Wizard Wednesday Recap, 2023-05-17
The show opens with a song request by community member Slim (Vulfmon - I Can't Party). Elf says that apparently the Wizard Wednesday request line is now open, but there is no system — "you just gotta be lucky". Elf also mentions that he wants to talk about Story, the Large Lore Machine, the Loracle, give acknowledgements to Cult Content, and answer Cult Questions during the show.
Winners of the Forgotten Worlds Wizard Tower Building Contest
But first he announces the winners of the Forgotten Worlds Wizard Tower Building Contest, which he forgot last week:
1st Place: Leo the Wizard's Great Pyramid
2nd Place: Ixar's Mushroom Tower
3rd Place (Tie): Mobilize's Stone Tower & WanderWonder's Wacky Treehouse
Elf reiterates that he doesn't think the team gives enough love to Forgotten Worlds, and Bearsnake speaks up to say that he and Jitcy have been speaking with Merlin about "kickup up some fun" with Forgotten Worlds and mentions potential weekly streams in Discord.
This leads into an update for BlackSand and its ongoing race, "Toka's Mine Rush." Elf announces that the winner will receive a 1/1 mount while 2nd and 3rd places will receive BlackSand mounts. Elf also notes there are 633 mounts left to be minted and a burning ritual is nearing. Elf says, "I think it has been confirmed as indisputable established fact that whoever holds the most mounts when they mint out get to give Legatus a haircut at the next Wizard gathering."
The Power of a Wizard
Next, the team receives a question about Dragon Ball Z, and if the Wizards, Warriors, and Souls had a similar "Power Level", what would it be? The team says they don't know much about DBZ, but Elf says it would obviously be "over 9,000."
Following this, Elf answers a question regarding lore around The XYZ.
"This is a location that is mentioned in the souls collection and I actually wrote a little piece in the Wizzypedia about it. I will just say the XYZ is an immaterial dimension beyond the boundaries of our physical reality, but what makes it special as opposed to all of the other immaterial dimensions is that in the XYZ there's a specific type of magic which imbues the powers of the spoken word. So, many wizards, alchemists, and wordsmiths eagerly tap into the XYZ to invigorate the effect of their verbal abilities. 'Abracadabra' is one of the most common incantations used to invoke the power of the XYZ. And that's pretty much all I wrote."
He says he has been having fun writing a lot in the Wizzypedia lately about locations, items, and familiars.
Then Elf is asked about his understanding of Wizards who don't have Runes and if there are advantages or disadvantages compared to Wizards with Runes. He says he doesn't think there are advantages/disadvantages for those without Runes, but asks what it means to have one. He says it's possible that a Rune has additive or limiting qualities to specific spells from a lore perspective. He notes there may be other gaming mechanism or other on-chain mechanisms that come into play for those with or without a Rune.
Elf answers another questions regarding "Forgotten Ruins", a name by which the project is sometimes mistakenly referred. Elf says there are probably Forgotten Ruins everywhere in the Runiverse, which speaks to the entire ethos of what Forgotten Runes is about.
"When we see ruins in our world today, these are places, memories of cultures that have long been swallowed by the sands of time and I would say these ruins are their Rune that they put on the door so that we do not forget them."
Bearsnake mentions that this is evident in the Runiverse game, as there are ruins scattered across the world. "I think a lot of that lore will come through when the game launches."
Community member Bridge asks, "Aren't we technically the forgotten ruins of the Runiverse?"
Elf says, "You could definitely look at it that way. There is a little bit of distortion between the past and the future and the present thanks to Ouroboros. But I think these questions will become clear as Magic Machine puts out more and more storylines."
Magic Machine Stories
He says this is a good pivot to his next talking point about the Cult requesting more story content from Magic Machine with characters and plotlines to follow and become invested in. Magic Machine's answer to this has been building the base IP anchored in the Monomyth while the community creates storylines on top of that. Then, Magic Machine inserts that creative output into larger media expressions. Elf says, "The comic and the show take a while. I get that"
Bearsnake replies, "I want some heroes and villains, buddy!"
Elf responds, "Exactly, so I think what [the community wants] is more traditional storyline, perhaps digestible in a weekly, episodic format." However, he talks about hangups of different story formats. He says the Cult has expressed to most interest in video content, which he notes is the format that takes the longest and also the most labor-intensive. "I think we'll definitely do some of that, but in the immediate, we will go back to story threads on Twitter."
Elf says he has a lot of stories that he believes he can tell in this format and notes that the team is not lacking in content for storylines. He also talks about the team's internal discussions on using AI to assist in the production of this content.
