ChatGPT, DALL-E 2, and a breakdown of the creative process

In 2022, OpenAI – one of the world’s leading artificial intelligence research laboratories – launches the Text Generator chat and image creator from E2. While both programs represent huge leaps in natural language processing and image generation, they have also been met with apprehension.

Some critics have College essay welcomedwhile others have it Announcing the death of art.

But how deeply does this technology really interfere with creativity?

After all, for technology to generate an image or article, a human still has to describe the task to be completed. And the better – the more accurate the description, the more detailed it is – the better the results.

After the result is created, further human adjustments and feedback may be required — touching up the art, editing the text, or asking the tech to create a new draft in response to the revised specification. Even the art piece DALL-E 2 which recently won first prize in the Colorado State Fair’s Digital Art Competition It requires a great deal of human “help”. – Approximately 80 hours of tweaking and refining the meta task needed to achieve the desired outcome.

It can be argued that by breaking free from the tedious implementation of our ideas—by focusing on simply having ideas and describing them well to a machine—people can let technology do the dirty work and can spend more time innovating.

But in our work as philosophers in Center for Applied Ethics at the University of Massachusetts Bostonwe wrote about it The effects of artificial intelligence on our daily decision-makingAnd The future of work And Workers’ attitudes toward automation.

We put aside the very real implications Robots are replacing already underpaid artistsWe believe that AI art devalues ​​the work of artistic creation for both the artist and the audience.

Skill and practice become superfluous

From our point of view, the desire to bridge the gap between thinking and doing is an illusion: there is no separation between ideas and execution.

It is the work of making something real and the work through its details that holds value, not just the moment of imagining it. Artworks are praised not just for the final product, but for the struggle, the playful interaction, and the skillful participation in the artistic task, all of which carry the artist from the moment of initiation to the final result.

Focusing on the idea and framing the artistic task up to Search the creative moment.

Novelists write and rewrite the chapters of their manuscripts. Comedians “write on stage” in response to their audience’s laughs and groans. Musicians adjust their work in response to a discordant melody as they compose a piece.

Indeed, the execution process is a gift, allowing artists to fully immerse themselves in a task and practice. They are allowed in What some psychologists call the “flow” statewhere they are fully aware of something they are doing, unaware of the passage of time and temporarily freed from the boredom or restlessness of everyday life.

This hilarious event is something that would be a shame to miss. Play is understood as a spontaneous activity A term derived from the Greek words “auto” meaning “self” and telos meaning “goal” or “end.” As a self-paced activity, it’s played on its own – it’s self-contained and requires no external validation.

For the artist, the process of artistic creation is an integral part, perhaps the largest part, of their vocation.

But there is no flow, no fun, without engaging in skill and practice. The goal of ChatGPT and DALL-E is to make this phase unnecessary.

Cheap experience for the sights

But what about the perspective of those who experience the art? Does it really matter how art is produced if the final product is to excite joy?

We think it matters, especially since the creative process adds as much value to art for the people who experience it as it does for the artists themselves.

Part of experiencing art is knowing that human effort and labor has gone into the work. Despite the states of flow and playfulness, art is the result of the skilful and rigorous expression of human capabilities.

Re-Call famous scene From the movie 1997 “GatakaIn which the pianist plays a haunting piece. At the close of his performance, he throws his gloves down at the admiration of the audience, who see that the pianist has 12 fingers. They now realize that he was genetically engineered to play the superlative piece they just heard—and that he couldn’t play it with all 10 human fingers. .

Does this realization retroactively alter the listening experience? Does it take away any of the dread?

As philosopher Michael Sandel notesPart of what gives artistic and athletic achievement its strength is the process of seeing natural talent. People enjoy and celebrate this talent because, in a fundamental way, it represents a model of human achievement—the combination of talent and work, human endowment and human race.

A baseball player raises his arms in front of a cheering crowd.
Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer David Ortiz celebrates in front of a crowd of fans in 2016.
Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox via Getty Images

Is all this doom and gloom?

Are ChatGPT and DALL-E worth keeping?

Maybe. These technologies can act as catalysts for creativity. The link between thinking and doing can persist if these applications of AI are seen simply as mechanisms for creative imagination – What you call OpenAI “Expand creativity.” They can generate stimuli that allow artists to engage in more creative thinking about their own process of visualizing a piece of art.

In other words, if ChatGPT and DALL-E are the end results of the technical process, something meaningful is lost. But if they are just tools for stimulating creative thinking, this may be less important.

For example, a game designer could ask DALL-E to provide some images of what a Renaissance city with a steampunk twist might look like. A writer might ask for descriptions of how a shy, disciplined person expresses surprise. Both creators can then incorporate these suggestions into their work.

But for what they do to remain art – for the artists and for those who take what they made to feel like art – artists still have to do the greater part of the artwork themselves.

Art requires makers to keep making it.

Distorted Internet Incentives

Even if AI systems are used as catalysts for creative photography, we think people should be skeptical of what these systems derive from. It is important to pay close attention to the incentives that support and reward artistic creativity, particularly online.

Consider the generation of artificial intelligence art. These works rely on the photos and videos you provide already exists Online. But the AI ​​isn’t sophisticated enough — nor is it incentivized — to consider whether actions evoke feelings of surprise, sadness, anxiety, and so on. They are unable to take into account the aesthetic considerations of modernity and cross-cultural influence.

Instead, training ChatGPT and DALL-E on pre-existing measures of online technical success will tend to replicate the prevailing incentives of the largest Internet platforms: Attract and keep attention In order to collect data and share users. Thus the stimulus for the creative imagination can become subject to addiction and the inevitability of interest-seeking rather than transcendent artistic values.

Artificial intelligence is likely to be on edge, which triggers a sense of “Moral vertigo— the nagging dizziness people feel when scientific and technological advances outstrip moral comprehension. This vertigo can lead to apathy and a disconnect from creative expression.

If human labor is removed from the process, what value does creative expression hold? Or perhaps, having opened Pandora’s Box, this is an indispensable opportunity for humanity to reaffirm the value of art – and to resist technology that might prevent many true artists from flourishing.

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