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AIvolution: The End of Human Creation?

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

Every other day we hear about new and exciting AI technology in the media, especially AI chatbots. Some are truly revolutionary, some less so. Either way, it’s evident that we are in the midst of a novel evolution of our environment. Therefore, we must ask ourselves, in a world where AI chatbots feed us answers and create our articles, designs, and songs, will there be room for human creation, or is it doomed to become nothing more than an amalgamation of thousands of data points that gather into the most probable output?


AIvolution: The End of Human Creation?
Sucked into a Bagel - "Everything Everywhere All At Once"

Chatbots are software programs that understand spoken or written human language based on Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities. It means that a chatbot can detect the intent of a query that a user types in and deliver the best response it deems fit. Some chatbots simply rely on a set of predefined rules that enable them to ask questions, interpret responses, and execute actions. However, for them to learn and improve on their own from interactions they have with humans, chatbots require massive amounts of data that are being processed by deep learning, a type of artificial intelligence. Thereby, the more an end user interacts with an AI chatbot, the better its responses become.

Like any other technology, AI chatbots are sophisticated human creations that are designed to imitate humans or animals, automate, accelerate, and upgrade their capabilities so that we can focus on other tasks, thus saving time and money. Today, this technology allows users to perform a variety of actions such as engaging in conversation in a human-like manner, creating realistic images and art from a natural language description, and generating multiple sets of lyrics in various styles - and that’s just the beginning.



AIvolution: The End of Human Creation?


The growing concern is that as AI chatbots take on more and more functionalities and become better at them, our ability to think for ourselves and create will be rendered redundant, and that creative professions are at risk. Thus, it’s disconcerting to imagine what will happen to creators such as writers, designers, and musicians if human creation is replaced by AI technology. But, can it?


The answer largely depends on whether AI technology will be able to fulfill our needs in the same way, or even better than human creation. For this purpose, we need to examine what makes a creation worthy of existence and then figure out whether artificial intelligence can imitate its production process and thus replace us entirely.


Thomas Flight - The Terror of “Everything Everywhere All At Once”



Utility


“Creation is the act or process of making something that is new, or of causing something to exist that did not exist before.” - Oxford University Press

Creations emerge in many forms, but they are not always sustainable. For creation to survive, it needs to bring some utility to society. This is why skilled entrepreneurs, for example, first focus on finding a good problem to solve or a market need to fulfill, rather than a creative idea to develop. According to art entrepreneur, Goda Smilingytė, art has two goals to achieve:

1. Making a strong emotional impact

2. Creating a long-lasting impression


The degree of its success depends on people’s judgment which differs based on their diverse experiences, tastes, and values. That is why it is impossible to reach a consensus on the quality of an artwork. Therefore, it makes sense that certain AI creations would be considered good art for some people, as long as they create the same effect for them as human creation. However, this doesn’t mean that we will stop consuming human-made art, and it may even increase its value.



With that said, not all creations live up to the standards of art, some elicit only moderate reactions, are quite forgettable, or are originally made to be temporary to maintain their relevance. Nowadays, we can find many of them online on our search engines and social media, such as blogs, photos, and videos that get rated by views, likes, comments, shares, and bookmarks. Once they stop driving traffic, they simply sink into an abyss of endless data, and more attractive pieces of content rise in our search results. Nevertheless, we continue to consume them one by one indefinitely and generate revenue for search engines, social media platforms, news and media organizations, advertisers, and influencers.


That is because they serve our other needs like entertainment, information, and consumerism. However, the most important aspect of content consumption is human connection. We want to know what people are doing or thinking so we can empathize with them, build relationships, or simply be informed as it gives us a sense of who we are in the world. Hence, it is hard to believe that artificial intelligence could substitute all types of creations for us, especially those that reflect our real life, thoughts, and feelings, thus allowing us to connect with other human beings.


Moreover, we must remember that human creation serves two masters - the observer and the creator. Therefore, even if AI technology can technically do what we do, human creation will continue to be produced as long as we have the drive to do it and the market to consume it.


Prince Warns About the Internet in 1999



Creativity


Robert E. Franken in his book Human Motivation defines creativity as “the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others.”


Franken outlines three reasons why people are motivated to be creative:

1. Need for a novel, varied, and complex stimulation

2. Need to communicate ideas and values

3. Need to solve problems


The difference between creating and creativity is the difference between a process and a set of techniques that can be developed with practice. According to the book The Art of Thought by Graham Wallas, a social psychologist and educationalist, creative individuals generally go through five stages in their quest to bring their ideas to fruition:


1. Preparation - where the brain is using its memory bank to draw on knowledge and past experiences to generate ideas.


2. Incubation - taking a break from the idea and not consciously trying to work on it, just letting it be in the back of the mind.


3. Illumination - the “aha” moment where spontaneous new connections are formed and all of the accumulated material comes together to present the solution to the problem.


4. Evaluation - considering the validity of the idea and its alignment with the overall vision and weighing it against alternatives through research and tests.


