Digital artwork competition sees contestants use artificial intelligence to paint the future of humanity

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MindSpore is an open-source AI framework for device, edge and cloud scenarios aimed at creating a new AI programming paradigm to make application development and deployment nimbler and more efficient. MindSpore is also a community that grows alongside developers, facilitating knowledge and skill exchanges, as well as new forms of collaboration.

In September, Huawei held the Wukong-Huahua AI Fine-Tuning and Application Competition, themed “Science Fiction and Creativity”. It invited AI developers from around the world to either fine-tune the Wukong-Huahua foundation model to create AI-generated content (AIGC) works, or create applications based on the model.

The Wukong-Huahua foundation model is a diffusion model that can generate images based on Chinese text, and was jointly developed by three Huawei teams, including its Noah’s Ark Lab, Central Software Institute lab and the Ascend Computing Domain. The model combines the MindSpore AI framework with Ascend Atlas’ hardware.

The foundation model has been trained using the Wukong Dataset, which is the largest multimodal, Chinese-language open-source data set in the world. The model can generate high-quality images depicting different scenes in a variety of styles.

The winning teams from Huawei’s competition were awarded their prizes during the 81st World Science Fiction Convention, which was held in October at the Chengdu Science Fiction Museum in China’s Sichuan province. Photo: Red Star News/VCG via Getty Images

Six teams from the competition were awarded first, second and third prizes at the “Science Fiction vs Science Fact” salon, held by Huawei at the Chengdu Science Fiction Museum during the 81st World Science Fiction Convention, also known as WorldCon, in October. The salon saw panellists including MindSpore’s Hu, Wang Jinkang, director of the China Science Writers Association’s Science Fiction Creation Research Center, and award-winning sci-fi writers Nnedi Okorafor and Yu Kun discuss the impact that AI technology could have on humanity’s future.

The competition had three sub-themes – “The Symbiosis Era”, “Science Fiction China” and “Extracts from Your Favourite Science Fiction Works” – designed to encourage sci-fi enthusiasts and budding developers of AI-generated content to leverage AI to create their own science-fiction universes.

For several winners, the fusion of AI and sci-fi produced works that pushed the envelope. Liu Guoye, who majors in digital media technology at the School of Art and Design of Guangdong University of Technology, competed in a team that created an artwork titled The Era of Symbiosis. He and his teammate, Peng Zijuan, both completed the work under the instruction of their university teacher, Jia Lifeng, and were awarded second prize.

The Era of Symbiosis was one of the winning entries in the Wukong-Huahua AI Fine-Tuning and Application Competition. The artwork portrays a futuristic vision where humans embrace mechanical bodies as a means of survival.

“My painting shows a future where people and machines coexist,” Liu says of the work, which depicts a female figure clad in mechanical armour that enhances her longevity. “Technology and humans have a harmonious and symbiotic relationship.”

Zijuan, who is majoring in the experience design direction of industrial design, adds: “I drew a picture of harmonious coexistence between technology and human beings. Technology serves humans in many aspects, such as autonomous driving and replacing humans in high-risk tasks. Humans are also constantly optimising the quality of life with the help of AI’s efficiency.”

It was not just students who took up the challenge. Yuan Bo, an architectural designer with nearly 20 years’ experience, saw the competition online and “was attracted by the intriguing yet challenging theme”. He decided to try his hand and took home third prize.

Bo applied his knowledge as an architect and learned how to use the AI tools to create his artwork. He used data sets to fine-tune Wukong-Huahua’s painting model and quickly generated the work based on his ideas.

Bo’s artwork, titled Ocean Age City, depicts a future world in which mankind starts anew after civilisation is destroyed by man-made technology and a fightback by nature. “As the continent’s ecology changes, humans have to flee the homeland for their survival and are forced to gradually migrate to the ocean,” Bo says.

Another artwork that emerged from the Wukong-Huahua AI Fine-Tuning and Application Competition, titled Ocean Age City, depicts a world where human settlements have been constructed under the ocean.

His work depicts an oceanic city, with buildings made of hi-tech materials. “We can clearly see the structure and technological facilities inside the city,” Bo explains. “I added some elements of future technology, such as flying cars and suspended islands’ ecology.”

He adds: “What this painting wants to express is that technology has unlimited possibilities for the future of mankind, and it can change the way we live and think.”

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