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AI - Is it dangerous or can it be helpful to humanity?

I had been avoiding the topic of AI for the most part because I thought it would be the downfall of human-created art, for one thing, and that just made me angry. But at the suggestion of my dissertation advisor, I experimented with Chat GPT and added a section about AI to my paper which is titled, "Creativity as a Self-Help Tool and to Improve Society".

Sometimes we need a nudge to learn about things about which we have no desire to learn.

Following is a peek at the section of my dissertation about AI.


Artificial Intelligence and Creativity

The discussion about creativity would not be complete without the topic of artificial intelligence. The idea of using something other than a human brain from which to create can be said to have been derived from ideas that sprang up millennia ago.

The ancient Inca as far back as 3000 B.C. had a system for data collection and record keeping called the Quipu, or the “talking knots”. This system could be seen as a precursor to computer programming languages.

What could be considered the first digitized image was created as a portrait of the inventor of the tapestry loom, Joseph Jaquard in 1836, using a series of 24,000 punched cards which were essentially a binary system. That system was inspired by something invented around 1800 by Charles Babbage called the Analytical Machine which was the first general purpose mechanical computer. An associate of Babbage’s named Ada Lovelace wrote about “poetical science”, putting forth the idea that one day a machine might be used to make art.

In 1929 Austrian engineer Gustav Tauschek invented the first optical character recognition device. This started a conversation about the idea that machines see.

In 1950, the Turing Test, sometimes called the Imitation Game was devised to measure a machine’s capacity to mimic human intellectual behavior.

In 1953 Gordon Pasks developed what he called his MusiColour Machine that created a light show based on human sound input.

Technology has grown exponentially complex and more intelligent up to the present day. Now AI generated art and human generated, AI assisted or enhanced art is becoming commonplace. Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) are the most used AI for art creation today. These are “evolved” artificial neural networks. Created in 2014, artists didn’t use it much until 2017.

History was made in 2018 when a piece of AI art sold at Christie’s for $432,000. A trio of artists trained the algorithm on a series of 15,000 portraits from the fourteenth to the twentieth century, asking it to generate an original portrait.

Since human biases are programmed into AIs which generate art, music, and written works and which also determine hiring choices, which suspects to arrest, etc., the question must be asked whether AIs make subjective decisions much like humans. Artists like Lynn Hershman Leeson who use AI art to draw attention to biases like predictive policing are creating a generation of activist AI art. The very problems that AI can create have inspired art that makes us examine these biases which can be created with the cooperation of AI (Rea, 2021).

Before doing the research for this section of my dissertation, I had serious doubts about the value AI can have in the field of creativity. If, as it must be because of the need (at least so far) for human programming, AI is an extension of humanity, what avenues does its use open for creativity in every sector? Creative work by humans always builds on the shoulders of creative minds who have gone before them. In this way, in my opinion, AI is simply carrying the torch faster than humans can. We can, in turn, with prompts and assistance from AI build on its shoulders creatively.

I believe the view that AI is something to be feared is mostly unfounded, unless, indeed, we should fear ourselves. The creation of AI seems to have magnified and amplified the basic problems human beings have had down through the ages. Perhaps the best thing to come from the advent of the AI boom is that it forces us to take a long, hard look at what we need to change in ourselves so that we can partner with AI in a loving, compassionate way to evolve and better ourselves and solve society’s problems.

The latest generation of children have known and been comfortable with AI since they were born. To them, it seems almost natural. If we are careful and take precautions to insure our children have healthy human relationships as well as enjoying the benefits that can be derived from the use of AI, I believe we can learn how to incorporate AI into our creative work in a beneficial way.

