We are excited to announce The Next Wave Podcast with Matt Wolfe and HubSpot! Learn more

How Generative AI Works: A Simple Diagram Explanation

Written by Nathan Lands

Generative AI, also known as Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs), is a powerful subset of artificial intelligence(AI) that has revolutionized various industries, including art, music, and design. In this blog post, we will explore the inner workings of generative AI and how it creates new and original content.

At the heart of generative AI lies a unique architecture consisting of two main components: the generator and the discriminator. These components work in tandem but have distinct roles in the generative process.

The Generator

The generator is responsible for creating new content that mimics human creations. It starts with random noise as input and employs deep learning techniques to generate output data such as images, music, or text. The goal here is for the generated content to be so convincing that it becomes indistinguishable from something created by a human being.

To achieve this high level of realism and accuracy, the generator uses complex mathematical models called neural networks. These networks are trained on large datasets consisting of real examples to learn patterns, styles, structures, and other characteristics specific to a particular domain.

The Discriminator

The discriminator acts as an adversary to the generator's creative endeavors. Its objective is to differentiate between real content (e.g., images taken by photographers or text written by humans) and generated content produced by the generator.

Similar to the generator's approach, a discriminator also employs deep learning techniques based on neural networks that train on labeled datasets containing both real examples and artificially generated ones. This training helps fine-tune its ability to distinguish between original human-created content and generatively produced ones.

The Adversarial Process

The magic behind generative AI lies in the interplay between these two components - the generator and discriminator - within an adversarial framework.

During training sessions, these components engage through iterative feedback loops where they continuously improve their skills. The generator uses feedback from the discriminator to guide its creative process, learning to produce more realistic and convincing content that the discriminator is less likely to identify as artificial.

On the other hand, the discriminator gets better at identifying subtle discrepancies between real and generated content, pushing the generator to enhance its output quality further.

This adversarial process leads to a constant refinement of both components until they reach a point where the generated content becomes nearly undistinguishable from human-created content.

Potential Applications

Generative AI has an array of applications across various domains. For instance, in art and design, it can be used to create unique paintings or generate new architecture designs. In music, generative algorithms can compose original melodies or harmonies that sound human-produced.

Moreover, generative AI offers possibilities in fields such as data augmentation for machine learning models and generating realistic synthetic data for training purposes.


Generative AI's power lies in its ability to create new and original content that closely resembles human creativity. By utilizing a generator and discriminator within an adversarial process, this subset of AI has unleashed a world of possibilities across multiple industries.

To dive deeper into how Generative AI works and learn about related advancements in artificial intelligence technology like Gen AI, visit Gen AI and Generative AI.

*Note: The blog post aims t