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can AI be creative?, ivan jerkic

Can AI be creative?

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Picture of Ivan Jerkić

Ivan Jerkić

What do I do? I build ventures – from the concept to product-market fit. And then I scale them.

So here it comes – the overarching question many people in tech debated over the last few months. Can AI be creative? In this post, I will explain my stance and see how some of the most prominent artificial intelligence systems respond when prompted about their creativity. ChatGPT responded cleverly; you will see below what it had to say.

To go with a theme, I generated all images in this post by Dall·E text-to-image system on a prompt “Can AI be creative?” Here is the first one.

can AI be creative?, dall e image
Is this a “secret” language?

It seems that Dall·E came up with a new language to portray how creative it can be. Images are weird-looking but interesting. Or perhaps, it just glitched.

I ran a poll on LinkedIn to ask my peers the same question.

Around 75% of people responded YES, while 25% responded NO. There were interesting comments, too.

“AI does images, texts, code. Basically, anything a human can do. Now an argument could be that AIs scan the database and produce an image, but that’s what humans also do – they look for inspiration. AI just does it in its own way.”

“I dare say that all AIs are only creative as the humans giving inputs.”

Another Dall·E image

Two opposing comments, but both are valid if you think about it. Let’s see what ChatGPT says about it.

I’ve also asked ChatGPT the same question.

Here’s what it responded:

Artificial intelligence (AI) can generate content that appears to be creative, but the ability to truly be creative is a complex question that is still being explored.

Creativity is often thought of as the ability to generate novel and useful ideas. AI can be trained to generate new ideas by analyzing patterns in data and using that information to make predictions or generate new content. For example, AI can be trained on a dataset of images and then generate new images that are similar to the ones in the dataset.

However, the AI’s ability to generate novel and useful ideas is limited by the quality and quantity of data it has been trained on. It is not capable of the same level of independent thought, imagination and reasoning that a human being would do.

In music, art, writing, and many other creative fields, AI can be used as a tool to assist human creators, but the final output would still be the product of human interpretation and intention, not AI itself.

Another Dall·E image with weird language in it

That is a diplomatic answer, I would say.

My opinion is both yes and no.

It depends on how you define creativity.

I wouldn’t say it’s impossible to imagine something completely new – but everything we do combines our experiences: what we saw, heard, and felt. If we look at it that way, a work of art, a piece of text, or a video – are all a product of our inspiration, and to seek inspiration, we look, hear, or feel something that already exists.

Artificial intelligence currently does the same thing. It combines data to generate something new in text, image, or video form… albeit on a much lower level. If we define creativity like I just did, then it is creative but less than humans, at least for now.

And for the counter-argument, it still needs our input in terms of prompts to produce anything at all. AI, without a prompt, cannot work. Once it stops needing our assistance, we reach so-called technological “singularity” – a hypothetical future point when technological growth becomes uncontrollable and irreversible, resulting in unforeseeable changes to human civilization.

What do you think? Let me know.

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