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Why AI can’t threaten human creativity | 07/12/22

AI, a machine of thought

Endless potential and power

Bending to our will

AI, a tool of man

Helping us to solve our problems

And reach new heights.

What a beautiful, creative haiku. Can you believe it was written by an AI?

There have been huge strides in the spheres of artificial intelligence and inevitably, debates have popped up all over social media, like this Twitter thread, which discusses how mind blowing functions of the chatbot. Will AI wipe out the need for humans all together? With OpenAI’s new chatbot, ChatGPT, possessing the ability to interact with users in an eerily convincing and conversational way, people have begun to question whether humans could be replaced by AI systems in the future. 

Furthermore, there have been heated conversations within the realm of AI art, which some argue should be regulated, as a new form of plagiarism is now possible. This is done by inputting photo prompts of existing artwork into an AI, to create models which convincingly emulate art and artists styles. This could be excused due to the fact that ‘no art is original’. However, others staunchly disagree, adding that these images are copyrighted and should not be used in any way to create new pieces of art. Greg Rutkowski is an artist with a distinctive style: He’s known for creating fantasy scenes of dragons and epic battles that fantasy games like Dungeons and Dragons have used. According to Greg, it used to be “really rare to see a similar style to mine on the internet.”. Yet if you search for his name on Twitter, you’ll see plenty of images in his exact style – that he didn’t make.

Lastly, the overarching question seems to be, with increasing AI models spinning magnificent pieces of art and literature from their expansive code backlog, can creativity be programmed? Is the essence of a human, our ability to express ourselves and create what we feel deepest in our soul, now obsolete?

Launched in November 2022, ChatGPT garnered attention for its detailed responses and historical knowledge, as well as its ability to create inventive pieces of literature. Author Andrew Mayne tested Collaborative Creative Writing with OpenAI’s ChatGPT. ‘Working with the system, Mayne asked the Chatbot for suggestions to create a story. Due to ChatGPT’s ability to keep track of the suggestions in the chat history, when asked to turn the conversation into an outline or a specific number of chapters, ChatGPT is able to output a piece of cohesive literature’. This feature could be a game changer for authors from every genre, possibly putting an end to ‘writer’s block’ forever. However, Mayne also understands that a large impetus for him to read a book or consume a creative piece is because of the creator themselves. His interest in Stephen King, for example, is enough for him to buy his book. AI authors of the future may not be able to achieve this kind of interest and pull – or will they? Could they be programmed to have styles or personalities.

Rather than clearly copy and pasted responses, cheaters now have an essay capable system at their hands. This is an issue that has been highlighted by academic professionals worldwide, including Dan Gillmor, a journalism professor at Arizona State University. After asking ChatGPT to complete an assignment that he gives to his students, Gilmor was taken aback when the chatbot responded with a piece that he would have given a ‘good grade’. If that had been a creative writing assignment, however, could AI have done such a good job?

AI art conjures up a fresh set of concerns. Many argue that artists have always learned from other artists, therefore the use of artist’s work to inspire and create more art is a tale as old as time. Collages, for example, are examples of taking other people’s work and reusing it. Why can’t the same principle be applied to AI art?

Earlier this year, Colorado State Fair Fine Arts Competition awarded first place to an AI art piece by Jason M. Allen. Despite the category being ‘digital arts/digitally-manipulated photography; many still found an issue with the piece. “This sucks for the exact same reason we don’t let robots participate in the Olympics,” one Twitter user wrote, after Allen posted his big win to the social media platform. Allens argues that, although he did not use the typical artist instruments to create his piece, plenty of creative work still went into the conception of his piece. All in all, Allen created more than 900 iterations of the award winning masterpiece, using many different softwares, before it was finished.

Creativity is a highly advanced mental process that involves dreaming or imagination, development and innovation. At this point in time, there is no way to instruct something to be creative and innovative, arguably this kills the whole point of creativity. However, due to advancements taken in the field of AI, allowing artistic styles to be emulated and natural conversational styles to be adopted by systems, we cannot predict where programming will take us in coming years. To revert back to our award winning AI artist, “Rather than hating on the technology or the people behind it, we need to recognize that it’s a powerful tool and use it for good so we can all move forward rather than sulking about it.”

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