Artistic Intelligence

How creatives translate complex concepts into visual languages

What is artificial intelligence (AI)? It’s a complex question, and even the answer — a field of computer science that involves programming machines and robots to do what humans do — can be tough to grasp.

DeepMind — Google’s UK-based research lab dedicated to building AI systems — commissioned 13 international artists to interpret key themes shaping the future of the field, from video compression (enabling streaming content for billions of people around the globe) to digital biology (using data and AI to study life).

The result is Visualising AI — a collection of over 100 dynamic open-source images and animations that aims to demystify cryptic concepts and provide a new way of seeing the code, algorithms, software, and programs that power our daily lives.

Here, five of those artists share how they translate difficult topics into engaging graphics, and show the crucial role artists play in processing and sharing both information and emotion.

“Imagery, especially when embedded in pop culture, has more influence, even if subconsciously, on how people view the world than explicit messaging. Visuals specifically make global reach easier by crossing language barriers. I find ‘big ideas’ — and questions to address — as I learn more.”

Khyati Trehan

Graphic designer, 3D visual artist

Khyati Trehan interpreted humans learning and predicting patterns in biology with the help of secure and accountable biotechnology.

“Art starts conversations. Sometimes the simplest visuals can spark the most profound reflections. Inspire curiosity — your unique style can make topics come alive. Remember to have fun and put your own twist on things.”

Nidia Dias

Art director, creative director, designer

Nidia Dias depicted technology assisting genomic studies to help understand ecosystems and identify species.

“Provide viewers with an entry point through a somewhat literal representation, while leaving room for open interpretation. This balance allows viewers to engage intellectually and emotionally, and supports a deeper connection to the themes explored in the work. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

Vincent Schwenk

3D artist

Vincent Schwenk interpreted technologies transmitting data from their own experiences.

“We are constantly on the move, so it’s beneficial when someone can bring things to the point. Visual metaphors are essential for me — they involve combining complex concepts with familiar ones. Creating a deeper understanding can drive positive change.”

Martina Stiftinger

Designer, art director

Martina Stiftinger interpreted technologies that are democratizing education and making learning more efficient.

“Art and design are embedded in our daily lives and can influence how we think — subtly, or with great impact. It is important to create and show art created by different communities to reflect society more truthfully, and to allow different audiences to join the conversation.”

Ariel Lu

3D artist

Ariel Lu’s interpretation of AI tools disguising biases highlights the importance of research for responsible deployment.