Here we are in mid 2018, in fluid times where globally we all are required to deal with changes, nearly daily, in our work and home lives. This is not an easy call with busy schedules when we struggle to remain centred and strong. But as the world shifts around us, linked to political scenarios, technological advances and societal complexities, we need to be open and prepared to engage and learn.
One of the most exciting and challenging debates of our times is that of the integration of automaton, advanced machine learning and AI into our lives. This is heralded as complementary and supportive for humankind but for several years now articles detailing rapid automaton have been hitting the press, with striking headlines warning of 'robots taking over our jobs'. Additionally pushes from within our workplaces to 'up-skill' in readiness for this new technology cause stress and anxiety over job security.
It is clear that certain jobs, such as those involving production lines and public facing services have already been automated for many years. Our ATMs deal with most of our banking needs, the internet enables self-activated access to mass communication methods, our mobile phones function as our guides, info stations and memory banks. Yet today we face questions regarding other occupations that are facing potential extinction due to robotics, machine learning and AI. Autonomous cars, robots that will care for us in the home and in hospital, virtual reality training environments - all these advancements could delete many more jobs.
And yet what of creativity? Our inherent understanding of creativity is that it is a unique human skill. We individually express ourselves, through art and design, music and literature, we creatively output in many forms to communicate our views. Is this also changing? Do we need to prepare for the automation of creativity? And what will be the consequences?
It is time to explore the future of creativity in depth and it is essential to come together for a deep discussion on how advanced machine learning and AI will affect human creativity. To explore how we can start to see, feel and grapple with what this could mean for our creative outputs.
In many ways it is our joint preparation for and our shared discussion of these potential changes that is most important. We need to exchange, learn and question in collaborative debates with experts, those already deeply involved in machine and algorithmic integrations into creativity, to help us understand the issues and potentials for the future of creativity.
The unanswered questions often lead to more questions through joint discussions - but this is good. This is the preparation we need to advance in ways that can help us guide and steer such shifts to create positive outcomes.
The key issue that is at the back of all our minds is - we are clearly creative animals and therefore we make creative technologies.
Yet, with the advancement of AI, can/will these technologies take over from the human creator and be creative in their own right? Or are we engaging from now onwards in a time of exciting creative collaborations and conversations with machine learning?
In my mind there are three possible outcomes, and it is likely that all three will exist simultaneously. Those working as creatives and designers, artists and innovators will either:
a) continue to work with their high level learnt skills to make unique outputs (in physical and virtual forms) led by their own human creative impetuses,/
b) work in collaboration with AI to set up the creative pattern definitions, allowing the AI to create the flow of evolution beyond the initial creation process, enabling a collaborative human / AI achievement
c) AI will take on its own creative impetus, in reflection of its human creators, and make its own outputs without and beyond human intervention
So let's ask the questions - can AI enable all of us to expand our creativity through 'augmenting' ourselves or is the artist / designer of tomorrow an AI itself?
It is essential to explore these possible futures with several concerns in mind:
- How can we ensure the aims of human-level performance for AI takes into account morals and ethics, philosophical concerns and non-biased judgements?
- How can we ensure human beings are empowered by the addition of AI to our own intelligence and not manipulated by it?
- How can we participate positively in our increasing collaboration with intelligent machines?
- How can we advance with AI beyond planning, learning and reasoning into blended memory, decision making and creativity in the use of AI to augment and complement human beings?
Join the discussion at the FutureFest Forward: AI and Creativity Futures event on Thursday 14 June from 17:30 to 20:30 at Nesta. Part of London Tech Week, this event is specifically designed for creative visionaries and innovators, artists, product designers, creative tech specialists and influencers, developers of AI and VR solutions, communication specialists, academics, opinion formers, social commentators, technologists and funders interested in exploring the relationship between human creator and creative technologies. The event is brought to you by Nesta and curated by Ghislaine Boddington (body>data>space / University of Greenwich).
— Ghislaine Boddington, Creative Director of body>data>space; Curator, Nesta's FutureFest Forward Series