Russian Voice Assistant Alice Can Paint Landscapes and Abstract Concepts on Command

Alice, the voice assistant created by Russian search engine giant Yandex, can now draw pictures based on voice commands. The voice assistant, sometimes known as Alisa, is accessible through the Yandex app and internet browser.

Alice Artist

The artificial intelligence underlying Alice uses two neural networks to figure out what to draw based on what it is told. Twentieth-century art and painting were used to train one of the neural networks, while the other analyzes and understands what is in the painting. The Yandex search engine collated responses to search queries comparing images and words as the training method for the neural networks. Building on those neural networks, Alice can also spot what is in a painting it is shown, and who created it.

“[Alice] now knows how to create pictures at a users’ request. Just ask her and she will draw anything, whether it is an olive grove or a deserted beach. This is the first voice assistant in the world that generates pictures on any topic,” Yandex said in a statement. “In order to get a picture from Alisa it is enough to ask her: Alisa, draw a panda or Alisa, draw an autumn landscape. She can even depict something that is hard to imagine — for example, inspiration. It could be that this sort of picture will turn out to be a real masterpiece.”

Singing and Painting

The painting element adds a new art category for Alice. The voice assistant recently became a kind of AI music critic able to share information about a song currently playing, including the context for its release. Being able to paint ‘inspiration is a unique idea for a consumer AI, however. Using artificial intelligence to create art is usually an art project itself. Still, with more than 30 million monthly users, there are likely to be plenty of art aficionados eager to learn about art or take up the hobby that will learn something from using Alice this way. Another element that will entice art lovers is the open platform for third-party app developers provided for Alice. The idea is to encourage more people to experiment with the voice assistant’s capabilities. Combine that with an AI capable of creating and conversing about art and there may end up being some very interesting art exhibits in the next few years.


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