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Since 1925
The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

The death of creativity

Marco Verch/Flickr
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I started this piece like most students, staring at a blank document awaiting inspiration. But ideas eluded me like trout fleeing a graceless fisherman’s lure. As I sank lower into despair, I instinctively opened Chat GPT to be my saving grace.

“It’s only to get some ideas,” I told myself, “I’ll do all of the actual writing.” 

This lie quickly became the mantra I repeatedly uttered to stifle my conscience. Ever since I first discovered A.I.’s ability to assist me with my academic workload, I struggled with the idea of using it. Feeling like an addict who is constantly tempted, the thought of an “easy out” is almost impossible to resist. Even faster than pen could hit paper, an A.I. chatbot could be filling my screen with proposals to alleviate the headache that stems from creative writing. 

My situation is not unique. Many students find themselves crippled by artificial intelligence rather than enabled. Its original purpose was to provide answers and explanations quicker than a normal search engine. However, in our culture, artificial intelligence takes much more than it gives, stripping us of one of our most human qualities: creativity.

The article “Lessons from a Communitarian Business” by John Rhodes makes it clear the challenges technology can cause when employed without regard for its unintended consequences. It recounts a story about Community Playthings, the church-run business that struggled with its adoption of email. Employees found that the introduction of email increased tensions between co-workers, discouraging them from resolving conflicts face-to-face. As a result of this predicament, the business devised four principles for sorting beneficial technological changes from harmful ones – 1. emphasize human relationships 2. limit children’s exposure to screens 3. understand the agenda of technology and 4. eliminate destructive tech from their lives. 

These core principles helped them prioritize human flourishing.

Unfortunately, our society rarely questions whether or not integrating technology is for our benefit. The lack of scrutiny to which we subject innovation allows it to infiltrate our world and wreak havoc in the process. We are so eager to employ the latest advancements in tech that we rarely stop to ask if we should. Furthermore, our society almost never reevaluates a decision to utilize new technology. The relentless adoption of the latest technological advancements, driven by a quest for efficiency, often occurs without pause to question its broader impact.

From answering questions to generating content, AI has become an integral part of our academic landscape. However, the unintended consequences of this growing reliance on technology are beginning to manifest and it is imperative that we reflect on the impact it has on us. 

Writing essays is not just about completing a homework assignment; it’s about strengthening our process of thinking, exploring and experimenting. It’s about the ability to connect seemingly unrelated dots and to bring forth something entirely novel. When AI steps in to provide ready-made solutions, it narrows the scope of our thinking and limits the potential for original thought. We become dependent upon algorithms, and sacrifice the unique perspectives and insights that arise from our individual minds. Even if we merely drew inspiration from artificial intelligence, we are cutting ourselves out of often the most important parts of the creative journey. 

Furthermore, it’s not just academics that can suffer as a result of AI. Art forms such as photography, painting and music are under assault as well. While technology has undoubtedly facilitated creative processes in these fields, a challenge emerges as AI encroaches upon the very essence of human expression. The allure of convenience poses a threat to the authenticity and depth that is so essential in artistic expression. 

In photography, the advent of AI-driven filters and enhancements offers instantaneous alterations to images, providing an illusion of professional quality with minimal effort on the part of the photographer. While this appears advantageous and often harmless, it risks diminishing the craftsmanship and personal touch that photographers bring to their work. The artistry of selecting the perfect moment, framing a shot and conveying a unique perspective may be overshadowed by the homogenizing effects of AI, leading to a proliferation of aesthetically pleasing yet impersonal images.

Similarly, in the realm of painting, the introduction of AI raises questions about the soul of artistic creation. While AI tools can generate art and assist artists, it lacks the ability to  preserve the emotional depth and subjective interpretation that emanates from the human mind. The intuitive decisions, emotional nuances and unique perspective that artists bring to their canvases are aspects that AI, with its algorithmic precision, struggles to replicate. 

The risk is therefore not merely one of convenience but of the gradual erosion of individuality and humanity in artistic expression.

Proponents of artificial intelligence highlight its ability to relieve us of repetitive and mundane tasks. Data entry, billing and file management are all tasks where artificial intelligence would thrive. By eliminating the “busy work” tasks in the workforce such as these, we would have more time for creative endeavors and complex problem-solving. 

This optimistic perspective envisions a future where artificial intelligence serves as a valuable ally, liberating humans from the shackles of monotonous work and fostering an environment conducive to innovation and artistic expression. However, our society lacks the restraint to keep artificial intelligence confined to these boundaries. The principles mentioned that allow Community Playthings to responsibly manage new technology is something currently missing for us. 

Artificial intelligence will continue to be used to replace humans in creative tasks, begging the question – if it is allowed to replace repetitive tasks and creative tasks then what will we spend our time on?

In our pursuit of convenience and efficiency, the widespread adoption of artificial intelligence for creative tasks introduces potential consequences. Resulting from our lack of a strong moral framework, our society is susceptible to unforeseen outcomes of technology. To navigate this landscape responsibly, we must couple the quest for efficiency with a commitment to core principles. Alternatively, our reliance on artificial intelligence could evolve into a dependency, acting as a crutch for human thinking.

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