collection of AI-generated “artworks” depicts various events, moments and people that played a role in the war – including much-reported events such as the attack on Snake Island or the fire of the Russian cruiser “Moskva”. More general scenes from the war are also shown, such as scenes of locals taking refuge in subways or the shelling of Ukrainian cities.

Another artwork (pictured above) is a portrait of the indefatigable Ukrainian President Zelenskyy — accompanied by a textual caption commemorating his refusal to leave the country shortly after Russia invaded and his request that the West send weapons instead.

The generative artworks were all rendered by the startup’s AI software in a heroic, oil-painting style.

The Sirens Gallery, as the project is called, is showing other parts of the collection on its website, which will comprise a total of almost 2,000 works of art.

The team behind the project hails from a game development-focused startup called ZibraAI, which employs most of its staff in Ukraine. As COO Roman Mogylnyi, who is also the co-founder (and former CEO) of AI Face-Swap, they used their expertise in machine learning and content generation technologies to create a neural network pipeline that generates art from text descriptions in an app , Reface – says it.

The AI ​​technology operates at the same scale as OpenAI’s DALL-E Transformer language model – which has garnered attention online in recent months as web users have been able to insert their own text prompts to get almost instant (but usually hit and Miss) ) illustrations on request.

However, in this case, the AI ​​model was trained using images from the Ukraine war – including what it looks like this iconic photo of a soldier standing in a beam of light inside the Azovstal Steelworks in Mariupol, among others.

Another of Sirens Gallery’s AI-generated artworks – features a dramatic illustration of Ukrainians preparing Molotov cocktails (Image credit: Sirens Gallery)

“We developed all the technology and tweaked it a bit based on the wartime images,” confirms Mogylnyi, who says their initial focus was on making the model’s output “look like works of art.” “It’s been fine-tuned for the events of the war, because if you just plug in some events from Mariupol in general, the usual neural networks won’t do it. Therefore, some images may look familiar…because they were in a fine-tuning data set.”

“We’ve looked at different approaches…but we always develop our own technologies,” he also tells TechCrunch, discussing how similar the technology compares to other Transformer language models. “It has text inputs that you type and then you get the artwork. There was also a lot of work done because it took quite a bit of time to make it look like real works of art – and in a good way.”

The style of the artworks deliberately creates a heroic (or tragic-heroic) look. And using AI to automate the production of such works could end up opening a new chapter in the history of wartime propaganda art, depending on how impactful this type of material proves to be.

“We wanted to commend the courage of the people of Ukraine who are doing different things, from volunteering to fighting,” confirms Mogylnyi, adding, “We chose the events.”

He also says the team did a lot of human curation – saying they probably generated between 3x and 4x more images overall to narrow the siren collection to a total of 1,991 images known as NFTs (aka non-) are offered for sale. fungible tokens, or, more simply, digital collectibles), starting Friday – with a goal of raising up to $2 million for their two chosen local charities. (The starting price per NFT is $100.)

The two Ukrainian charities the team hopes to support are Dobro.ua, which focuses on helping children in hospitals during the war; and Unchain.fund — a “crypto-native” charity that it says aims to provide timely humanitarian assistance to war-affected Ukrainians, such as sending cash payments to mothers directly to a mobile wallet.

The charity’s crypto wallets have been integrated into a smart contract of the Sirens NFT sales – this means that the funds raised should be transferred to them right after the sales are completed. “By purchasing Sirens Gallery NFTs, buyers are directly helping to save children and adults who are suffering and are at risk from the war in Ukraine,” the team adds.

The first drop of 661 NFT artworks will take place on OpenSea this Friday, followed by two more drops of a similar number of NFTs in the coming weeks.

When asked why the team decided to sell the AI-generated war artworks as NFTs – which requires a certain level of crypto knowledge on the part of the buyers (potentially limiting the circle of people who can support the project) – Mogylnyi replies, emphasizing Ukraine’s “technology spirit”, which he says is driving the eager embrace of Web3 technologies.

He also points to how much cryptocurrency the Ukrainian government has been able to raise to support the war effort and for humanitarian causes by encouraging crypto donations – further noting that the country’s Ministry of Digital Transformation is an official supporter of the Sirens project is and will be presentation of the NFTs for sale. “They have a link on their website where they show the NFT collections they support and which are raising money for donations to Ukraine.”

Leave a Comment