Can artificial intelligence design a shoe?
A quick run through the popular DALL-E 2 for terms like “Virgil Abloh-inspired sneaker” or “Yeezy sneaker” spits out a “best guess” that looks like unlicensed dollar boot boxes. It is useless, sterile, and lacks a narrative of what excites us about these designers. If we want AI to help “move culture forward,” these are not the machines needed for the job.
In rethinking how AI can improve design, Deep Objects has sought to create a model in which human input is primary, and to build an AI engine that democratizes the design of cultural artifacts. Created by creative studio FTR (whose credits include Nike, PUMA, Google, Marni, Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott and Daft Punk), the team has been working on the project in secret for nearly two years.
For Version 01, her first project, Deep Objects starts with sneakers, creating a “decentralized design studio” that will cut “1,000,000 options to 1”. They aim to do this with their HUE (Unsupervised Entity) AI engine: a GAN (Machine Learning Framework) model that they have been training on for two years.
Why is a decentralized design studio powered by artificial intelligence? For deep stuff, HUE is less about creating a tool that designs better than humans and more about building the power of collective intelligent design:
“We believe in continued engagement, exploration, and questioning of emerging technologies and tools. Deep Objects founder David Stamatis says HUE exemplifies that exploration right now.
“For me, the endless desire to learn new ways to express creativity and ideas has always driven the work forward. Finding ways to build new approaches to design.” He noted that with advances in artificial intelligence, a more engaging and human-centred model is vital to improving design.
“The reality is that AI has already impacted the design industry in many ways over the past decade. With the accelerating developments of diffusion models (Dall-E, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion) over the past year, the potential that AI has in all kinds of creative endeavors is even more Popularity and popularity. People and designers are now dealing with it collectively. This is very powerful.
What we are trying to explore at Deep Objects is how a more controlled and proactive relationship between designers, AI and ‘consumers’ can lead to incredible design objects. We want to build a new model for the way the studio can operate.”
As a decentralized studio, Deep Objects is inviting a limited number of culture enthusiasts to join in as part of designing their first sneaker.
On October 10, Deep Objects will sell 10,000 NFTs through her website, which will give token holders permission to participate in the design studio for as long as they wish. However, just before landing, they will pay a visit Discord in Highsnobiety For the AMA on October 7.
Minted on Ethereum, Deep Objects’ initial NFTs will be a pass to be part of version 01. Using them, token holders will be able to organize and design their own digital boots, which use game theory to suggest templates that users can then customize to their liking.
Once 10,000 shoes have been created by the community, they will vote for the top 30 shoes, which will then be converted into 3D models. Finally, everyone votes on the boot that becomes a real object, which may include some extras like limited IRL for token holders, airdrop for 3D NFTs, etc. When the set is complete, the current holders are first in the next set of objects.
When asked if he was concerned about “groupthink” during the community-led “Deep Objects” process, Stamatis mentioned a phenomenon he helped create, the Limp Bizkit Paradox.
“Essentially, when Napster and online music downloads democratized music consumption, what we saw is that the vast majority of people just listened to a lot of Limp Bizkit,” Stamatis explains. “Are we afraid to make a Limp Bizkit out of sneakers? Yikes… The truth is, I have no idea what’s going to come out of this, but it’s very exciting to me — which is why I love the design and the creative process.”
Whether you thought Limp Bizkit was an iconic or unfortunate icon of the late ’90s, people loved the band for different reasons. Majority rules, which is why Stamatis believes Deep Objects’ decentralized approach will help challenge the centuries-old paradigm of design studios.
“I firmly believe there is an alternative to the cult of celebrity designer, stellar architect, head of office imagery where ego is as loud as flair has put them in a position of power,” Stamatis continues.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the Ye’s, Virgils, or Zaha Hadids in the world. In fact, these are the same personalities who carved paths between industries that helped define my career choices, and for which I’m grateful.” But, the design bureau lead/intern model is tired. The alternative is hybrid and includes community. “
To help ensure they have the right people in their ecosystem, FTR personally purchases 1,000 NFTs from the group to donate to design schools/programs, as well as up-and-coming designs. Furthermore, 25% of all profits generated from each Deep Objects projection pool will be awarded to the Studio Opportunity Fund, which is earmarked for reinvestment based on voting and approval.
With a list that includes “cars, chairs, homes and sneakers,” Deep Objects hopes this “democratic design” process will help become what Stamatis envisions to be “the world’s most sought-after design studio.”