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DSC Weekly 17 January 2023 – The Creative Spark in AI


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DSC Weekly 17 January 2023 – The Creative Spark in AI

The Creative Spark in AI

The idea that AI can generate art that can mimic human artists came to the forefront of discussions about AI ethics in 2022. There are undoubtedly many legal and ethical issues to tackle in those cases. If a model is trained on thousands of examples of a specific artist’s work, is that artist entitled to any percentage of ownership of the produced pieces? Can we say that a machine can be ‘inspired’ by the artist and that its works are its own? While these are all exciting legal questions, there are even more mysteries to delve into regarding machines and their creative capabilities. Is AI capable of original thought? Is anyone, for that matter?

To tackle these questions, we have to be realistic with ourselves and what humans are capable of. The proverb “there is nothing new under the sun” comes to mind. If you frequent any amateur writer’s groups, you’ll quickly see that every plot and every story beat has been done over and over since time began. We’ve been writing about the heroic character archetype since The Epic of Gilgamesh in 2100 B.C.E., and we continue to do that same character with the resurgence of the superhero genre today. The bar for originality in the creative space lies more in the methodology and execution rather than the idea itself. OpenAI’s GPT-3 is capable of writing entire articles and essays with a simple prompt, and while it is technically a correct essay, it lacks the flavor of language that makes creative writing a uniquely human creation. There are layers to language that AI cannot yet understand, which is why we don’t see AI poetry, and when we do, it focuses on technical aspects like rhyme and meter rather than symbolism.

As humans, we tend to place ourselves in the center of the world. Our lives are a patchwork of our lived experiences. There are many, many essays about the works of Shakespeare, but to truly understand the heart of Romeo and Juliet, you have to understand human concepts like love and infatuation that come with years of lived experience. Some would argue that the experiences we live are the inputs that train our mental models. It’s broadly accepted that past experiences have strong correlations to how we act as adults, similar to AI model training methods. Perhaps humans do have something unique that computers can’t yet replicate, or maybe we haven’t found the correct training methods.

Scott Thompson
Associate Editor

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DSC Weekly 17 January 2023 – The Creative Spark in AI