I can't bring myself to believe that artificial intelligence will bring an end to creative labor. you can't reduce creative labor to the artifacts it produces, and that the value of those artifacts doesn't inhere purely in their form. sure, I think a lot of the value in art comes from, like, visceral spectacle, but some amount also comes from being able to identify and appreciate the choices made in their production—and people are really good at identifying and distinguishing these choices
which isn't to say that new technology doesn't alter displace creative labor, because it obviously does that (and has for thousands of years). but there's a reason that it takes twenty minutes for the credits of a pixar movie to scroll past, and I think it's at least partially because the availability of automated tools opens up larger possibility spaces for sophisticated and interesting creative choices
here's an extreme example of what I mean—from an AI paper about interpolating latent space in GANs (the technology lately touted as producing "the first piece of AI-generated art" https://www.christies.com/features/A-collaboration-between-two-artists-one-human-one-a-machine-9332-1.aspx) has a lot of math but then ends in a sentence stating, essentially, "I want to make it pretty, how do I make it pretty???" (from this paper https://users.aalto.fi/~laines9/publications/laine2018iclr_paper.pdf)
a glance at any AI research having to do with producing creative artifacts or augmenting creative processes will likely reveal many similar choices about the aesthetics of the output. [these are almost always couched in the language of empiricism ("here's how many people thought it was good") or obviousness ("of course this is good") if it takes time to analyze its own ideas about aesthetics at all.]
i keep thinking of the popularity of speed running (and maybe just video game streaming in general?) as a touchpoint in this conversation. people like to watch other people accomplish virtuosic feats with their tools, even when "perfection" is possible through automation. in speed running, the tool-assisted work actually *feeds back into* the purely non-automated performances. the presence of automation opens up new interesting expressive possibilities, it doesn't close them off.
(the metaphor here being that, say, a movie can partially be understood as the result of a "speed run" of [e.g.] Final Cut Pro, or an illustration as a "speed run" of Illustrator/Photoshop, etc, where "speed run" here is defined as an artifact created from a constrained performance with a certain tool or set of tools. the question of "wow how did they DO that?" is, i'm proposing here, an inseparable part of the value of media)
@aparrish people who claim not to care about authorial intent will find out quite how much they mean it, soon enough
@somem @LogicalDash yes, I was careful to avoid the word "intent"—I'm trying to cover a wider range of hermeneutics than just asking "what did the author meeeeean" that includes choices made subconsciously or under other constraints etc. I also disagree strenuously with the idea that AI art has no "thinking agent"—there is always someone (usually many people) who put together the system in question (and/or the data it operates on)
@aparrish I completely agree. I have yet to see a compelling argument for why "AI' is somehow qualitatively different from past automation in its economic. It's not magical. This is why I think we should focus on helping displaced folks rather than on trying to slow down the deployment of automation.
@aparrish The Pixar credits is a great analogy. I hope you’re right.
@aparrish Exactly. Mature "creative AI" will be a tool for creative people, not for researchers.
@aparrish By "creative," I take it you're restricting the term to the decorative arts?
I read that last toot first, and though "of _course_ you're doing creative labour! If you're building an AI, you're, well, creating stuff."
@aparrish cold take:
(auction) sales do not correlate to artistic merit
@aparrish Ha, I think you nailed it. Yet the terrifying (potential) tipping point for many is when we begin reading primary agency into the AIs themselves -- when even the researchers who got the ball rolling go "Wow, how did they do that?" But some AI researchers already seem to enjoy the mystery of not understanding the competent end products of their deep learning algorithms. Human/AI relations transition from engineers creating to scientists discovering, a different flavor of wonderment.
@aparrish in speedrun you know the path, while in creative process you know the tools but not the path ...
I would compare speedrun to accoustic analog instruments performances f.ex. where you interpret a given track adding some bias
in that sense, "Beat Saber" is not far from a "Coucours Reine Elisabeth"
@aparrish This dates me maybe, but the segments on doing cool tricks or mini projects in Photoshop or Final Cut Pro were my favorite parts of MacAddict magazine. I think that part of the appeal of these and of speed runs is that in many cases the “final” process is transparent and appreciable even though it hides the “how did they figure that out?” Maybe we can see YouTube makeup tutorials with the same lens?
@aparrish As an indie creative laborer (gamedev) whose non-homelessness depends on people paying me for that work, I must agree generally with the statement. Although procedural generation is massively on the rise, and game / film corporations view 'creative work' - including writing - as simply 'content filling afterthought'. Like I've got colleagues still in the machine and they're like, "Yeah they don't even bring the hundred writers in till 3 months before release."
@aparrish Like the most important thing in the most popular & profitable games is giant cowboy / fantasyland / cyberpunk vista-generators, then at the last minute, pay a hundred writers to 'sprinkle some quest / lore salt' on our character designs and combat. "We got molecule-accurate elf-cleavage physics, cyborg dragons, you can destroy entire cities, amazing reflections on these water textures... Ok, let's pay 500 unemployed English majors to try to make sense of this. Great, SHIP IT!!"
The fact that big tech companies are trying to replace humans recommending art to other humans with robots recommending art to humans isn't a good sign. It violates the basic "automation only replaces humans doing things they don't actually want to do" pretty blatantly.
The best version of the future is where artists curate and grow neural networks carefully pruned and fed by their own art. The neural network then is personal extension of the artist.
I think the conversation around fear of what artificial intelligence will and will not do for humans misses the point that artificial intelligence is terrifying because of how it allows centralization of power (in businesses and governments).
What technically artificial intelligence does is less important than the fact that it pushes technology further in the direction of supporting authoritarianism and away from supporting free societies.
If we deal with this tendency of artificial intelligence to enable a small number of people to have massive power over others (perhaps by distributing ownership of ai in some fashion/regulation) the actual technology will end up benefitting us. However artificial technology and its effect upon humans can't be considered seperate from its tendency to centralize power.
This is a political issue disguised as a technological one.
@aparrish but will artificial intelligence appreciate art?
Also sometimes wonder if there is an algorithm that can for a long time produce meaningfully different things that are meaningful to us.
Something like a minecraft/minetest map generator produces something meaningful, i.e. maps of different styles, it keeps producing different things, but eventually not _meaningfully_ different.. Don't even know how to define that though.
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