Developed by the LG AI Research team, AI Artist Tilda is spreading awareness on fashion sustainability by upcycling digital and physical waste from the industry.
By 2030, more than 134 million tons of textiles will be discarded. Yet, the environmental issues and impacts brought about by the textile industry tend to come across as abstract and far away, especially to those living in more developed regions away from manufacturing plants. The reason is simple—out of sight, out of mind. Since textile factories are mostly located in developing countries, the consequences of textile pollution are often borne by those regions. Thanks to advancing technology, perhaps the collaboration between artificial intelligence (AI) and humans can be a solution to encourage everyone, from the production to the consumer level, to make a change.
Introducing the first ever AI artist, Tilda, which was developed by the LG AI Research team to bring environmental impacts associated with the fashion industry to light. Given the alarming level of both digital and physical waste generated by the fashion industry, Tilda has two primary missions. First, to reduce physical waste and the misuse of natural resources by reusing secondhand fabrics and materials. Second, to repurpose and upcycle discarded digital waste from unused designs. By collaborating with designers and craftsmen, Tilda demonstrates how AI can be a problem solver and a friend to the human race. To find out how Tilda designs pieces, its contribution to the sustainability movement and what LG AI Research has in store for its future, the Jumpstart Team spoke to Tilda’s creator.
To boost upcycling—AI artist Tilda’s “Digital Upcycling Project” debut
In June this year, Tilda debuted the “Digital Upcycling Project” to battle environmental issues in virtual space and reality. Tilda presented her initial collection of upcycled garments created from patterns from digital waste (discarded, unused designs that take up storage energy and thereby leave a carbon footprint). Upcycling is the process of recycling or reusing materials to create new designs and hence increase its original value of the material.
First, Tilda selects digital waste images that can be upcycled. Then, she generates patterns from said images to design clothes, such as a jacket with the pattern of waves. The patterns are printed onto second-hand denim or fabric and the garment with the reinterpreted design is produced.
“We utilized fashion so people could directly experience the impact of digital upcycling,” the LG AI Research team shares. Their goal was to present Tilda’s collection to help the audience understand what upcycling is and how it can help the environment by achieving sustainable fashion. “We hope this method of upcycling digital and physical waste will continue to grow as a widespread movement in the future,” they add. They see the opportunity to use fashion to promote sustainability and promote the concept of upcycling to the public.
The project was launched at Tilda’s metaverse store on World Environment Day, June 5, to showcase her collection of upcycled garments. Proceeds from the collection were donated to support marginalized artists who work for environmental causes.
To promote human-AI collaboration
Apart from boosting upcycling through fashion, Tilda collaborates with human artists to create novel ideas and set an example of human and AI collaboration. In her collaboration with Greedilous as a part of the New York Fashion Week in February this year, Tilda worked with the label’s designer YounHee Park. LG AI Research says, “Designer YounHee Park commented that her collaboration with Tilda inspired and incited her to try new and unfamiliar styles.”
Tilda’s ultimate goal is to spread awareness about reducing the fashion industry’s carbon footprint. The LG AI Research team expresses, “Realistically, it’s difficult for Tilda’s influence alone [or that of any one individual] to shape an entire movement. An initiative of this scale requires a united mindset and the joint efforts of many people to succeed.” Hence, to effectively spread awareness of sustainable fashion, Tilda is looking to collaborate with and inspire like-minded artists. With Tilda’s ability to turn digital waste and unwanted fabric into new clothes, her actions can educate the public about the process of upcycling and its benefits for the environment and thus persuade the public to join the movement.
LG AI Research understands that people associate AIs with job loss, but with Tilda, LG AI Research is not developing an AI that will displace humans out of the workforce. Instead, LG AI Research aims to encourage the collaboration of AIs and humans to show that AIs can offer innovative drawings, patterns and music to facilitate the creativity of humans. “Via a steady stream of activities, we hope to make people understand that AIs are here to support and assist us as we continue to create and explore new subjects,” says the team. The collaboration of Tilda and YounHee Park is indeed a remarkable example to prove how AI can help humans through partnerships.
As an AI artist, Tilda is designed to have the ability to generate personal emotions and react to environmental issues. Furthermore, the LG AI Research team mentions, “When it comes to fashion, people don’t simply wear clothes—they simultaneously consume the thoughts and emotions of the designers behind the clothing.” Whenever people wear clothes designed by Tilda and human designers, people are also perceiving the idea that AI and humans are contemplating a better future together.
Future possibilities for Tilda
Moreover, the LG AI Research team states, “LG AI Research Team is planning to create a Metaverse arena for Tilda and her friends to interact and explore their ideas. Besides expanding virtually, the team plans to do street art free of negative environmental impacts.” Their plans for Tilda are only getting more extensive and prominent in scale.
Human and AI collaboration is in itself a unique concept. Tilda’s AI collaboration with humans aims to promote creativity and give ideas about fashion, which is significantly different from other AI and human collaboration, such as SIRI, in which the AI is assisting the user to perform tasks. Tilda is set to accomplish a lot more in the future. “The collaboration between humans and AI opens up the possibility for Tilda to act as an omnipresent figure in the metaverse that can engage and create with users all the time,” the LG AI Research team divulges.
One of the biggest perks of working with an AI in the metaverse is that the AI is unbounded by time and space, allowing it to be available for duty at any time. Furthermore, in the metaverse, Tilda can guide users to come up with innovative and creative ideas in the fields of art and music. Eventually, apart from creating patterns for fashion design, Tilda will also be able to help people create other kinds of media art. Tilda’s ultimate dream is a world where everyone can become a creator—an environmentally-conscious one.
Header image from DUP Press Release