The AI Artist

Artificial intelligence is an elusive and vague term that can mean anything from simple algorithms to complex neural networks – but in modern times it has increasingly become synonymous with the later, especially as services like ChatGPT have rapidly taken the world by storm. So-called "generative" AI services are capable of generating new content – hence the name – and are at least somewhat creative. But if creativity is no longer something unique to humans, but something that can be managed by a machine, what does this mean for the future of humanity? And how do we define it?

Researchers Kaufman and Beghetto (2009) propose that there are four levels of creativity:

Mini-K: individual and serendipitous discoveries, such as mixing colors

Little K: creativity applied in everyday life to experiment or solve problems

Professional K: creativity that creates quality that is desirable and rare

Big K: disruptive and paradigm-shifting creativity

The first two levels – automatically coloring or generating a simple decorative pattern – have long been mastered by AI. But today, generative AI solutions are beginning to move to the third level, where they can "create" professional content. Skeptics argue that AI creation is not inherently original, but that the machines can only remix and blend artwork and text, much like a child mixing colors. This is true to an extent. But the result is often something desirable and useful, if the algorithm is given the right direction.

An ethical question that is currently in vogue is how right it is to train algorithms on works of art without the artist's consent, since most AI models simply download their material from the Internet and all sorts of sources without asking for permission. 

As more and more can be done automatically, craft and art are becoming increasingly separated, a trend that has been going on for centuries. Once upon a time, artists had to be craftsmen at heart, mixing their own paints, making their own canvases, and working around dozens of helpers for all the practical aspects. Craftsmanship was reduced first by mass-produced ingredients, then by digital tools, and now by AI services that allow relative amateurs to easily fill in patterns, duplicate, copy, and remix. 

So, the real revolution of generative AI may not be in the creation of art all by itself, but in the possibilities of human-machine collaboration as new tools and instruments are made available to the creators and makers of the future.

Want to know more about how you can collaborate with machines for creative work in the future? Contact Rikard Molander at Kairos Future for more insights into the future of creativity and storytelling.

By Rikard Molander