The Dalí Museum used AI to recreate Salvador Dalí’s voice—so you can ask him anything

‘Ask Dalí’ invites museum visitors to refer any questions about the late artist’s work directly to his AI likeness

Published On
Apr 15, 2024
A lobster phone used to ask questions of Salvador Dalí

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If you could ask any artist a question, dead or alive, who would it be?

If you answered “Salvador Dalí,” you’re in luck, because a new experience at the The Dalí Museum allows visitors to ask any question of a recreated Salvador Dalí using AI. 

Created by Goodby Silverstein & Partners, “Ask Dalí” invites visitors at the St. Petersburg, Florida-based museum to converse with the late painter by picking up a telephone modeled after his famous “Lobster Phone” and ask any question they like.

The AI Dali was created from machine-learning models including ChatGPT-4 from OpenAI and Eleven Multilingual V2 from Eleven Labs.

In a teaser video, the museum demonstrates sample questions to ask Dalí, from “Why are the clocks melting,” in reference to his famous 1931 surrealist painting “The Persistence of Memory” to “Did you really dream all these things?”

 

To create the campaign, GS&P trained the AI models using Dalí’s paintings and archival audio. The resulting voice sounds remarkably like Dalí's real voice, and the dialogue reflects his personality, style and humor.

The campaign comes as sonic AI is becoming more sophisticated, with Open AI recently unveiling a voice engine that recreates human voices, and creators developing AI songs using artists’ voices. The rapidly evolving technology has also fueled concerns about how it could be used to deceive people and spread misinformation. There is also the ethical question of whether a dead person’s likeness should be used without their consent: “We believe, if the artist were alive today, he would absolutely be working with new media, and we’re honored to be able to share an experience re-created in Dalí’s spirit, to inform and inspire visitors,” the museum said in a statement. 

Dali does not have surviving family members, the museum said, noting that he left the Kingdom of Spain as his heir. 

“Dalí was fascinated by the latest tools and technologies of his era and continually explored various artistic media,” said Jeff Goodby, co-founder and co-chairman of GS&P, in a statement. “‘Ask Dalí’ provides a delightful new way to interact with machine-learning technology. Dalí’s poetic writings, in an imaginative style all his own, are the basis of the training, which provides dynamic and unpredictable answers to visitors’ questions.”

The AI Dali was also interviewed on the Creativity Squared podcast

It also follows other AI collaborations between the Dalí Museum and GS&P. In 2019, GS&P created the “Dalí Lives” exhibit using AI, allowing visitors to learn about Dalí’s life and work from a screen reimagining Dalí’s likeness. In 2022, the museum and GS&P worked with OpenAI to create “Dream Tapestry,” an experience in which AI creates original digital paintings from a text description that Dalí Museum visitors provide.