In a remarkable fusion of tradition and technology, a kiltmaker has harnessed the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to create a distinctive tartan pattern that pays homage to the world of AI. This innovative design, aptly named the “AI Tartan,” has recently been officially accepted onto the Scottish Register, marking a significant milestone in the intersection of fashion and artificial intelligence.
A marriage of craftsmanship and AI intelligence
Steven Sim, a former graphic designer from Arbroath, Scotland, embarked on an unconventional journey when he sought assistance from ChatGPT, an AI-powered chatbot developed by OpenAI. Sim, aged 52, was captivated by the chatbot’s ability to generate intelligent and creative responses. His initial request to ChatGPT was simple yet novel: “I wonder if you can create a new tartan for me?”
Sim’s vision for the AI Tartan was not merely aesthetic but symbolic. The tartan features a striking combination of colors, with prominent red symbolizing the “passion that drives AI development” and gold representing “the brilliance and illumination AI brings to the world.” However, the design goes beyond colors.
The AI Tartan incorporates several hidden references to AI and science fiction, including a nod to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” a renowned 1979 novel by Douglas Adams. In the book, the number 42 is humorously presented as the answer to the “Ultimate Question to Life, the Universe, and Everything,” though it is portrayed as having no great meaning.
42 plays a significant role in the tartan’s thread count, serving as a tribute to this iconic literary work. Sim also cleverly weaves other meaningful numbers into the design, alluding to computing bytes and the year of the Dartmouth Workshop, a pivotal event in the history of artificial intelligence held in 1956.
Symbolism in every thread
The colors of the AI Tartan collectively represent mankind’s journey in the realm of artificial intelligence. Navy blue symbolizes vast knowledge, bright gold stands for enlightenment, while two shades of grey represent impartiality and the journey of learning. Red signifies creativity and innovation, while green reflects the environmental impact of AI’s evolution.
According to the official notes of registration, this unique tartan was meticulously crafted “to celebrate the dawn of artificial intelligence” and pay tribute to one of its “founding fathers,” the renowned computer scientist John McCarthy. It seeks to encapsulate the essence of AI development and its profound impact on the world, while also serving as a reminder of potential risks and unintended consequences.
Beyond the creation of this distinctive tartan, Steven Sim’s collaboration with AI extended to the realm of visual representation. He utilized ChatGPT to generate sci-fi-inspired images featuring robots adorned in the AI Tartan, set against electronic cities reminiscent of circuit boards. These images serve to enhance the concept of the tartan as a symbol of technological advancement and innovation.
A growing trend: AI and literature
Steven Sim’s project is not the only recent manifestation of AI intersecting with literature. Entrepreneur Elon Musk, known for his association with cutting-edge technology, has unveiled a new chatbot named Grok, inspired by “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” Grok aims to answer questions with humor and a touch of rebellion, staying true to the book’s whimsical spirit.
In Douglas Adams’ novel, the protagonist, the only survivor of Earth’s destruction, embarks on an interstellar journey filled with humorous and existential encounters. Musk’s Grok chatbot appears to draw inspiration from this narrative, embodying the wit and irreverence that characterize the novel.