Women are at the heart of Green’s work and the drive behind many of her projects is to spotlight their issues and concerns, which are often overlooked, and then to “express them in an accessible, visual way”. Her latest project epitomises this and implements a new tool for the illustrator, ChatGPT.
“As the design industry started to be abuzz with Dall-E and then ChatGPT, I have been using the tools to see how they work and what they can do,” Green tells CR. “I also knew that I wanted to work on a new illustration project that would highlight the raw realities of women’s lives.” The result is a series of haikus written by the AI chatbot and accompanied by illustrations Green has created in response.
What piqued Green’s curiosity was finding out what the AI chatbot believes women’s struggles are and whether it offered a broad and diverse perspective on the subject. “I wanted to see if we can trust the data sets it’s being trained on, if it can be a reliable source of information, and if there’s any bias in it,” she explains. “Could, for example, ChatGPT provide a more reliable and fact-checked source of information, than scrolling through pages and pages of Google searches would?”
Green began the project by asking ChatGPT what were the top ten issues women struggle with, and then asked the chatbot to “write a haiku about a woman experiencing/struggling with ‘X’”, with ‘X’ being the issue it previously identified. “I didn’t add any further instructions as I wanted the poems to be pure AI creations,” says Green.
“The only thing I did was check the number of syllables in each verse, to ensure it followed the haiku format. Three poems didn’t have the right syllable count so I kept prompting ChatGPT to redo the lines until it achieved that goal.”
From Green’s own experiences and anecdotal research, she felt many of the issues ChatGPT generated do in fact reflect the challenges facing women globally today, for instance work/life balance, body image, racial discrimination, sexual harassment, reproductive rights and maternal health, and the gender pay gap. The illustrations she has created are inspired by the finished haikus to ensure the visuals go hand in hand with the words. “Interestingly, because I didn’t interfere with the poems, it was challenging to illustrate them – it was very much as if AI set the brief,” she says.
Created in her vibrant style, the simple composition and detail included allow Green’s images to pack a punch. The illustrator created these works digitally, and typically she works with quick lines and rough sketches. This approach helps her to amplify the simplicity of line and colour, and create images that are “easy to understand and approachable”, which works well within this project where at first the haikus can read like riddles.
There has been much talk about the biases Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT can contain, with some questioning if it’s the AI at fault when it generates a sexist response, or whether it simply reflects the continued real world biases it’s been trained on. For Green, while she was happy overall with what the chatbot suggested, there were areas she didn’t agree with. “In the early stages of my project, I asked the AI to write haikus about menopause, and they were largely negative, describing it as the ‘end of womanhood’,” Green notes. “There wasn’t a notion that a woman going through menopause is entering a new, powerful stage of her life.”
Despite this though, Green does feel that programs like ChatGPT will become integral to creative work in the future, much like other digital tools have. “AI tools will take some jobs in journalism and illustration, so that’s something that as creatives we have to be ready for,” she says.
“But I’m largely optimistic, and of course, artists like Refik Anadol are already doing outstanding work with data sets. I believe that having access to large volumes of information, that tell us more about the human experience, can enrich our work.”