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The Work of Creation in the Age of AI

The Work of Creation in the Age of AI



  • Author: Andrew Perfors
  • Full Title: The Work of Creation in the Age of AI
  • Category: #articles
  • Document Note: Meaning is the product of a mind, and is therefore contingent on the context in which the stimulus is observed. The author suggests that the key elements are a cognitive information transformation characterised by agency and intent.
  • Document Tags: meaning-making
  • Summary: The article explores the concept of meaning in creation and the impact of AI on the creative process. It discusses how AI changes the dynamic between creator and audience, potentially diluting the depth of meaning in creations by removing the direct connection between the creator's intent and the final output. The document highlights the importance of understanding where meaning originates and how AI-mediated creation can hinder the authentic exchange of ideas and emotions between creators and their audience. Ultimately, the author suggests that relying too heavily on AI for creation may lead to a loss of meaningful connections and self-expression.
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  • directness of experience matters. (View Highlight)
  • None of this is to say that an experience ceases to have meaning when it is mediated by technology. But the mediation changes the experience in a very real way; the transmission chain from the creator to the recipient becomes part of the experience and thus part of the meaning. That means that different media and different kinds of mediation fundamentally change the meaning. (View Highlight)
  • First, why is it different? (View Highlight)
  • secondly, does any of this change when the technology involved is AI? (View Highlight)
  • Meaning is not externally visible because it comes from us: it is what happens when a mind tries to make sense of something in the world (including, of course, other minds). (View Highlight)
  • thoughts and actions occur in the service of some goal or another. Their meaning derives from the fact that the nature of the transformation can be understood given those goals, the world we live in, the constraints we are operating under, and the data we have access to. (View Highlight)
  • three logically possible kinds of creation. Meaning is different in each. (View Highlight)
  • Type 1. There is a creator but no audience (Individual Meaning) (View Highlight)
    • Note: For example personal writing, internal dialogue etc. The meaning emerges from the combination of the intent and the process you go through.
  • Type 2. There is an audience but no creator (Projected Meaning) (View Highlight)
    • Note: For example a natural phenomenon - any meaning we ascribe to it is projection of our own thoughts and beliefs.
  • Type 3. There is both a creator and an audience (Deep Meaning) (View Highlight)
  • the power of Deep Meaning is magnified a thousandfold when it becomes truly interactive – when creators and audience communicate with one another, when the audience becomes a creator by taking the creation and changing it or adding to it or even just commenting on it. Massively entangled and long-term processes like these are what has given rise to virtually all of the meaning in our world: our culture, our institutions, our languages – all are the outcome of an intense co-creation of meaning, a communication between many minds that has lasted for thousands of years. (View Highlight)
  • As I said earlier: part of the point of creation, for a creator, is the process. Use of AI allows people to “create” but removes much of the purpose of creation in the first place. It turns something that can be one of the most soulful and expressive of human activities into automated button-pushing. (View Highlight)
  • There is a staggering amount of prompt engineering and curation necessary to be equivalent to the thousands of tiny decisions and intense degree of skill-building that go into a hand-drawn image. It is so difficult that long before that point, it’s actually easier – not to mention far more rewarding – to just draw the darn thing oneself. (View Highlight)
  • Using AI in a way that gives it real meaning is almost always more work than not using it at all. Which means that when we rely on AI to create because it’s easier or faster or beyond our skill level, we are robbing ourselves of the most of the purpose behind creation and skill development. (View Highlight)
  • suppose somebody, for some strange reason, did go through a process with an AI that was effortful and mindful enough that the resulting creation was imbued with meaning. … How could we tell? (View Highlight)
    • Note: Even the most carefully-engineered AI response, or an AI response blended with human input, fundamentally destroys the reciprocal and interactive interaction between original creator and audience and etc.
  • That thing they’re shoving in my face might have the surface form of something that matters, but it no more contains meaning than a corpse contains the essence of a person. (View Highlight)
  • We lose so much of what learning should be if the goal of education becomes to pass it to an AI and then fiddle with the content it outputs. We are outsourcing a real part of our humanity, our creativity, to a machine, and not recognising the cost. (View Highlight)