We came across this art/computing mashup made in heaven by Alan thanks to Hackster.io. Alan wanted a more aesthetically pleasing way to check the weather forecast: he came up with this abstract idea in which a Picasso-style painting displays physical weather conditions, such as rain (figures holding umbrellas) and wind (swirling patterns in the sky).
Picasso may have been one of the most celebrated artists of all time, but this project is simpler than it looks.
How does it work?
Alan’s system obtains weather information with a web scraper built using Beautiful Soup, a Python library for pulling data out of web pages. Real Python has a tutorial for building a web scraper like this; Alan’s picks up words relating to the day’s forecast. Then ChatGPT creates a simple story using the scraped data, by glomming onto words like “sunny” and “cloud”. The ChatGPT prompt tells it that “You are a very creative and interesting writer,” in order to make it spin as imaginative a story as possible.
The system next sends the story to AI image generator DALL-E 2, which transmits a pictorial representation of the narrative in the style of Picasso to a Raspberry Pi Pico via an Ethernet connection. The Pico then outputs DALL-E 2’s picture for display on the LCD screen, and the user gets to see a Picasso-esque image telling them what the weather is like.
- W5100S-EVB-Pico (furnishes the Pico with Ethernet connectivity)
- Seeed Studio OLED Display
But is it art?
I haven’t the time to debate whether “paintings” created this way count as real art or not, so I’ll just say that, here, ChatGPT has created what looks like a Picasso if Picasso had injected some Dalí-style surrealism throughout his Blue Period. Stylistically similar to the human genius but not quite on the money. Also, I’ve just got why the AI image generator is called Dall-E. Hilarious.
I’m still scarred by the Women laughing alone with salad trend in AI-generated images so am wary of this artificial interference in the art world, but if anything could change my mind, it’d be this cutesy desktop weather vane. It also reminds me of this very similar project, which used an e-ink screen displayed on a bookshelf showing poems written by ChatGPT to tell the time. There were some absolute bangers (and abominations) of two-line poems submitted in the comments section when we blogged about it, and there’s always room for more…