Maybe I’m a neo-Luddite, but I’m worried we’re close to the peak of human creativity, and it’s the fault of ‘creative’ AI like ChatGPT and DALL-E.
Ironically this boom in AI generative creativity makes me think of the closing scenes of DALL-Es name inspiration, WALL-E, where the humans are being carried around on hover chairs, plugged into TV screens. I fear this rush of creative AI tools will get us quickly to a similar situation, not because AI will take our jobs or do everything for us, but creatively; this is where human existence peaks.
Creative thinking is what helps us solve problems and move forward. We must use creativity to find a solution when a new problem exists.
These tools are prismatic mirrors on humanity, you look into them, and they show you a version of someone else looking at the mirror somewhere else in the world, overlain on your specific request. They interpret your request through a filter of a collection of all other creative works.
These tools are not generative. They are regurgitative. They spew back versions of other things cleverly merged. This is how humans generate most creative works. Taking influences, and summing them together to create something else, and this is why these tools are sparking a collective excitement, they feel like replacements for human creatives.
But most creative works are stagnations of where we are currently.
Over time a general global creative flow has existed. People have picked things from within the parameters of this global collective flow, put them together, and created something ‘new’, but these things have predominantly been still within the parameters of this global flow, within the accepted ‘creative boundaries’.
However, now and again, some visionary, exceptional minds have created something that sits outside these boundaries, which has enhanced the overall flow. It’s easy to imagine the global flow as a river and these events as tributaries to the river
The Renaissance, Impressionism, Punk, Pop Art, and even Memes all came from outside the general flow, from outside the boundaries and rules and pushed us forward creatively, globally.
I fear that if we become dependent on these AI “generative” creative tools, these events will no longer happen, and we will be just looping back around on the same sources, feeding the output of the AI machine back into the machine. Diluting creativity and halting progress on a global level. Reducing our abilities to solve new, unknown problems that the models aren’t aware of.
But, Maybe There is Hope.
Undoubtedly, products like ChatGPT, DALL-E, Midjourney et al are epic leaps forward as technical solutions. They commoditize some access to certain levels of creativity that people might not have had before, helping them solve everyday problems.
If we’re aware that these are regurgative rather than generative, we can make sure that we keep flexing our creative muscles to solve the problems we’re not aware of yet, the problems the models have yet to see and have yet to be trained on.
Like every supportive tool, we need to be careful of atrophy. Like cars, we know now that if we overuse them, we get unhealthy, and our body atrophy.
Keep your brain sharp, don’t rely on these tools to the extent your thoughts degrade, and we’ll be fine.
The robots will only take the jobs of those with the rotten brain.