We asked 100 humans to draw the DALL·E prompts

Edwin Chen
May 12, 2022
We asked 100 humans to draw the DALL·E prompts

Quick: which one of these was generated by a human, and which by an AI?

Human or AI?
Human or AI?

What about now?

Basquiat or BasquiAI?
DALL·E or Dalí?

(Answer: AI, human, human, AI.)

OpenAI’s DALL·E image generation system is wild. Imagine a future where every homemade bedtime story can be turned into an IMAX-quality cartoon…

At Surge AI, our bread and butter is using superintelligent humans to train rich, creative AI. But what happens when those machines become advanced enough to augment human capabilities instead? Where will human artistry and creativity fit in then?

Here's an optimistic comment from a visual designer on Reddit:

Artists, designers, photographers, creative types of all flavors will have important roles in this new AI-image world. I'm a visual designer and I honesty can't wait for the engines to get better, or at least to be able to get access to something like Dall-e-2.

I've said this elsewhere, but AI will make the kind of work I do even more valuable because I'll spend less time on grunt work and more time on higher-value creative tasks such as creative/art direction and concept development. If I need series of icons in a certain style for a project, instead of spending hours or days searching vector stock resources for what I need or creating them myself, I can just describe what I want to the AI and have it generate what I need in seconds. Seconds of work instead of days. That makes me insanely more productive. Instead of one project for a client, I've now churned out a dozen in the same amount of time.

To understand this question better, we paid 100 random Surgers – most with average drawing skills! – to spend 15-30 minutes drawing one of the DALL·E prompts. Here are some of our favorites and how they compare.

An astronaut, playing basketball with cats in space, as a children’s book illustration

DALL·E 2 versions:

Human versions:

Teddy bears, mixing sparkling chemicals as mad scientists, as a 1990s Saturday morning cartoon

Interestingly, as one Hacker News commenter pointed out, the human-drawn bears are clearly mad scientists out to conquer the world, while the AI bears lack that crazy, evil gleam.

DALL·E 2 versions:

Surger versions:

An illustration of a baby daikon radish, in a tutu, walking a dog

DALL·E 1 versions:

Surger versions:

Which one’s your favorite? If you'd like to check out more Surger vs. AI examples, check out this Twitter thread!

Which one's the human, and which one's the AI?

Got a creative task you’d like hundreds of Surgers to work on as well? We believe data labeling isn't about mere sentiment analysis anymore. It's about training AI in the full spectrum of capabilities we want it to attain, whether it's understanding the subtleties of social media, solving math problems, teaching machines human values, learning to program, evaluating search quality, or becoming the next van Gogh. Reach out to hello@surgehq.ai or follow us on Twitter at @HelloSurgeAI to learn more!

Edwin Chen

Edwin Chen

Edwin oversees Surge AI's Engineering and Research teams — whether it's helping customers train large language models on human feedback, building content moderation algorithms to detect hate speech and spam, or scaling up an elite data labeling workforce. He previously led AI, Data Science, and Human Computation teams at Google, Facebook, and Twitter, and studied mathematics and linguistics at MIT.

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