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Generative AI Can't Create, It Can Only Build on Human Creativity

· 5 min read

When personal computers first hit the market, many people resisted them. Even as the machines worked their way into offices and homes, some people thought that computers shouldn't be used in certain ways, like in creating digital art. 

Though you'll still find some holdouts today, most people eventually came around and recognized that art created with the aid of a computer is, indeed, art. Just like accountants use accounting software to crunch numbers at work, and graphic designers everywhere use software like Adobe Illustrator to design images.

Yet we're seeing the "Is it really art?" argument again today with AI. Artists, writers, and creatives of all media are excited about the possibilities that AI opens up to them, while critics have strong feelings about artists using AI as a creative execution tool.

Well, you know what? Here at DeepMake, we're completely on board with people using AI as an artistic tool. Why? Because generative AI isn't capable of imagining new ways of doing, seeing, or feeling things --- aka creating. Only people can do that --- AI simply builds what humans have already imagined.

Let's break this down: Take a look at the definition of the word "create." It means "to bring something into existence." Right now, that's something AI can't do. An AI model can't create something new out of thin air. AI is useless independently.

Instead, what AI does is generate a result based on a human prompt. A person has to feed the AI the idea, inspiration, or machination for anything to happen. And even then, if you prompt an AI image generator to start making images, it's not creating anything new or unique. All the AI can do is interpret the prompt to generate something based on the data it was trained on. Creativity is the exclusive realm of people, while AI only builds on existing ideas.

As for the artists using AI, yes, they're creating art. The AI is a tool they're using like an artist might use a pen, paintbrush, or a stylus and graphics tablet. Just like those other tools, some artists use AI to express their creativity and enhance their artistic capabilities or to ideate, brainstorm, and iterate on a concept.

Think about these examples: Someone who can't draw a straight line uses a straightedge, or someone with joint pain uses a special grip to hold a paintbrush. They aren't "cheating" by using a tool to help them along. Those artists are still creating art, just with the help of some aids. Another example is someone who wants to create a painting but doesn't have the skills to create their vision, so they use digital painting software on their computer. The software is just another tool to create art.

Taking it a step further, AI democratizes art by helping people bring their ideas to life. Just like a paintbrush grip or painting software, AI operates as an extension of the artist, helping them achieve their artistic goals. The painter above can collaborate with a model like Stable Diffusion to transform their ideas into tangible works of art. 

As artists dive deeper into what AI can do and find new ways to create with it, some critics remain skeptical. To them, we say, "Bullsh*t." Saying that people using AI are not true artists is the same as saying that a painter who uses a paint-by-numbers kit or follows a Bob Ross tutorial isn't creating art. Anyone who uses these or any other tools and techniques is an artist, and any artists exploring AI as a creative tool should also be acknowledged for their artistic contributions.

Let's get something straight: Just like any other creation, creating art with AI demands skill and effort. AI art is not an automatic process. To do it well requires practice, refinement, and mastery of AI tools. 

As an extension of human creativity, AI allows individuals to amplify their creative output and produce images or writing that might not be possible without AI assistance. In these cases, AI should be recognized as a complementary force that enhances the artist --- not something that replaces them.

Here at DeepMake, we feel strongly that AI can be a powerful assistant in the creative process. While AI may learn to replicate patterns and generate content, the ability to conceive entirely novel ideas remains uniquely human. AI serves as a partner in creative endeavors, enabling individuals to explore new frontiers and manifest their imaginative visions.

So, should creative people use AI? Absolutely! Artists will keep finding new ways to use AI in these fields. However, don't forget that true creativity lies in the hands of the artist, while AI is merely a tool or aid that helps artists push their boundaries and reach new heights. With the combination of human ingenuity and AI capabilities, art can become more inclusive and diverse. This means that anyone can unleash their inner artist with the right tools.

And frankly, we're all for it.