Creativity is a mysterious thing. Our world economy is powered by creativity, yet despite the best efforts of our best engineers, creativity has not been captured by a machine. Until recently.
With the new school of AI things have changed. We now have GPT-3 that can digress at length about any topic you give it. Even more remarkable, we have the likes of Dall-E, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion. These phenomenal AI algorithms have scaled the peak of human creativity. AI can now create art that has never been seen before:
The new artistic AI has become so successful the image social networks have become flooded with their artwork. Some communities have even banned the AI art. But the AI art is fun, and imaginative! One enterprising individual even won a fine art competition using the Midjourney program with his piece titled “Theatre D’opera Spatial”:
There are concerns about copyright, whether the algorithms will put human artists out of a job, and whether AI has finally breached the final sacred frontier of human creativity.
But, is AI really creative? Or is AI merely cobbling together human creativity? To answer this question, let’s think about what it means to be creative.
The hallmark of human creativity is not to paste together what has come before. The essence of human creativity is to create something truly new that improves on what came before. If all art were only a synthesis of prior art, then we must ask, where did the prior art come from? If it in turn came from combining even earlier art, we are back to square one with no explanation for art’s ultimate origin. Somewhere along the line, art must be created from scratch. An artist has been truly creative and made something new that never existed before.
This presents a simple test for creativity.