How were we born at a time when we actually need to consider AI as a threat to our livelihoods, experiences, politics, sanity, safety, cultures… our whole world? But here we are.
People keep asking whether AI can create art. Can it write poetry? Can it be funny? Is it better than us at all these things and if not yet perhaps very soon? Can it truly make something that is so fundamentally human? Can it create something that is all about what it is to be human?
I doubt it. I think it can fabricate it. I think it can construct things that we respond to. It can fool us. It can make collages that tap into vast amounts of data. We have created eons of data for it to learn from and ceaselessly mine and then regurgitate. Yet wouldn’t this always be an imitation of us?
It may be able to hack us in a way that gets us to want more of it. It may make us feel, laugh and think. But I have a suspicion, if we know the origin, it won’t be quite as satisfying as something created by a human being. Like fast food or factory made furniture, it will lack something. It may be functional and even aesthetically pleasing, but it has lost something.
Art is often in the eye of the beholder. Yet perhaps that is not the full story. Maybe that is only half of the conversation.
Who is telling the story? I think it matters to us. It matters that it has been processed through the brain and body of a human. It matters that this person has tried to — no matter how clumsily — communicate something. This person has lived and seen and experienced what we have. It matters on this very basic, very raw level. The story matters. We care about the experience of being human. Just knowing that a human has been moved to make something makes this art in all its forms more interesting. Even if we don’t know what it is. We know there is something behind it and we can tap into that.
We will have to find a way to live in this new world. We will need to keep things in perspective, somehow.
AI could be used by people as an effective tool to create new art. Hopefully it will be something that we can use to enhance what and how we communicate. The danger is that we don’t know the difference anymore and that we lose the meaning in everything because we lose trust in it. I feel like Hopefully it will not strip us of our humanity. Hopefully we will remember that it is a tool and not the creator. That it is there to be used to help us and not replace us.
I hope so.
And if it does become sentient — then I hope to learn what it is like to be another being through its art.
I hope we will be able to tell the difference.