I have mixed feelings about artificial intelligence (AI). On one hand, it’s the cutting edge of technology, computers that can think, reason, and make decisions. There are amazing implications for how that can help to advance healthcare, science, and technology. But on the other hand, I’m concerned about the implications in the creative fields. Can AI kill our creativity?
The fact is, AI is already becoming a problem in the world of creativity. A few months ago one of the largest science fiction magazines, Clarkesworld, had to stop accepting submissions due to the enormous number of AI-generated stories they were receiving. There’s also been a glut of AI-created visual arts and music. Take the case of a photographer who recently submitted an AI-generated photograph to a contest and won. He later revealed the fakery and forfeit the prize, but still, it shows how dangerous this software is when it comes to artistic endeavors.
In the world of music, forms of AI and software enhancement have been in play for many years. Auto-tune, for example, is using software to manipulate vocals in various ways. While it does change the original voice, it’s more of a tool than actually replacing human vocals with computer-generated ones. There are also digital instruments, but again, someone has to play or program them, so there’s still an element of human endeavor involved.
These examples are much different than telling an AI program to create a classic rock song and then sitting back and letting it do all the work. There’s no creativity involved at this point and the results aren’t quite as original. That’s the problem with using AI to create, it can’t be original. In order for an AI program to create, say, a painting, one has to input a variety of paintings. The AI then takes elements from all those paintings and uses them to create a new one. In a way, it’s electronic plagiarism.
The other issue is that AI isn’t as intelligent as it seems. At least, not yet. Students have started using AI to write their school papers, but what’s happening is that the software is making up things, like fake citations, which are easily disproven. A great example of this was a lawyer in New York who used ChatGPT to do case research for him. The filing he submitted contained fake case references.
The upside of AI is that it has the potential to be a useful tool in many industries, but the downside is that it is already being abused by people who are looking for shortcuts. As a writer, painter, photographer, and musician, I have no interest in AI. In fact, I’ve never used it for anything, never even played with the software (which is saying something, because I do enjoy experimenting with software). I don’t want to give up my creativity, my personal voice and vision. Using AI to write a book or create a digital painting is cheating. And really, where’s the joy in doing this?
Yes, creating can be difficult. Getting the words just right on the page can be a chore, but in the end, when I look back at the story I wrote, I feel a sense of pride and deep happiness. If I were to have an AI program write it for me, what do I get out of that? There can’t be a satisfaction or sense of accomplishment. It’s no different than paying someone else to write the story for me, then putting my name on it and claiming it as my own output. It’s just wrong.
I’m concerned about what the future holds for writers, artists, and other creative fields. AI is a threat, especially in the hands of people who don’t respect creativity. Unfortunately, there’s no stopping it. The genie is out of the bottle. I just hope there will continue to be a place for human endeavor in the world. What are your thoughts on AI?