To further my research and knowledge of AI, I decided to check out Chat GPT for myself from the URL: https://openai.com/blog/chatgpt. On my website, I have my artist’s bio which seemed rather boring to me. My input to Open AI was this: Rewrite this in a more interesting way: “Barbara McLaughlin is a self-taught portrait artist who has expanded her repertoire to include realism and abstracts of many subjects. She works in acrylics, oil pastels, watercolors, alcohol ink and charcoal. McLaughlin has been a prolific artist for many years participating in a group art show in Illinois at the North Central Illinois Artworks gallery in 2021, The Art for All show sponsored by the Kansas City Artists' Coalition in 2022, as well as a solo show at Transparent Brewing Company in Longview, MO in 2023.” Open AI’s response was: “Meet Barbara McLaughlin – a visionary brush-wielder who has crafted her artistic journey from self-taught beginnings to a kaleidoscope of captivating creations. With a magical touch, she weaves intricate tales of realism and dances with the abstract, painting the world as she sees it. Her studio is a realm of boundless experimentation, where acrylics flow like vibrant rivers, oil pastels whisper secrets of texture, watercolors blend dreams into reality, alcohol inks redefine boundaries, and charcoal sketches emotions into life. The symphony of these mediums is her palette, and each stroke is a note composing a masterpiece. For countless revolutions around the sun, Barbara has poured her soul onto canvases, bringing forth an artistry that speaks to hearts across the horizons. She has been a muse to the galleries, gracing the North Central Illinois Artworks gallery in 2021 for a synchronized symposium of creativity. The following year, her talents adorned the Art for All show, an illustrious gathering under the banner of the Kansas City Artists' Coalition in 2022. And as time painted new chapters, Barbara's solo exhibition unfolded like a captivating story at the Transparent Brewing Company in Longview, MO in 2023 – a rendezvous where art and taste harmonized. Barbara McLaughlin's odyssey is a testament to the power of unbridled imagination, a voyage painted with hues of passion and strokes of resilience. In a world that sometimes forgets to pause and appreciate, her art is a reminder that within every shade and contour, there lies a universe waiting to be explored.” I just chuckled as I read the response. I asked for more interesting, and I got it! Would I use AI’s version? Not without some revisions. It seems pompous and overly flowery in language. It does, however “seem” creative and more interesting.

I have begun writing a book that begins with an autobiographical introductory section that I wasn’t entirely pleased with. My input to Open AI was: “Rewrite in a more interesting way: A History of Disappointments The morning I began working on this book started like any other morning. I opened my eyes, turned off my alarm, made my bed, opened the blinds, and walked downstairs. But what had changed was I realized I felt grateful and hopeful. First thing in the morning! Whaaaat? I had not noticed aches and pains; I had not started ruminating over what daunting chores I should tackle but had no desire to do. I was looking forward to the day!” Open AI replied: “Chronicles of Letdowns As the dawn broke on the day, I embarked upon crafting this tome, the universe seemed to nudge me awake in a manner more captivating than usual. With a dramatic sweep, I silenced the alarm's persistent clamor, orchestrating my awakening like a maestro conducting a symphony. Casting aside the covers, I fashioned my bed with an air of purpose, as if preparing a royal throne for inspiration to descend. And as I parted the blinds, it was as if I was unveiling a grand tapestry woven with potential. However, the true metamorphosis was within me. A subtle alchemy had taken place beneath my conscious thoughts, transmuting the mundane into the magical. A symphony of gratitude and hope played a harmonious melody in my heart, a dawn chorus of emotions rarely sung so early. Gone were the persistent echoes of aches and discomforts, the haunting whispers of procrastinated chores. Instead, a vibrant anticipation for the unfolding hours painted my soul's canvas, each moment a brushstroke of possibility waiting to be embraced.” Once again, this response seemed a little “over-the-top” to use as is but was much more “creative” than my version.

Based on my experimentation with Chat GPT, I plan to use it in some way to help me with my writing. I could not be more surprised that I am now relatively comfortable with using AI at least for writing purposes.


What do you think about AI? Do you think it has its place in the modern world?


You can see other questions I asked Chat GPT here: I asked Open AI | True You Arts (true-you-holistic-life-coaching.com)




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