William Wu, is the Founder & CEO of Artisse, a technology allowing for precision changes to photos based on user preferences. It's specifically designed for realistic self-portraits, allowing users to generate unlimited photos of themselves in any setting, posture, clothing, hairstyle, or facial expression.
Unlike other giants of the industry, Artisse is a proud bootstrap operation and independent venture built from the ground up with a highly diverse team. It has a strong female presence across the team, including an all-female team in China.
You have a background in finance. How did you initially transition to blockchain and gaming?
I spent the majority of my career in special situations, which involved me being at the forefront of emerging trends and acting upon transformative opportunities when I see them to create value in a value short period of time. Blockchain gaming presented itself as a revolutionary framework applications in creating secure, transparent ecosystems and with potential beyond just cryptocurrency, but there was an opportunity because traditional gaming companies lacked blockchain knowledge while blockchain companies did not have the gaming development know-how of traditional gaming developers. I saw the opportunity to bridge the two by finding very high quality traditional games that had not been successful in the traditional gaming industry and helping them to transition to blockchain gaming.
Can you discuss when AI made it on your radar?
We started implementing AI last year under one of our projects, which was a JV with a Kpop agency to create a virtual idol in the metaverse. Originally, AI was very much about efficiency gains throughout the company. But we quickly realised that we were able to create super realistic pictures of our virtual idol. It made sense for us to use the same technology in consumer photography and advertising industries, where there is super large demand for photorealistic images of people.
Can you share the genesis story behind Artisse?
Just like a lot of other people, I've spent a lot of my life on social media – from Myspace to Facebook to Instagram and now to Tik Tok. What I have learnt is that social currency is one of the most important things as a young person – often times even more important than money itself. What I have always observed is that a lot of social currency is determined by your posts – in particular, the volume and the quality of them. Photo-taking is extremely burdensome, especially if you are a busy professional like myself and if you have a high quality bar for photos. But if you don't have any photos, you will have a limited social media presence and limit your friend circle. I have always struggled with updating my profile – which is when we managed to develop the technology, it was very obvious to make this a consumer app.
Artisse is a bit different than the average image generator, can you elaborate on how it is able to personalize selfies into high-quality images?
Our primary focus was to ensure that photos generated by Artisse were indistinguishable from real images. We've painstakingly crafted the software to provide users with a vast range of customization options, enabling them to create any desired photo in any setting or scenario. We've also emphasized user-friendliness, ensuring that even the average 20-year-old finds the app intuitive and engaging.
You’ve previously stated your belief that traditional photoshoots are soon to be a thing of the past. What is your vision for how this technology will be used moving forward?
While selfies are just the tip of the iceberg, I foresee Artisse revolutionizing professional domains like modeling, advertising, and journalism. By democratizing access to high-quality images, we're empowering small businesses and individual creators, enabling them to weave compelling visual narratives without bearing the financial burden of conventional photoshoots.
You’ve described the technology as being similar to season six, episode one of Black Mirror. How far are we from AI-generated videos being this realistic?
The advancements in AI-generated videos have been phenomenal. We're likely less than a year away from achieving videos that are almost indistinguishably realistic. Recent developments have already brought us to about 80% of this goal, although the scope of these videos remains somewhat limited. However, as we tread this path, ethical considerations and safeguards against potential misuse become paramount.
With your background in gaming, what is your vision for the future of how Generative AI will be incorporated into video games?
Generative AI promises a gaming landscape where every facet, from environments and characters to evolving narratives, adapts in real-time to a player's actions, offering a truly personalized experience. Additionally, imagine the allure of a game where a few snapshots of a player can instantly render their in-game avatar to mirror their real self. This blend of realism and personalization is the future.
You have a very diverse staff, including an all-female team in China. Could you discuss the importance of diversity to prevent AI bias?
Diversity is essential for AI because the technology often mirrors the biases of its creators. A diverse team brings varied perspectives, ensuring our models are trained on inclusive datasets. Our all-female team in China, for instance, brings invaluable insights that prevent gender biases, ensuring Artisse's outputs resonate universally.
Is there anything else that you would like to share about Artisse?
Beyond our current applications, we're excited about the future possibilities of integrating Artisse's technology across industries. Our mission is to blend creativity with technology, and we're just getting started on this incredible journey.
Thank you for the great interview, readers who wish to learn more should visit Artisse.
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