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end of creativity

How something important is just about to change.

When i grew up UFOs were a big thing, though of course everybody believing they existed seemed pretty ... crazy. Yet don't worry, this article is not about UFOs. I always found that topic funny, but not really interesting, at least not worth of digging deeper.

Nevertheless, recently, only a few years back, there was a wave of new events and quality witnesses, that made me think about this again, yet in a somewhat different way. 

Parallel it so happened i was part of a group that worked in machine learning and i researched a bit what is possible today, from Google's Chess-and-Go engine to a neural net that wrote and performed a new Elvis song. There is serious estimation that in the 2030s the New York Times' bestseller list will contain a book that was not written by a human. 

In Italy, five hundred years ago, a mind shift took place which looked at art and artists in a very new way. The Renaissance and it's masters Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Caravaggio and others celebrated art and creativity like never before and the results were spectacular, not only during that period itself, but for all time ever since. The effects have been amazing and today's art world is outright beaming, testament to the human genius. 

Here is where the dots connect (and i am so in love with this that i got funding for writing a film script around the main idea, though it is not even close to being put in production to be fair ... :) ...).


Imagine that our grandkids will actually consume content that is almost exclusively produced by artificial intelligence. Songs, novels, films ... you name it. The idea here is that once AI can do anything interesting - enough to put it on a bestseller list -, it will create content of equal quality literally within seconds. The output of these machines will be ... massive. They will write more in a day than all human writers in history combined. So it could very well be that the best Elvis or Beatles song is yet to come and the some goes for film and all other entertainment. 

If aliens exist i speculate they come because we still have art, believe in things, suffer, wrestle with the human condition. Once machines take over human creativity is doomed and the window of us being the only creative entity on the planet (forgive my ignorance, whale poets) is coming to an end. Maybe we have another ten or twenty years. But this is what the aliens find fascinating: a planet with a species that is far enough to have art but not as far as having already abandoned it. 

We can leave this UFO thing now, still find it funny, yet - sorry - still not interesting. But i am fascinated, frightened, shocked by these other thoughts, those about AI challenging and possibly beating us in creativity. In my film script they come to one conductor, abduct him and scan his brain for his Schubert concerts, at least that's what the he believes. (If you find this extremely intriguing and can't wait to see the film ... so do I!).

There are (very smart) people who think that machines are just algorithms with no soul and no original thoughts. Yet i believe their outcome will be extremely manifold and if we cannot tell anymore if a piece of creativity is by a machine or a human, what difference does it make what the machine "felt" like when she did it?


"A difference that doesn't lead to a difference, is no difference."

(The Spock clone in one of Gene Rodenberry's Star Trek books, i forgot which one.) 

So. An article on a website stating something somewhat interesting. No big deal. You can move on with your day. 

Actually i do think it is indeed a big deal. Us not being the major creative force anymore changes everything everywhere. Imagine you're standing in a book store (or scroll through Amazon pages for that matter) and you know all the titles look like human made, but none of them is. Or a Netflix page and its film titles, same thing here. Isn't this more than spooky? Especially since this Genie will never ever get back into that bottle?

I believe this will happen and it is unavoidable. Nothing, nothing will stop it. But there is something else i believe ...

Some artist will do something subversive - commenting, criticising, mocking the machines and their products. Since human art is the ultimative human expression, the final frontier of the human spirit, the place of boldness and a never ending stream of channeled creative forces. Hail Leonardo, Vincent and Pablo!

We will ... prevail. 


tell me why i am so wrong ...

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