Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Can A.I. Be a Help to Creatives?

Posted by: Deborah A Bailey


There's a lot of conversation about artificial intelligence these days. Especially when it comes to A.I.-generated art. I've read many social media posts where artists are sounding the alarm that art can be used – without the artist's permission - to train the software. 

But I've also read that artists shouldn't fear that A.I. will replace them. Out of curiosity I signed up for Midjourney and have generated several images. Yes, they are often very imaginative and visually interesting. But, I've also found that the images don't always come out the way I expected.

Sometimes faces aren't developed properly and limbs are at strange angles. My request might create something very attractive or something unsettling. It all depends. I've seen paragraphs-long requests that have included many specifications (dealing with lighting, positioning, etc.) in order to control how the completed image is rendered.   

Will the average person even understand all of the directions they'd have to provide to get the right image? Probably not. So, in the end, they'd probably need someone (a graphic artist or photographer) to make the adjustments.

All of this brings me to using A.I. for writing. A couple of weeks ago I heard that Canva now has an A.I. that can create content from written requests. I decided to try it out – with mixed results.

When I asked for five suggestions about writing and editing a blog post, it produced five helpful points. They were a bit bland, as far as writing style, but serviceable. Would I have posted that as an article without any changes? No. However, was it a good starting point if I wanted to write that post for my blog? Sure. 

After that, I decided to try it again and ask for five things to help with setting yearly goals. It was the New Year, after all. This time I was interested in getting some ideas for a blog post. Unfortunately, this time, the results weren't very good. The five points were repetitive and pretty much said the same thing over and over. It didn't stimulate any ideas or give me any starting points that I didn't already have. 

Another test was to ask it to write a poem about a tree. The result was better than the goal-setting suggestions. Though the result did reference trees, it didn't have the kind of descriptive language that I'd expect in a poem. In other words, it was okay, but not particularly interesting. 

Yes, I think A.I. could be very helpful for creatives, and I'm not expecting it to replace writers or artists anytime soon. Creative expression is healthy and necessary. 

As someone who loves tech, I like keeping up with new innovations. So, I'm not ready to say no one should use A.I. tools. However, at the same time, creatives should be mindful of potential copyright concerns. Artificial Intelligence is still evolving, and in time we'll see the real impacts.


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