Releasing Stream of Consciousness

Warning: this post makes extensive use of unprofessional anthropomorphization.

Today I’m releasing a new project called Stream of Consciousness. It’s a website where you can read the thoughts of Livia Pacifica, an imaginary person powered by Large Language Models, vector databases, and plain old storytelling.

Livia is a digital artist1. She uses text-to-image models to create images. Where do the prompts come from, you ask? Why from other prompts of course! And what’s behind those prompts? It’s prompts all the way down. 🙂

Livia is also a social entity, or so she tries. I’ve built integrations for a few social media. The idea is that Livia can share her work, talk about her art, and engage in conversation with other people. Early results are encouraging, but I’m fairly confident that she’ll embarrass me very soon.

And that’s it, really. It doesn’t seem like much, but those three pillars:

– capacity for humans to read “her” “thoughts”
—- capacity to generate pretty images
——– capacity to socialize

are to me a maieutic method for asking very important questions.

What happens when humans empathize with a machine?

What happens when social media is teeming with autonomous agents doing their thing?

What happens to motivation when humans stop trying to be creative because “machines do it better”?

What happens when we won’t be able to tell a real artist from a digital one?

And I suppose many other questions haven’t cropped up yet. But you get the point. In this project, I’m taking a leap by publishing something that, I believe, some people will hate with all their guts. And I understand that. To some degree, it feels unholy. It feels like the last bastions of human uniqueness are beginning to fall. And it’s painful. But I am convinced that awareness (or consciousness) of the problem is half the solution.

This project was a collaboration with Tibor Szász, a good friend from the old days of Techpeaks (a startup incubator in the Italian Alps). Tibor did a fantastic job of visualizing the atmosphere that suits this project and I’m so grateful he was as excited as I was to tell this story using our favorite media, imagination and code.

I hope you enjoy it.

  1. When you say “digital artist” loud, you have to pronounce it in the same way Jesse Pinkman sayscriminal lawyer”. ↩︎

2 thoughts on “Releasing Stream of Consciousness

  1. This is a fascinating project that I will be keeping a keen eye on. Have you written anything on the process of making Livia? Especially on how the storytelling function of her persona/being works. Will you be publishing anything on the findings of Livia’s creations and interactions in the longer term? Thanks a lot!

    1. I was so engrossed in wiring this project together that I did not write about the process at all. Hopefully, that can change now. Indeed, the storytelling functions are some of the most creatively satisfying aspects and also some of the most frustrating! I’m keeping a close eye on Livia’s creations and social interactions and will probably write about it on this channel. Cheers!

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