Will AI spell the end of human creativity?
The impact of AI on human creativity will depend on what we choose to do with it, rather than what it does by itself
"This was the day a computer wrote a novel. It put the pursuit of its own pleasure first, and ceased serving people" - these were the final lines of a Hoshi Shinichi Prize-nominated book titled "The Day a Computer Writes a Novel".
Submitted to the third Hoshi Shinichi Literary Award competition, a science fiction award established to memorialise Japan's renowned science fiction writer Hoshi Shinichi, the book was nominated for the winner position. The surprising fact is, this book was written mainly by innovative artificial intelligence (AI).
This event prompted me to consider whether AI will be a threat or a blessing to human creativity in the days to come. Whatever way we look at it, one thing is certain: with the rapid advancement and expanding application of AI in our lives, we are in for a period of change - perhaps a new wave of revolution.
In some ways, AI can be viewed as a threat to creativity because of its ability to automate certain tasks, including those previously performed by humans and requiring basic creative thinking. For example, AI algorithms can generate and write articles, stories and book scripts. One revolutionary step in this field is ChatGPT3, an OpenAI language model capable of generating text in response to a prompt. It has been trained to act on a given prompt to perform tasks such as answering questions, summarising text, translating languages, and more. Drawing on diverse internet text, it possesses the ability to produce human-like responses. This automation of creative tasks may reduce demand for human creatives and/or limit their opportunities to showcase their abilities.
However, as an AI language model, ChatGPT and platforms alike are not capable of having personal opinions or emotions. It can draw and create only from the data it was trained on, which limits the machine's creativity to the training data it has. Human creativity, on the other hand, is not limited by the collective human experience. Humans can dream of dystopia as wild as "The Lord of the Rings" or the classic, "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".
For sure, ChatGPT, as a language model, can generate text in any genre, including dystopian fiction. If you simply give it a prompt or a theme, it can use its training on a large corpus of text to create a dystopian novel based on your input. One example of the creativity level to which AI-generated art can reach is the artwork titled "Theater D'opera Spatial", an artwork made by AI that won first place at the Colorado State Fair's fine arts competition last year.
However, the point to keep in mind is that the quality and coherence of the output will vary depending on the complexity and specificity of the command, and of course the limitations of the AI in question.
On a rather optimistic note, it is also possible to view AI as a complement to human creativity, as it can assist and enhance the creative process by providing new tools and resources for authors and creatives. By working together, humans and AI can create unique and innovative works that would take the world to new heights.
Ultimately, the impact of AI on creativity depends on how it is used and integrated into the creative process. AI platforms can help creative people by automating tasks like idea generation and basic text writing, freeing up time for them to pursue endeavours that require more creative thinking - a job only humans are fit for. It can also help people spend less time laying the foundation and more time trying to add unique perspectives to the work at hand by providing almost instant access to information. It can also help with collaboration by facilitating communication and providing a platform for sharing and organising information and ideas.
For instance, one of the key ways AI is used in the creative field is in image and video editing. With the help of AI, photographers and videographers can process vast amounts of data and automate tedious tasks such as colour correction, cropping, and resizing. AI algorithms can analyse images and videos to identify the most interesting elements, and then make suggestions on how to improve the composition or colour balance. This makes the editing process faster, and more efficient and frees up more time for the creative to focus on other aspects of their work.
The impact of AI on creativity is a double-edged sword. On one hand, the ability of AI to automate certain tasks can be seen as a threat to human creativity and reduce demand for human creatives. On the other hand, AI can also be seen as a complement to human creativity, providing new tools and resources that can assist and enhance the creative process to a great extent. Ultimately, the impact of AI on human creativity will depend on what we choose to do with it, rather than what it does by itself. The key here is to not become overly reliant on AI to complete tasks, but rather to view it as a time-saving tool that allows us to add more creative twists to the work.
Riedwan Habibur Rahman is a Research Associate at the Centre for Peace and Justice (CPJ), BRAC University.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard.