AI influencers are so hot right now

That’s right, AI is infiltrating itself into our creative realms. Tools like Open AI’s Dall-E and Jasper’s text-generation platform, which use neural networks to generate original images and text, are new enough that we’ve only just begun to see how they will reshape creative industries including film, literature, art and architecture. But their sudden ubiquity makes it certain that the future of creativity will have some assistance from AI.

As with any niche nowadays, there are a few influencers leading the way for AI in the creative world. We have identified the hottest. 

AI Explains AI

485,400 TikTok followers

Active since February 2022

Daniel Verten’s day job involves making AI-powered instructional videos for companies such as EY and Amazon. But over the past five months, the creative director of London-based software company Synthesia accumulated an unexpectedly large social media following for his TikTok account, AI Explains AI, which features an eerily human-looking AI explaining, well, how AI works. The account’s most notable endeavour was a 45-day livestream beginning in August in which an AI counted a million virtual sheep. The stream had 29 million views and has the dubious honour of being the longest livestream ever on TikTok. Verten said the account has created real dividends for Synthesia—over 200 users, many from large S&P 500 corporations, said they learned about the company on TikTok. The account has become so prominent that Synthesia now has a dedicated team member for the TikTok platform. Next up is another TikTok Live, “this time with Santa as the avatar,” Verten said, “where Santa is actually counting back towards Christmas.”

Weird Dall-E

1.1 million Twitter followers

Active since: June 2022

The Dali of Dall-E, Weird Dall-E is perhaps generative AI’s most surreal creator. The wildly popular account offers a postmodern take on the technology—it’s Jesus teaching Kermit the Frog how to play the piano, a hyper-realistic Shrek in a 7-Eleven and Spider Man with a nose. These are the melting clocks and flying tigers of our time. Yes, it’s goofy and captures mass appeal through sheer absurdity, but Weird Dall-E also draws from a tradition of avant-garde image (and mind) melding, though with a distinctly digital bent. Weird Dall-E exemplifies how to capture online attention by simply informing people about the possibilities within a new piece of technology. These are the melting clocks and flying tigers of our time.

Karen Cheng

1.2 million Instagram followers

Active since: January 2022

I discovered Karen’s account through a video in which she states ‘I didn’t want to spend more money on new clothes so I learnt to make them using AI’. The same video sees her skipping down a street while her outfit changes multiple times in 10 seconds. Cheng has shot videos with Will Smith, high-fived Mark Zuckerberg (in the metaverse) and created content for brands including Puma, Apple and Lego. She specialises in AI and augmented reality in the videos she directs both for her own social media platform and for brands. Cheng used Dall-E, EbSynth and DAIN to create the effect, noting, “Currently Dall-E only works for photos (video is not supported). But by running it through two other AI programs, I was able to get it to work!” Though this clip wasn’t an ad, it’s easy to see how the format could translate into promotion for any fashion brand investing in e-commerce.

Dall-e Images That Could Be Album Covers

66,500 followers on Twitter

Active since: July

Some art already looks like it sprang from an AI generator, like Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” (prompt: “naked woman comes out of a shell in the sea”), or the album cover for Nirvana’s “Nevermind” (prompt: “naked baby swims toward a dollar bill in a pool”). The Twitter account AI Albums explores what other make-believe album covers might look like if outsourced to Dall-E. The account posts its images without revealing the text that generated them, which makes the bizarre album artwork and nonsensical band names even funnier.

Janelle Shane

45.1K followers on Twitter

Active blog since: 2019

For all of their talents, AI image generators are notoriously bad at visualising text—which is why Janelle Shane’s images of Dall-E Halloween candy are so delightful. Shane, who describes herself as an “AI humorist,” runs the blog AI Weirdness, which catalogues the “hilarious, sometimes unsettling” ways machine learning interprets the world. My personal favourite is when a post on how AI imagines her cat in costumes. 

Hassan Ragab

108,000 Instagram followers

Active in AI since: July 2022

Hassan Ragab’s conceptual buildings look like the stuff of fairy tales and utopias (and shroom trips). Ragab, who is from Egypt, is now based in Southern California and uses his training as an architect to create fantastical art with generative AI, including Stable Diffusion and Midjourney. Ragab is now providing “computational design solutions” for a large architectural project in downtown Los Angeles, alongside pushing the boundaries of what AI can do for architecture in his own work. One of his most recent projects, “Fly Away,” depicts flying building complexes, complete with actual wings. He created the work with Midjourney, though it does bear some resemblance to the movie Wall-E’s societal spaceship, the Axiom.

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