Ask Dalí

« previous post | next post »

A new feature at the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg FL:

According to an NPR story (Chloe Veltman, "An AI Salvador Dalí will answer any question when called on his famous 'lobster phone'"),

The underlying model is OpenAI's GPT-4. Because GPT-4 is trained on almost all publicly available text, this model includes extensive information about Dalí — an artist with a vast presence on the internet. The Dalí Museum also selected English translations of Dalí's writings in other languages, including his Mystical Manifesto, Diary of a Genius and The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí.

The article offers this scholarly opinion:

Dalí scholar Elliott King, an associate professor of art history at Washington and Lee University who was not involved with the museum's exhibit, said he thought Dalí would have liked this AI-based interpretation of his voice and work, noting that the popular AI image generator DALL-E is in part inspired by the artist's name. "He was so interested in scientific advancements," King said. "I think that he would have been really tickled by people talking into this lobster phone."

Interestingly, Prof. King endorses the voice:

King said he thought the AI-generated voice worked well compared to the museum's previous efforts. "It does sound much more like Dalí than anything that I've heard up until now," King said. "His voice is so unusual. He had a very particular way of speaking where he would exaggerate certain words."

But the words, maybe not so much:

King said some of the AI answers did not sound authentic to Dalí's creative language. "Picture them as a vast dream," as an example. "That's a little bit vague," King said. "He's never just going to say something nearly so mundane.[..]"

King also said Dalí would never use the word "hi" when introducing himself, which is what the AI model does when the museum-goer picks up the lobster phone to speak to the AI surrealist. "That word sounds so odd coming out of his voice," King said. "He always said, "Bonjour!" — always the French — even to say goodbye."



  1. Robert Coren said,

    April 21, 2024 @ 9:24 am

    Now I want to ask him/it why he/it ran into that bridge in Baltimore.

  2. Mark Liberman said,

    April 21, 2024 @ 10:31 am

    @Robert Coren: "Now I want to ask him/it why he/it ran into that bridge in Baltimore."

    Or to start with, why they gave his name to the MV Dali in the first place?

    Wikipedia: "On 5 January 2015, Dali and her sister ship Cezanne were named for painters Salvador Dalí and Paul Cézanne."

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a Comment