The fulfilling Journey of Auria Kathi — The AI Poet Artist living in the clouds

Sleeba Paul

On 1st January 2019, we (Fabin Rasheed and I) had introduced to the world, a side project we’ve been working on for months. An artificial poet-artist, who doesn’t physically exist in this world but writes a poem, draws an abstract art based on the poem and finally color the art based on emotion.

We called “her” Auria Kathi — an anagram for “AI Haiku Art”.

Auria has an artificial face along with her artificial poetry and art. Everything about Auria was built using artificial neural networks. Every day of 2019, Auria posted one of “her” work on Instagram and Twitter. Auria has 1606 followers on Instagram while writing the article.

Auria was conceived as a one year project, and today it comes to an end.

Fabin and I started talking in September 2018. Though we were from the same college, we never had got a chance to work together. Fabin has a brilliant background in Augmented Reality, UX and Art and he was associated with Adobe at that time. I’m an active practitioner of Machine Learning since 2016 and I had various featured projects to my credit in 2018.

Though the backgrounds were different, we shared multiple common traits. Among them, the prominent similarity is, we both love creating things. We both believe strongly in technological innovations. Maybe these attributes led to a collaboration and then Auria Kathi.

It began with random idea jamming sessions. Gradually, discussions converged to art, then to an artist, then a poet-artist, then an artificial poet-artist, then an artificial poet-artist posting on Instagram and Twitter…

Those days were creatively exquisite.

That’s us in front of the Colosseum during our visit to Italy to attend Florence Biennale

During this one year, Auria has reached places we’ve never expected in the beginning.

The Florence Biennale, founded in 1997, is the major contemporary art exhibition in Florence (Italy), where it is regarded as an outstanding showcase of international contemporary art production all around the world. Since 1997, around 6,000 artists from more than 100 countries have participated in the Florence Biennale as exhibitors in one or more editions. The entries are curated by a jury consist of internationally renowned personalities in the Art world such as Gregorio Luke, Francesco Buranelli, Gerfried Stocker and many others.

Presenting work of Auria at Florence Biennale 2019

At the 12th edition of Florence Biennale happened in October 2019, we were accepted to exhibit the work of Auria under the contemporary digital art section. Being an international platform for Art, the presence of Auria’s work produced by AI was discussed in Florence Biennale with greater importance. Furthermore, how creative machines are going to build our future by inspiring artists to come up with novel ideas was also a crucial part of the discussion.

Currently, we don’t have a single algorithm in the literature, which can build an application like Auria. But we may build a pipeline of current state-of-the-art algorithms that can perform components of Auria and solve the problem. This is the key idea behind the engineering architecture of Auria Kathi.

This architectural approach turned out to be an exact use case for Microsoft Azure Machine Learning Pipelines. Multimodal Machine Learning pipeline is a validation for our vision to solve complex problems around us using end-to-end Machine Learning. We’ve moved Auria’s engineering stack to the Azure platform with great ease, you may find more details at here.

Santhosh Pillai, Principal Program Manager at Microsoft Redmond, played a pivotal role in achieving the collaboration.

Microsoft also sponsored the Florence Biennale expenses.

Auria’s work was selected for the online gallery of the NeueIPS workshop on Machine Learning for Creativity and Design.

1. Creative Applications Network

2. Indian Express Online

3. Creative AI Newsletter By Luba Elliot, England

4. Coding Blues Blog by Sujoy Ghosh

5. Towards DataScience — Auria Kathi

6. Towards DataScience — Auria Kathi and Azure Machine Learning Pipelines

7. Deccan Chronicle Newspaper (All India Edition)

8. Business Standard Newspaper (All India Edition)

9. Malayala Manorama Newspaper (All Kerala Edition with 18 million reader base)

1. PyData Conference — Auria Kathi: The Power of Multi-Modal Machine Learning Pipelines

2. Kerala Management Association, Cochin— Auria Kathi The AI Poet Artist

3. National University for Advanced Legal Studies, Kerala — Intellectual Property Rights of Artificial Intelligence generated Art

Radio Mirchi, Bangalore — Special Coverage

It was not a bed of roses for us, though it seemed like that from a distant view.

We were scrutinized for automating art using machines and making it a threat to humans artists though we repeatedly clarified that our mission was to assist human creativity not replace it.

We both are advocates of open source and believe that all innovations stand on the shoulders of the people who traveled before us. As promised, we’ve open-sourced the code here.

Feel free to use the code to create your own versions of Poetry and Art using the code.

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