The new age of technology has swept across offices all over the world. Words that were once foreign to our collective human dialect became familiar: Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), unstructured data, text analytics, and big data. These words carried power within them to change the pace of humanity, one computer at a time. The human mind has prevailed with advancements in technology and innovation that light up and transform industries. But can AI replace genuine creativity? Where is the line between human ingenuity and the programming of a machine?
What Is AI?
It was not long ago that AI was a concept in science fiction novels. These days AI especially capabilities like machine learning power automation. It takes vast amounts of data and processing power to generate analysis that would take humans much longer to achieve. AI has proliferated into various domains of human existence, from Spotify playlists to scientific research on cancer and COVID 19. For example, traditionally scientists have been mapping complex proteins involved in cancer research. It is a time-consuming and costly process for individual proteins out of a constellation of 200 million proteins. Scientists assigned the task of unfolding proteins to an AI program and what took humans decades to accomplish was instantly done by machines. This is the height that AI influence on scientific research that moves society forward.
What Is Creativity?
The newness of AI is juxtaposed with the centuries of history shaped by creativity. Creativity is an interesting concept shaped by the elusive nature of the human imagination. Creativity is the ability to mix original and unoriginal ideas in an inventive way. The mind remains on a physical plane but do human ideas? Leading neuroscientists have proven that the mind is part of the physical world and can be modeled in the virtual world. Technically, there is no aspect of human cognition that cannot be replicated by a machine. This raises the question of ethical AI and how much of human cognition should be gifted to machines?
How is creativity shaped by AI? AI can enable humans to discover and explore new possibilities. Analysis of large data sets, especially unstructured data can yield valuable insights into consumer behavior. Insights that influence how a product or service is marketed or sold at large, shape economic trends.
Artificial Intelligence Vs. Creativity
If machines can essentially replicate the human mind and alter the course of society, can AI influence creativity? Are sculptures, novels, paintings, and advertising enhanced by the application of AI? One argument is that the presence of AI frees up the human mind for greater pursuits. While machines automate mundane and repetitive processes, humans are left to create works of art.
Another and perhaps more compelling argument is the intangible nature of creativity. While AI can replicate human cognition, can it infuse the passion and imagination needed for the creative process? Creativity is part whimsy and part judgment. The human judgment that is collected over a lifetime of understanding one’s uniqueness and how it combines with the uniqueness of others.
The human experience, flawed and ephemeral, is reflected in the creative process. While advancements in AI are beneficial for economics and business, they are not nuanced enough for the human spirit. It remains mysterious to technology and replication.