Recent history gives us a powerful and definitive reason for hope
Very interesting article, Alberto, thanks for sharing!
I find the comparison between watching humans at a competitive sport and creative arts doesn't resonate with me. I too enjoy much more watching humans play chess than AIs for all the reasons you mentioned in your article. But taking that argument and transferring it to creative arts like painting, composing, and writing makes little sense to me.
Chess has very clear rules and objectives that allow direct comparison between humans and I enjoy it very much to watch humans compete against each other. But creative arts, for me, is a different story. I don't view it as a direct competition between artists (humans, AI, or mixed) that "holds my breath" like I do with competitive sport like chess. And that's the crucial difference for me
In my opinion, your article conflates liking the creator with liking the creation. Appreciating a great novel or painting is about the work itself, not the identity of the creator (at least for me). If AI can produce writing and art just as original, meaningful, and emotionally resonant as humans, I might like it just as much as if it were created by humans.
Great post, Alberto.
I think about this dumb game I play all the time: Two Dots. I just make squares and stuff, and I'm incredibly cognizant that an AI could solve this puzzle 100x faster (and much more efficiently) than me. I also really enjoy crossword puzzles, which I have not competitive business with against an AI.
Similarly, I do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu consistently not because I think I can defend myself against someone with a gun, or even because I'm worried about defending myself at all, but because it's hard.
We think the hard things matter.
So funny, when you wrote “humans like imperfection”, I thought, no, humans just like to watch humans.
And then you wrote those exact words. Humans like humans. That’s it. I love your conclusion and think you hit the nail right on the head with this piece. Keep ‘em coming!
Great essay. What you describe is actually humanity's superpower. Social learning. There's a heart and soul AI doesn't have.
Your essay got me thinking about how newer camera lenses often intentionally re-introduce imperfections and aberrations to regain some of the charm and unpredictability lost with technical excellence. Just as we prefer a human-played chess match over AI, we may favor a flawed vintage lens over a clinically perfect modern one.
So even in domains like manufacturing, there are parallels to be drawn with art and creativity. Imperfections made by humans are often cherished, not just tolerated.
However, as AI starts replicating more objects and processes, perhaps it too could be tuned to purposefully inject quirks and randomness found in human work.
You've highlighted a fascinating human preference for our fellow flawed creators. While AI may someday mimic this unpredictability, it's an open question whether it can reproduce the essence we appreciate in objects and art produced by human hands and minds.
Yup, this is exactly why no matter how far AI advances, we never have to fear it replacing these imperfections that make us uniquely human.
Great points. We always come out on top of our greatest fears and challenges – that pushes our creativity more than anything else.
Thank you! We need to be reminded that we will still be needed even when/if we reach AGI that trumps human intelligence in all areas. We need posts like this.
Estoy de acuerdo con este boletín. Sin embargo, terminas con esta frase:
"La IA no puede hacer que los humanos se vuelvan obsoletos porque a los humanos les gustan demasiado los humanos.
Por definición, la IA no puede competir con eso y nunca lo hará."
Pienso que para este siglo aplica muy bien, a los humanos nos gustan los humanos. Pero probablemente en el siglo 22, tal vez, la IA y los humanos seamos uno solo. Implantes de brazos, piernas, robóticos. Nanotecnología, ojos robotizados, órganos impresos con inteligencia, implantes de chip cerebrales.
Sé que estoy hablando desde la ciencia ficción, sé que estoy hablando de prototipos que aún no se han utilizado en humanos o que no ha sido posible su compatibilidad, pero existen estas posibilidades.
Para mí la IA ganará cuando se empiece a integrar a nosotros los humanos, cuando empiece a modelar nuestras vidas, cuando cada decisión lo hacemos basada en sus recomendaciones. Cuando un humano con inteligencia artificial integrada juegue ajedrez o pinten un cuadro. Por eso pienso que el boletín aplica perfecto para los humanos de esta época.
Probablemente en el siglo 22 empecemos hablar de otro tipo de seres humanos donde no cuestionamos la IA, porque la IA hace hará parte de esa especie de humanos, será como "órgano" más.
The chess analogy is a great one, and I agree to a degree.
I think the continuation of the analogy, though, is... what if Magnus Carlson could use Stockfish or another engine while competing. And what if he didn’t have to tell you which was his move and which was inspired by the computer? And what if it was legal for this to happen?
The same goes for art. Does it matter if the artist used AI for 99% of the work or inspiration? How about 50%? What’s the line?
Well articulated points per the recent state of affairs.