A Focus On Character
On this topic, he relays that he has seen multiple comments from people stating that they do not want AI art — they want human-made art. Elf says he gets that, and will discuss it later in the show, but follows up with the next hangup of weekly Magic Machine content: Characters. He rhetorically asks what Characters the team should use in the stories, and notes that, at present, the team has decided to focus on Characters owned by Magic Machine. However, these characters will interact with Cult-owned Characters. He says the model for this is the comic.
Elf then speaks to the AI component of this: He notes the current AI trend cycle where a new model arrives, the community rejoices at new perspectives through the lens of this model, and as time passes, it becomes stale. "We all become bladerunners looking at replicants." He says that Magic Machine wants to avoid that, but he believes that there are ways to do this and still maintain the magic of human-created art. Elf speaks about all of the art the the community has created over the past couple of years, and he wants to optimize for that. He says the AI tools are only as good as the data they are trained on.
Elf says he is not advocating against the use of AI to make art. He is giving the same message he has given from Day 1: Create art with intent in earnest.
"Yes, that can actually be done with AI tools."
Elf says there are two shining examples of this already within the community, naming Madotsuki and TheOneWhoRings. He says they do this by training their own models and staying in control of the AI, not the other way around.
"They are using it as a powerful assistant."
"Magic Machine is not just going to type in a prompt, push the button, and done. 'There's the image to illustrate our story'."
He says that it will be used with Magic Machine-trained models in a very artistically intentional way.
Where Is the Art?
Elf leads the conversation into the topic of the Loracle, and Dotta jumps in to speak. Dotta says there is always the question of, "Where is the art?" around new or emerging technologies and mentions photography versus painting.
He says with AI, it's still very difficult to use and there's still a lot of art in it. Dotta says he doesn't think that "AI-Created Art vs Human-Generated Art" is the right dichotomy until the AI becomes sentient and creates its own art. He talks about how artists already use processes similar to generating content with AI by looking for content that they like or are inspired by in other artistic mediums — plotlines of books, compositions of shots in film, styles of painting.
"When you use the AI, it's doing the same thing, just a lot faster...At that point you still have to have your own Taste — you still have to have your own discretion. I think that's really where you get left with where the art is. The art is in the discretion...Someone looked at this and filtered through the possibilities and navigated the collective hallucination, and they picked out this one thing and said it was good."
He says that if he has one limit to what ends up in the Book of Lore, it's the idea that a human approved the content and to prove cryptographically which human approved the content. Dotta notes this is important in the case of spam, so that it can then be filtered out.
"The net incentives for the project are that people won't spam it, and if someone does, we'll know who it was."
Elf agrees that there is an element of curation as a part of creation. However, for instance, Elf says he can tell any piece of art that originates from the Midjourney Niji model, and he doesn't want a scenario where a majority of the Cult's content comes from the Niji model.
"Simply curating is not the same as the community we've cultivated."
Dotta thinks a lot of the problem is around how the content is surfaced, presented, and celebrated.
"Imagine a Book of Lore that has curation features, where we can show the ones the community loves and the ones that aren't as good get pushed to the bottom, almost like a feed. I would say let's not encourage everyone just posting Niji models, but at the same time, I would rather have someone do that than do nothing."
Elf circles back to say that putting your Rune on the door means putting your Rune on the door. He addresses Tabitha of the Marsh, who states that some members who may not be as artistically inclined want to make pieces that are visually appealing. Elf says that if Tabitha started substituting their own art for Niji creations, the voice is lost. Dotta says he is wary about drawing any lines because of the belief that art can be created in any medium. He says he thinks the system is self-correcting in that there are works that define a medium, then it gets tired with copycats, and people move to something new. Elf says he thinks they're saying the same thing. He is trying to optimize against homogenization and rote copying, and he encourages the community to go beyond "Push Button Art".
Origins of the Loracle
After this, Elf launches into the origins of the Loracle, which began with the Gigas Chad Wizmas event. Dotta says exploring language models and uncovering what is possible with them, even by the people who create them, is something that is happening every day. Dotta speaks about his inspirations by the Westworld Paper and creating agents wherein the language model is able to iterate upon given instructions to complete a task. He says that understanding the way to provide knowledge to GPT-4 served as a huge leap for its use. He says the net output of a few different leaps in understanding of this technology have resulted in desirable responses from the language model.
Dotta also speaks about a mapping tool for the Runiverse that works in a way that displays plausible locations when zoomed in.
Elf says he casually DM'd Dotta to ask for a dashboard for asking the Book of Lore questions, which he provided in around 30 minutes. Dotta says it was about 3 months of work to build that UI in 30 minutes. He had already built question-answering into the location generator. So, he used this mechanism in a GPT bot and wrote the Loracle, which he then passed to testers. He says he has learned a lot about the Book of Lore from Loracle searches.
"It understands the depths of the Book of Lore in a way that I don't think anyone else does."
