The New York TimesThe New York Times

AI turns its artistry to creating new human proteins

By Cade Metz

13 Jan 2023 · 5 min read

Editor's Note

There's more to digital art generators than just creating fake photos, the NYT writes. The technology behind tools like DALL-E has inspired biologists to build AI that can fight cancer, flu and COVID.

Last spring, an artificial intelligence lab called OpenAI unveiled technology that lets you create digital images simply by describing what you want to see. Called DALL-E, it sparked a wave of similar tools with names like Midjourney and Stable Diffusion. Promising to speed the work of digital artists, this new breed of AI captured the imagination of both the public and the pundits — and threatened to generate new levels of online disinformation.

Social media is now teeming with the surprisingly conceptual, in which shockingly detailed, often photorealistic images are generated by DALL-E and other tools. “Photo of a teddy bear riding a skateboard in Times Square.” “Cute corgi in a house made out of sushi.” “Jeflon Zuckergates.”

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