Reframing creativity going forward, as tech and human behavior continue to evolve, one might want to consider:
1. Qualitative leaps in AI capabilities are unfolding at an accelerating rate.
It is extremely unlikely that predictions will prove true in the realm of complex unknown even within months, not to mention years and decades to come. Impact on what constitutes “creativity” may unfold in ways that are yet to be imagined…
2. Entire paradigms and knowledge as we know it are shifting.
We have just begun this epochal transformation.
The very conceptualization used in this article, defining creativity, art, culture, civilization, design and what is human is nonlinear, changing at unprecedented velocity and scale.
3. The capabilities of AI are already groundbreaking, and too early to define, as it encompasses many dimensions that result in emergence as interactions occur btw creative humans and other machines, e.g. real time, vast info processing, best of the best cherry picking and then reshaping (with some deliberate imperfections,,,), human manipulating, desire pleasing, and statistical reshuffling with some underlying rules (extending/redesigning and inventing/imagining).
4. While human creativity is inherent to evolution, epistemology, design and all conscious endeavors,
it is not the sole benchmark for various types of creation, such as 'being human', 'artistic creativity', 'behavioral ingenuity', 'impactful novelty', etc. What we attribute to creativity is currently limited to what we know, have experiences, and acknowledged socially.
New patterns and utterly new levels of creativity are not only possible, but likely and now with new found levers also transpiring across disciplines. A new types of plays are in town, w unprecedented capabilities, some human like, some super human, some alien, some machine, and some yet to emerge, we should perhaps embrace and open up to new found creativmess... here’s to exploration and reimagination beyond(:
La creatividad es innata al ser humano pero es cierto que se la debe alimentar para que se desarrolle y nos haga felices. Todo lo humano nos interesa, es muy cierto, somos una especie cotilla. Hay una pregunta en el aire, ¿al igual que en anteriores revoluciones tecnológicas vamos a permitir los humanos otra vez que una élite fosilizada se apropie para su solo provecho de las ventajas de la IA mientras el resto, el 99% de la humanidad, solo sufre sus consecuencias? Las teorías del decrecimiento y del reparto justo podrían impulsar una utilización de la IA equilibrada, justa y beneficiosa para la mayoria por ejemplo con más tiempo libre, menos tiempo de trabajo, reparto decente de la riqueza, ocupación laboral y profesional digna para todos...
You write, "I wonder where the fear that AI will make human creativity obsolete comes from."
It might help to clarify this a bit. AI won't make human creativity obsolete. But it will increasingly threaten the human creativity BUSINESS. People will still write and make art, it will just be ever harder to make a living at it.
As example, if Substack could get an AI which could create content that people will pay for, Substack could keep ALL the income generated by this network instead of just 10%, making it radically more profitable. The same business equations that have caused industry to automate everything it can will play out here too, if/when AI can deliver content that people are willing to buy.
Much of this depends on what time scale we're talking about. Most of the AI commentary I've seen is referencing AI as it is today. I would guess the AI we see today might be reasonably compared to the Internet in 1995. We're at the very beginning of the AI revolution, and there is likely much more to come. No one knows what the future will hold, but it seems unlikely today's AI is the end of the road.
One interesting question is the issue of how far AI can improve. Is there some inherent limit to where this technology can go? Or can AI continually improve over coming decades?
There is a great deal of commentary from Substack writers about how humans love humans and we'll never give each other up etc. I read this as being mostly very understandable wishful thinking from a culture unready to face the future.
It's more accurate to state that humans love what other humans can do for them. Where AI can provide the same benefits humans provide each other, it will be a strong competitor.
As example, consider an AI friend. Your AI friend is ready to be with you 24/7/365 at a moment's notice. No human can match that. Your AI friend involves no compromise or negotiation. No human can match that. Your AI friend is happy to provide you with ceaseless validation, one of the key services we seek from each other. Your AI friend can be customized to your specifications, and if you change your mind 10 minutes later, nobody's feelings get hurt, no ego melodrama, no guilt, no breakup etc.
Today's writers will claim such services will be just a niche for lonely people, or senior citizens in nursing homes etc, and that they wouldn't use an AI friend service themselves because blah blah etc etc. And that's true, for those of us born in the world before AI. And it's NOT true for those coming generations who will be born in to world where AI is everywhere, and is thus considered completely normal.
I'm coming around to the theory that the younger a person is, the harder it is for them to grasp the revolutionary nature of the changes that are coming, because they haven't yet had a chance to live through that many changes. When I was a young man none of us gave computers, the Internet, and of course AI, a single thought. Not a thought. These topics NEVER came up in conversation, as they had no relevance to the lives we were living at that time. It wasn't that long ago.
Point being, whatever you young folks think you know about the future, it's most likely more wrong than you can imagine. :-) Just as it was for us way back when.