“Community AI” with a Sculpture

What does respectful AI look like that helps with community storytelling? This spring we experimented with bringing AI into Hive Mechanic. We extended one of our successful projects, “text with a sculpture” (part of a 5-year installation in Reston, VA).

In January, we brainstormed ideas at a game jam. We picked one of the most promising ideas in February to explore further. Specifically…

We decided to (1) “teleport the sculpture” in the spirit of its original surrealism and the place-making goals of the project in Reston. (2) Some of the fun is that the sculpture changes in small ways in the mythical process of teleportation. (3) Finally, the resulting image is creatively captioned by AI as well.

Functionally, this demo lets you text in a description of a place and watch the AI take the sculpture there with a new background. Here is a visual mode:

How it Works

First, we start with a photoshopped picture of the sculpture:

Then, we randomly choose from five different scenarios to give the player. We found that the AI needs a little guidance to make good backgrounds, so we created these scenarios that combine what the player texts with some preset text before sending it to the AI.

This was possible by integrating with openAI’s image modifications API (also known as DALL-E). In the future, other activities in Hive Mechanic can now also tap into DALL-E via the Data Query card. You’ll need to upload the image to Hive Mechanic, and then save its url as well as the AI prompt in a variable to use the card. The AI can take a while to give back an image, so it’s a good idea to send the player a message assuring them that the AI is working on it so they’re not confused or impatient.

The other piece of our AI sculpture demo uses the openAI friend chat to generate a caption for the new image. This is also in the Data Query card, and we use a similar prompt as the one sent to the image generator, but with a few extra details.

This demo is just one of many possibilities for AI that retains the community spirit of the project, and respects the artists involved. In the future, we might try having AI provide hints for a scavenger hunt, or use chat GPT to play the role of a character in a story. Of course, we’re also looking forward to seeing what ideas our current cohort of libraries might come up with using AI too!