‘Neural Networks Are Something that Move the World Forward’
On September 4, the HSE University building on Pokrovsky Bulvar hosted ARTificial Fest, an event devoted to neural network art. The festival was organised by the HSE University Faculty of Creative Industries, the HSE Career centre, and the Chisty List (‘Blank Page’) student organisation. The event was open not only to students and staff of HSE University, but also to anyone interested in the blending of machine algorithms and art.
ARTificial Fest is a new one-day student festival devoted to the role of AI in creativity. Throughout the day, visitors could enjoy various games and masterclasses from representatives of Sber, VK Education, Skillbox, MTS AI, and the HSE University faculties of Creative Industries and Computer Science. The festival also featured exhibitions of fantastical paintings generated by the Kandinsky 2.2 AI on the topic of the future of humanity.
The idea behind ARTificial Fest originated with four students of the HSE University Faculty of Creative Industries: Timur Luzyanin, Elizaveta Karpushina, Elina Valeeva, and Kirill Kashtanov.
‘We wanted to create something and decided to take part in the “Tvoi Khod” all-Russia student competition, part of the Russia—Land of Opportunities platform,’ explains Timur Luzyanin, second-year student of the Bachelor’s in Media Communications. ‘As part of the competition, we had to implement a project by September 15. We had the idea to organise a festival in the central atrium of our building on Pokrovka, but there was one problem—which topic to choose. We realised that AI art is a hot topic right now.’
Organising the festival was ‘extremely difficult,’ Timur admits, but that did not phase the team. ‘We would like to hold it every year,’ he says.
Ekaterina Kozlova, first-year student of the Bachelor’s in Socioeconomic and Political Development of Modern Asia, decided to volunteer for ARTificial Fest because she believes that ‘neural networks are something that move the world forward.’ ‘As someone who is engaged in content, I actively use neural networks in my work,’ she says. ‘Today I am at an entertainment station where we play charades with help from ChatGPT. I ask it to generate random words for the participants to describe to each other.’
The HSE News Service also spoke to visitors of ARTificial Fest about why they were interested in the event and how they use AI in their own lives.
Anastasia Prorokova, first-year student of the Bachelor’s in Interior Design, decided to come to the festival in order to get to know the university better. ‘I just played charades and got bonus stickers that I can exchange for prizes,’ Anastasia explained. ‘I am very happy to be at HSE University. I have great expectations and I’m getting into my studies.’
Tatyana Moroz, first-year student of the Bachelor’s in Cognitive Neurobiology, believes that the topic of neural networks may be relevant to her future education. ‘I just visited a station where there was a battle of creators. We logged into a Telegram bot and competed to create the most beautiful picture,’ she said. ‘I am sure that my time at HSE University will be interesting. The people here are open and it is easy to get to know them.’
Polina Ilkanich, first-year student of the Bachelor’s in Media Communications, liked the Kandinsky 2.2 exhibition most of all. ‘There are interesting ideas; each picture is unique and eye-catching. The neural network combines the old and the modern, and together this looks really cool,’ Polina explains.
Daniil Kurzukov, first-year student of the Bachelor’s in Design, has already been using AI in his work for a long time. ‘For example, I use ChatGPT, and recently downloaded Photoshop, which works with neural networks,’ he said. ‘You can highlight the area you are interested in working with and set a specific parameter. Then the programme suggests various solutions.’
Polina Suzimova, first-year student of the Bachelor’s in Media Communications, enjoyed taking part in all the quests at the festival and attending the lectures. ‘I enjoyed the film-guessing exercise,’ Polina explained. ‘I like those kinds of things, and when I see something like that online, I always take part in it.’ Guests could receive prizes for completing the tasks. ‘You have to earn five stickers, but that was easy because the event was very fun,’ she concluded.
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