Creativity vs. AI

I’ve been thinking a lot about AI.

It’s like an overeager assistant starting to do your job. And doing it quite well.

I suppose I should be happy to be able to outsource piles of gruntwork, but I’ve always found peace in the process, a meditation in the mundane.

Creativity is one of my top values. I know this because, in graduate school, our clever professor auctioned off a set of sought-after values. You only had $1,000, and there were more people in the room than values on the list, so the room livened up pretty quickly. I fought for Creativity and Purpose. I scored Creativity for $800. Purpose came second because, as I reasoned, Purpose comes out of Creativity.

I’ve always found Purpose through Creativity, and now I’m being shouldered out of my creative space. AI can paint paintings, write essays, and (gasp) generate blog posts. In seconds. This means anyone can paint paintings, write essays, and generate blog posts.

One so-called godfather of AI has said that creativity is nothing more than making novel connections.

Computers can make infinitely more connections than humans. We all watched Big Blue beat the Grand Master of chess. Creative thinking has become mechanized. Art has become Science, which, for artists, is like calling the mountains the sky.

Sure, I can do more with less, but I’m having trouble letting this roommate move in. He wants to sit at my desk, create my reading list, correct my grammar, drive my car.

It’s not jealousy. It’s more like despair, fighting for the time to grieve a best friend and companion while everyone else seems so excited about where we’re headed – like a child looking out the back windshield, helpless, as the car pulls away.

But people still love to play chess. Creativity is cunning. And immortal.

This is the only comfort I have, sitting in the back seat: that we will turn the corner and there he’ll be, in new clothes, older but the same, arm outstretched, all 5 fingers extended, overstuffed bag on his shoulder, recognizing me through the glass, and summoning me out of the car.