Tuesday May 21st, 2024
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Piasso is the AI-Powered Art App That Can Understand Arabic

In the age of technology and progress and Science Fiction made real, it's accepted that the future is Western - or at least English-speaking.

John Bichara

Piasso is the AI-Powered Art App That Can Understand Arabic

When it comes to technology like AI in particular, which relies so much on a superhuman vocabulary, it's a given that they would understand English. If you can't prompt your AI art app to draw Spongebob Squarepants in the style of Impressionist painter Alfred Sisley doing the default Fortnite dance, what's the point?

Such a strong bias in language, however, creates biases elsewhere. Imagine asking an AI for a painting of Cairo, but the only images it associates the name with is the narrow Orientalist vision often presented to Western tourists and journalists.

While we're still far away from AI that encapsulates all perspectives around the globe, a new app is at least making AI art more accessible to non-English audiences. Piasso is an AI-powered image generation app that not just understands Arabic, but understands HOW you write in Arabic. In other words, you can either type your prompt in standard Arabic, or you can write in Franco-Arabic - where you use your English-language keyboard to approximate Arabic words - and the app will automatically convert it to regular Arabic,

"I built Piasso because I believe the world is on the brink of an AI revolution that will impact nearly every aspect of our lives in the coming decade. I personally gained a lot of knowledge about AI using tools like MidJourney and Dall-E, which are only available in English," Ahmed Soliman, the developer behind Piasso, tells CairoScene. "That's why I'm committed to making similar tools available in Arabic to inspire the next generation of Arab artists, innovators, and AI researchers."

"Our app's ability to read and convert English-script Arabic into proper Arabic reflects our commitment to making our technology accessible and intuitive for all users," he adds. "This feature allows users to quickly and accurately express their ideas and thoughts, regardless of their language proficiency."

With apps like these, the door creaks ever more open for Arab participation in AI - and, eventually, for Arab voices to be expressed through AI as well.

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