Creativity & AI

We extend our Mind for our Minds series with an exploration of the relationship between creativity and generative AI. We wonder how AI can enhance human creativity and dig into different types of creativity.

Person picking lightbulbs from a tree

Before the advent of generative AI, creativity was assumed to be solely in the domain of humans. But, now, machines are able to compose poetry, create beautiful images, and compose music. While these creations are exciting, they are justifiably worrying too. Hollywood writers and actors are striking, in part, because of fears that their creations will be replaced by those of machines. If some of the world’s top creatives are worried about generative AI, shouldn’t we all be?

We are obsessed with the question: What does this expansion of machine capabilities mean for human creativity? The truth is that we don’t know—indeed we would argue that we can’t know because of the very nature of creativity.

There are numerous pathways to creativity. A highly complex system—such as the human mind or a large language model—allows for many different routes to generate an idea by making new connections between new and old ideas in a form of idea or concept mixology. This aspect of both human and AI creativity suggests that generative AI can supercharge human creativity, especially as the way an AI system creates new concepts can be quite different from that of a human. An AI system can also tap into a wealth of ideas that an individual human–or even a collective–might not have access to.

We’ll return to the topic of creativity and AI in future essays as it is too important and complex of a topic to try to tackle all at once. Today, we’ll focus on a few concepts about creativity itself to help set the stage for how to think about creativity in a mixed world of humans and machines.

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