Is AI really a threat to creators?



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Is AI really a threat to creators?

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You’ve heard it before. AI is here to take your job. For some, where repetitive tasks remain core to their work, this may already be true. But, what about writers, artists, designers, and the like? Creative work isn’t as easily replaceable, right?

Well, if you follow some of the latest trends in AI, there is reason to be mindful: AI now writes novels, produces art, and informs UX design. Artists are even fighting to keep AI from stealing their work. So, at a quick glance, you’ll be going toe-to-toe in the art gallery and on the bookshelves with robotic creators soon enough.

However, I don’t think the creator’s fate is sealed just yet, and I’ll explain why.

There’s Something Human In It

The first question you must ask: What draws us (and you) to the work of a creator?

Why do you go to the art gallery? What draws you to the Apple laptop over the others? What makes you read blog posts like this?

My thoughts: You go to the art gallery to explore the mind of another. You buy the Apple because the product design reflects something about you. You read the inspirational blog post to learn from another person’s experience.

Ultimately, creative work is about connecting and affecting other humans. People are drawn to your work because it’s a lens into your thoughts and maybe even reflection of their own.

It’s about the human experience — something that AI is not replacing.

Philosophical point aside, there’s also a technical reason that gives you the edge over an AI creator.

AI Regurgitates Information

Most AI algorithms rely on exposure to problems and solutions ahead of time. The algorithm can only do what it has been shown. This is why AI often associates itself with large data. It needs an example for every solution it produces. This is its weakness.

It’s somewhat like the student who memorizes the textbook rather than understanding the concepts. That student aces the test but falters on applying the concepts.

Examples of this can be seen in AI-written novels. The prose can be memorable, but the story doesn’t make much sense. It’s also seen in art, where text-to-art AI generates art that are mostly copies of others work.

There’s no continuity. No mind’s eye. No true originality.

Now, one can make the argument that this technical limitation can be overcome. Maybe if the examples used in training the AI art generator were varied enough, you’d end up with something relatively unique — unique but maybe not meaningful.

Either way, we can probably agree that AI is here to stay. And, you should work to keep yourself relevant. This is something I have some tips for, as I have been on the other side. I’ve actually put robots in place of human workers.

Becoming an AI-Proof Creative

AI is already becoming a part of the creator’s world. As such, it may be a good time for you to become educated on AI.

Now, this doesn’t mean you should sign up for the next coding bootcamp. What I mean is that you become aware of how it works, what its limitations are, and what it excels at — also being aware of what dangers it imposes.

I have some experience here. Based on my experience placing robots in a factory, I have a basic strategy that can help: Learn how to manage the machine.

Use the AI text generators to see alternative prose. Befriend a data scientist and use AI to help you understand your readers. Use it to automate and inform your UX design workflow. Let it be your assistant. Let it do the repetitive, exhausting tasks for you. View AI as a lever to gain you an advantage.

Relating this to my experience in installing robots in a factory, the people on the factory floor generally were not replaced. Instead, most learned additional skills, like troubleshooting machinery and managing materials. Their individual productivity went up too, since they now focused their attention on higher-level tasks. They learned to leverage the machines. It was those that didn’t learn or adapt that were left behind.

A final thought on becoming AI-proof. Find ways to protect your work. Like mentioned earlier, current AI algorithms only work on example data, meaning they must have seen your work to use it. So, you should take steps to prevent your work from being included in these training sets. Thus, preventing plagiarism by AI bots. Right now, how to do this is still being figured out. One way is to join a community of creators that are working to remove their work from these training sets. But, you should stay informed on how this develops going forward.

In the end, remember why humans seek creative work — it’s to seek the ideas of other humans. Also, keep in mind that AI has some current limitations on original work. And, find ways to make yourself AI-proof.

AI/ML

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