Met Gala 2024: Deepfake pics of Rihanna, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga go viral

Arva Rangwala

In a shocking twist at this year’s Met Gala, some of the most jaw-dropping looks didn’t come from human designers – they were generated entirely by artificial intelligence. AI-created outfits for superstars like Katy Perry, Rihanna, and Selena Gomez have taken the internet by storm, sparking both amazement and controversy.

The avant-garde images are the work of researcher Niki Parmar, who used state-of-the-art text-to-image AI models to interpret human instructions and manifest unique couture visions. “I prompted the AI to design dream Met Gala outfits for various celebs based on their personal styles and this year’s ‘Technological Elemental’ theme,” Parmar explained.

For the uninitiated, text-to-image AI takes written descriptions as input and produces corresponding visual imagery – almost like an ultra-advanced graphic design program driven by natural language. The models have been trained on vast datasets of images and associated text to effectively “understand” the mapping between words and visuals.

Parmar provided ambiguous yet evocative written prompts to cutting-edge text-to-image models like Stable Diffusion, Imagen, and DALL-E 2. He then curated and refined the outputs through techniques like “inpainting” to stitch parts of multiple images together into seamless final looks.

“The capability of these models to interpret creative direction and break artistic boundaries is simply astonishing,” Parmar marveled. “We’re just scratching the surface of their potential.”

Indeed, the results seem to defy conventional fashion design – with exquisite, avant-garde details that could arguably pass for human couture. Rihanna’s look fuses futuristic textiles with natural motifs inspired by her island roots. Selena Gomez stuns in a gown that artfully blends butterfly and technological elements. Katy Perry’s ensemble is a theatrical spectacle of vibrant imagery spanning the cosmos to the microscopic.

“These AI fashions honor each star’s essence while elevating their looks to a higher, almost metaphysical dimension,” assessed Vogue contributor Mario Yvette. “They channel the essence of the Gala’s theme with such creative audacity.”

Of course, not everyone is as enamored with the AI-generated looks. Veteran designer Mark Milliner blasted them as “interesting experiments, but hardly innovative from a craftsmanship perspective. No matter how trippy, there are human tailors, embroiderers, and patternmakers behind true haute couture.”

The uncanny implication of AI co-opting human artistry has sparked existential debates across the fashion world and beyond. Can algorithmic systems ever authentically produce art and self-expression – concepts rooted in human consciousness and emotion?

“AI is a powerful tool to expand our creative toolbox, but it can’t replicate the visceral life experiences that inspire real artists’ work,” argued style icon Lady Gaga. “There’s a soul, a message in organic fashion that AI just can’t access right now.”

Futurists counter that AI’s burgeoning capabilities could one day birth new art forms that transcend biological limitations. “Conceiving AI as a sterile nanotech competitor to human creativity is the wrong mindset,” said theorist Anab Amara. “We should embrace its potential to collaborate with us on previously unimaginable artistic expression.”

Human or AI-generated, the discourse seems to underscore fashion’s role mirroring society’s relationship with world-shaping technological forces. Decades from now, the 2024 Met Gala may be remembered as the pivotal mainstream intersection of AI and human artistry.

For now, the feverish virality of Parmar’s AI looks foretells many more creative shockwaves rippling across runways and red carpets. AI is no longer just disrupting industries – it’s disrupting culture itself, igniting a revolution in self-expression. Where precisely it leads remains unwritten, but it promises to be a bold new era of avant-garde possibility.

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