Recently, I had a conversation with a well-known illustrator friend who was expressing his discontent about artificial intelligence. As our conversation escalated online, several creative professionals joined in, lamenting the supposed death of art, creativity, and, consequently, our livelihoods.
the ability to produce or use original and unusual ideas
I added my two cents that AI should not be perceived as competition, but rather as a tool to align with our times. I argued that ChatGPT wouldn’t transform anyone into a journalist, just as Midjourney wouldn’t make me a graphic designer, because I miss the skills to use it right. And then a graphic designer girl got very emotional. “Midjourney? You are not a designer yourself, so you fail to see that what it does is a piece of shit”.
While I understand – and partially share some of – these worries, I don’t think AI is ready to kill art and/or creativity or take our jobs.
This could be a really short article, I should link this thread with ChatGPT. It unequivocally demonstrates how AI can’t perform a task if you don’t know how to do it yourself. For those who’d rather not click: I asked ChatGPT to write this article, and the result was:
- Even more dull
Despite using various trending prompt engineering techniques, the outcome remained the same. If I had devoted a few more hours to this project, I might have generated a more satisfactory result. However, by then, I could have completed the article and hopefully be halfway through my annual apricot jam project, given how many kilos of apricots are sitting on my kitchen counter.
I can use Large Language Models (LLMs) to aid my work – gathering facts, ideas, pros/cons, backgrounds, etc – but they can’t do my work WELL. And this is true for all currently available AI models, from chatbots to image, video, music or sound generators.
A text-to-image generator will never make me an artist or a graphic designer, because I lack the vision, the background knowledge and the visual culture. I could harness all the Midjourney server time in the world and still fail to produce impressive visuals.
If you don’t know what makes good written content, ChatGPT or Perplexity won’t save you. These tools are useful for composing straightforward emails and communicating with Airbnb hosts in foreign languages, but they are far from writing the next Harry Potter.
AI can do your creative job if you suck at that job
Sure, AI will take over some jobs. I have seen job postings looking for AI content creators, to “write” dozens or hundreds of posts a day. Yes, those technically will be blog posts, but I very much doubt we would want to read them. And I could make my own website and illustrate it with Midjourney, but it would be nothing to write home about.
AI will take the job of subpar creatives. It is cheap, and some project owners want to make everything as cheap as possible. They are the ones who used to ask the neighbour’s nephew to design their corporate website and paid 15 dollars to a high school graduate for all the content. They are going to use AI – but they are the ones who didn’t pay for good creative professionals in the past either.
Look at it, AI is already in the Museum of Modern Art
Have you seen “Unsupervised”, this monumental AI installation by Turkish new media artist Refik Anadol? He used AI to generate this astonishing visual using 200 years of MoMa art as the prompt for this installation.
“Anadol trained a sophisticated machine-learning model to interpret the publicly available data of MoMA’s collection. As the model “walks” through its conception of this vast range of works, it reimagines the history of modern art and dreams about what might have been—and what might be to come. In turn, Anadol incorporates site-specific input from the environment of the Museum’s Gund Lobby—changes in light, movement, acoustics, and the weather outside—to affect the continuously shifting imagery and sound.”
How on earth could we say AI kills creativity? How creative is this? What an awesome idea! And this is just one example of how we, humans need to ask the right questions so the AI can provide the right answer. And asking the right questions requires creativity and curiosity.
Good healthcare professionals just get better with AI
We have discussed earlier how AI will bring the real art of medicine. It is often said – as a negative – that AI is a “black box”, and that we don’t know why we got the output we received. As deep learning models and algorithms are becoming more complex, this certainly will become a possibility in medicine as well.
AI may identify new drugs, treatments, and therapies by matching combinations that human physicians, pharmaceutical companies, or medical innovators would never consider. AI might develop completely new solutions – without elucidating how it arrived at them.
In a similar vein to the supercomputer in Douglas Adam’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, which proclaims that the answer to life, the universe, and everything else is 42, intelligent algorithms might provide answers without explanations.
The real art of medicine will then involve deciphering the logical path that led AI to a specific solution, requiring high levels of creativity, problem-solving, and cognitive skills.