AI prompt battle in Melbourne

There’s Going To Be An ‘AI Prompt Battle’ In Melbourne To Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

2 min read

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Rap battle? Sort of, but get your keyboard and imagination ready for this one.

A live ‘AI Prompt Battle’ is on at ACMI – the museum of screen culture – in Fed Square this Friday, and it’s possibly the first event of its kind in Melbourne. 

What happens? Contestants will go on stage and come up with the best text prompts to generate AI artwork. They’ll need to get their creative juices flowing, and the contestant who delivers the most impressive AI artwork wins.

“The idea for this came from around two years ago, when I was on Twitter, and I’d see people showing off their AI-generated images,” Berlin-based artist Sebastian Schmieg, one of the creators of the AI Prompt Battle, told The Chainsaw.

“Seeing those exchanges on Twitter was nice, but they were often done in an aggressive way. So I thought, ‘how can we come together and work with this in a fun way?’”

AI vs. art

Schmieg, an interface design professor, has organised 30 AI Prompt Battles across Europe over the last two years, in the wake of popular AI art generator DALL-E’s debut in April 2022. 

Contestants are given the same task, and have 60 seconds to deliver a prompt that responds to said task. The AI then creates the artwork in real-time based on the prompt. The winning artwork will be chosen by the audience.

It sounds easy, but under time constraints and on stage in front of an audience, it is easy to crack under pressure. Schmieg told us that contrary to popular belief, those who have won past battles aren’t typically developers or engineers.   

“Being experienced in prompting only gets you so far in a prompt battle. It’s not the only winning ingredient; what you need are [qualities] like humour and wit, especially in front of an audience … they [usually] love somebody who is funny – those participants usually get the most applause,” he explained.

The battle’s AI system employs OpenAI’s API, which has in place several content moderation guidelines that Schmieg said would present additional challenges to contestants.

What’s next for future AI Prompt Battle events? Schmieg says he plans to “release the software [used in the prompt battles] so people can do their own”. He also intends to expand the scope of those battles and organise events focussing on AI-generated videos. But for now, he’ll take a break after the Melbourne event.

Sebastian Schmieg’s AI Prompt Battle in Melbourne is a collaboration with RMIT University’s Culture team. Entry is free – grab your tickets here.