5. Verification - putting in the work to bring the idea to life and sharing it with the world.



Taking these steps into account, we can certainly argue that AI chatbots can be creative, as the first three stages rely on memory and are similar to how AI chatbots work, and the quality of the last stage depends mainly on their level of sophistication. However, the fourth stage of Evaluation is trickier to accomplish as it revolves around having a cohesive vision, which Oxford Languages defines as “the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom”, or more descriptively:


“A vision is a vivid mental image of something that you would like for the future. It is more than just a goal, but rather the embodiment of hopes, dreams, and aspirations in a certain domain; an idea of what has not happened yet, but may and should hopefully come to pass at some point. It encompasses the goals and objectives that someone wants to attain or carry out mid- or long-term. It helps us grow and improve and offers us glimpses of what might come.” - Trisoft

Having a vision is closely linked to people’s will, aka choice, which stems from their personality. Thus, we need to examine whether relying on memory alone is sufficient to create a human-like AI entity with a will of its own.



In this regard, we can refer to Daniel Kahneman, psychologist and founding father of behavioral economics, who suggests that we view ourselves as having two 'selves' - the experiencing self, who understands the present moment, and the remembering self, who follows the state of things and tells us the story of our lives. In his work on 'memory vs. experience', he states that the remembering self is essentially in charge, and it is our memory of things that dictates how we judge a past event, how we make a decision right now, and how we determine the likely outcome of a future event. Ultimately, this means that our experience of a moment is irrelevant and that what affects our decision-making and choices is only our memory of it.


Hence, it is possible for an AI entity to mimic a human personality by relying on memories of experiences, hopes, dreams, aspirations, likes, and dislikes. It can even learn and evolve due to interactions with humans that will prompt it to make new decisions on its own based on their alignment with these core memories. However, it will always be another form of imitation, and never the source.


“The Matrix” - Choice



Authenticity


Some think of originality as the basis for creating something unique that uncovers one’s true voice. However, according to legendary writer Mark Twain, originality doesn’t even exist.


“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely, but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.” - Mark Twain

Hence, if every thought is just a new combination of recycled material, do we as humans have a vital role in the creation process, or can we simply be replaced by "modern kaleidoscopes" such as AI chatbots?


A quote by Helene Hegemann, a German writer accused of plagiarism, might point us to the answer:


“There's no such thing as originality, just authenticity.” - Helene Hegemann

Authenticity is the quality of being genuine, legitimate, and real. In the context of art, according to American art philosopher and web entrepreneur Denis Dutton, there’s a distinction between nominal authenticity and expressive authenticity. The former refers to the historical origin of an object, and the latter to the “object’s character as a true expression of an individual’s or a society’s values and beliefs.”


We care about origins because we value essence. We pay special attention to the history of an object – who touched it, where it has been, and what its purpose was. We also value artists’ intent and want to know that their artworks are a committed, personal, and honest expression of themselves. We subscribe to, as the Professor of Psychology Paul Bloom explains in his book How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like, “the notion that things have an underlying reality or true nature that one cannot observe directly and it is this hidden nature that really matters.”


As a result, we may feel that AI chatbots, a form of human imitation, lack the element of authenticity and therefore underrate their creations. However, we should reconsider the importance of a creation’s authenticity when determining its value and understand whether it makes it valuable in a distinctive way so that it becomes irreplaceable. If not, we must allow ourselves to use alternative creation techniques that will serve us better, such as AI chatbots, which may reduce authenticity while increasing utility. We must always weigh the significance of both merits, in the creation process and in the final product, to examine whether it is essential that a human would be the sole creator or if it doesn’t matter as long as something useful or creative is produced.




Final Words


AI chatbots are a disruptive technology that can imitate and become much better than us in many fields, as they are able to create infinite new connections between endless pieces of data and evolve based on new interactions. Whether or not this will be enough for us to value AI-made creations in the same way we value human-made ones depends on how well they will serve our physical, intellectual, and psychological needs via their utility, creativity, and authenticity.


Ultimately, the production of human creation will be determined by market demand. Therefore, as long as a creation’s purpose is to serve humans, we should expect to see various types of creations that suit different target audiences from diverse backgrounds, views, and preferences. The AIvoultion might also increase the monetary value of human creation in some cases, and motivate some creators to continue to create without AI. In any case, I predict that we will eventually live in a hybrid world where we can consume AI-made, human-made, and mixed creations in almost every field in varying capacities.


However, as with any significant change, there are people who try to resist it. Legitimate concerns about a possible loss of livelihood, decline in our mental abilities, and destruction of human connection arise. Yet, we must continue to engage with AI technologies in all forms of creation to feed our curiosity, challenge our worldviews, and expand our possibilities. Otherwise, we will limit ourselves to being stuck in the past instead of innovating, evolving, and perhaps even becoming better versions of ourselves.


1966: Children Imagine Life in the Year 2000


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