An Incentive For Creativity
Dotta notes that the Loracle also provides citations that link directly to the Book of Lore. Elf says this has massive implications: creative, financial, and social. He says this is how we build continuity within the Runiverse. Bearsnake says that this levels the playing field and allows the stories that are written to be woven tighter, because people start "drawing from the same brain."
Dotta says, "We can have this better understanding of what the magic system is, how we think about the characters, and how they relate to one another in these really deep ways."
Elf also notes the economic implications of lore-tracking capabilities and explains this loop:
> Creation of a "lore unit"
> Lore unit enters the Large Lore Machine
> Content is generated from that lore unit
> Content generates sales revenue
> Properly identify where shares of that revenue go
> Incentivizes the creation of more lore
Dotta says he is excited about this, because he believes it will allow more tools to be built that help creators to actually do what they seek out to do. He mentions that he wants to get the Loracle into the hands of the the Cult ASAP, maybe by the end of the week if he can. "It will be Beta. It will be rough. It will say wrong things. It's not going to be perfect, so be gentle with your expectations of it." Dotta says the first problem he sees with the Loracle is its use as a search engine. It can do so much more than that:
"It can act a little bit like a dungeon master. It can help give you outlines. It can give you insights into character. It can suggest poems for you. It can explain ideas for items in the Runiverse. There's so much by way of creative content that it can produce."
Dotta says he wants these tools to be able to help him craft stories, as he has a hard time with a blank sheet of paper, as compared to Elf, who has no trouble creating believable, likable characters. He says that he sees potential in helping average/below-average storytellers. Elf says:
"There's always going to be places in the world where original creators go to. That is where value is created. Not copied, but created. Not curated, but created. We need to maintain that as much as possible."
"We want to create a ground that is fertile for artists and a place where artists can make a living creating artwork about Forgotten Runes. I think that's always been one of the things that we've wanted."
Artists and Job Security In the Time of AI
After looking at the artwork commissioned by Madotsuki and Magus Wazir, Dotta says that he wishes he had more art for his Wizards in order to train his own models. He notes it's not lost on him that he needed art from humans so that he would never have to ask for it again. Elf says that this speaks to the economic model that he mentioned earlier such that revenue could be appropriately distributed to the original creator. Dotta mentions that the business side is oriented toward the token-holder. Dotta says that the model isn't structured such that commissioned artists would be paid back. The owner of the Wizard would collect that shared revenue. He adds that there could be a better way for incentivizing long-term art creation.
Elf uses this to touch on the negative connotations around "data-mining" due to Web2 companies exploiting users through use of their own data. He notes that Forgotten Runes is the exact opposite. By feeding lore into the LLM, it increases the cultural reach of your Character.
Dotta notes a comment by Acideater who says that it's sad we're training artists out of jobs. Dotta says that he thinks about this, too, in his own profession with reference to opensource code, in that language models have access to human-written code and become better for it. He says he thinks it's inevitable that machines will assist with art creation, but his hope is the idea that it can be harnessed for a more productive, decentralized distribution of the economics rather than harnessing it all in one corporation.
Dotta thinks that the more hands-on a person becomes with these tools, the more the anxiety goes away (besides the anxiety of creating an ASI that kills us all). "A lot of human work goes into making AI art."
Madotsuki Talks Models
Madotsuki takes the stage to talk about his work with AI generation of Magus Devon images. He speaks to the point that the culmination of works on a specific subject tend to focus less on the style the art was produced in and more on the qualities of the particular subject. Madotsuki notes the generation of the Magus Devon ball-joint doll image and states that it isn't intended to copy an existing style of an artist, but the intent was to appear as a photograph that does not exist. He talks about the logistics of commissioning an artist to create the doll versus generating a picture that he wanted.
"I'm not particularly taking somebody's job from doing that, because that wouldn't come into reality regardless.My model didn't spit that out by stealing from somebody's style. It spat that out by training it, I got it to learn: How does Magus Devon look? What makes this Character look like this Character?"
Madotsuki also says this doesn't stop him from commissioning art and he mentions that he just commissioned an artist to make a Magus Devon work in a GBC style.
"I can't replace an artist with my gens. But I can do stuff that I can't expect an artist to do for me."
Cult Content and Closing Comments
Once the conversation winds down, Elf speaks about the awesome Cult Content from this week's Cult Content Chronicle.
During the Cult Content talk, Bearsnake gives a PSA to say that anyone who has ongoing community initiatives should reach out to the team and let them know about it.
"We're trying to get smart around making sure we're supporting all of the community spaces or initiatives."
In closing, Dotta talks about his excitement about the tools that will come from the Large Lore Machine. He also briefly mentions Niski's work on the gasless Book of Lore.
"This time of the bear market is a great time for us to focus on building out the lore and the Characters."