Showing all posts tagged: creativity

The Internet is not written in pencil, nor is it written in stone

9 April 2024

An excerpt from Manuel Moreale’s recent interview — from his excellent People and Blogs series — with Oregon based American web designer and writer, Matt Stein.

I rewrite and edit heavily to try and find what I want to say. I wrote obscenely long answers to these questions and had to start over, and I’m one of those serial Discord+Slack edit-after-sending people. I would go broke as a stone engraver.

There could be no better way to describe my writing process. I’d likely go broke simply writing on paper, given the quantity I’d waste, attempting to publish a single post.


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ChatGPT must connect with people to succeed as an artist

24 February 2023

To make good art argues Billy Oppenheimer, writing for Every, the art creator must have a connection of some sort to people.

As an example, he cites the writers of the old Seinfeld TV sitcom, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, who, in the early days of the show, would go out and discreetly mix where people gathered, to figure out what they liked.

Their process played a part in the creation of the show’s many memorable screenplays. This is an advantage ChatGPT lacks. For the AI chatbot to succeed as an “artist”, it needs a more direct attachment to its audience.

Artists who get so famous that they can’t go out in public talk about how not being able to do so makes it hard to create art that connects. To come up with material for Seinfeld, for instance, Seinfeld and co-creator Larry David liked to hang out in public settings where they could observe and eavesdrop on strangers. As the show became a cultural phenomenon, Seinfeld and David couldn’t go out in public like they used to. Strangers didn’t act like strangers around them. This slow detachment from humanity made it harder to make a show that connected with humanity. When you don’t experience reality like most people do, it’s hard to make things that connect with most people.

Of course there’s no telling what people will go for, so a ChatGPT created work of art may still end up being riotously popular.


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AI creators of artworks may be unable to copyright their work

27 December 2022

AI technologies may make better writers, artists, and illustrators than people. They could well be able to produce stunning works of art, literature, and whatever else, but there is one downside: the Artificial Intelligence creators may not be able to copyright their work.

The United States Copyright Office (USCO) has initiated a proceeding to reverse an earlier decision to grant a copyright to a comic book that was created using “A.I. art,” and announced that while the copyright will still be in effect until the proceeding is completed (and the filer for the copyright has a chance to respond to the proceeding), copyrighted works must be created by humans to gain official copyright protection.

While the USCO is yet to make a final ruling on the matter, I can’t see this small hiccup interfering with AI creators plans for world dominance.


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Ten word creative summaries: a secret sentence, a North Star to write by

22 December 2022

A journalist once told me he could summarise any article he was writing with a sentence of no more than ten words. These ten words, or less, outlined the purpose of the piece he was working on, whether it be five hundred words, or fifty thousand.

If he found himself floundering, or stuck, while writing, he’d refer back to his article outline so as to refocus on the task at hand. He ventured that the ten word outline could be applied to any creative endeavour, be it a painting, a sculpture, whatever. If the basic objective of the project could not be described in ten words or less, something was wrong, he said.

I think he was onto something. Let’s look at an example. If I had been making the 2019 film Portrait of a Lady on Fire, instead of Céline Sciamma, my ten word or less outline for the project might’ve been: “a painter falls in love with her subject.” If I realised, as the supposed filmmaker, that I was losing sight of the story, while trying to tie the myriad other elements of the narrative into a cohesive whole, I could go back to my outline for guidance.

American author Austin Kleon has a similar methodology, though he titles it with a little more pizzazz. He refers to his ten word outline as a secret sentence, and sees it as his “North Star”. Should Kleon need guidance while working on a writing project, he looks to his secret sentence:

Since we both write books, I confessed that with each book I usually have a secret sentence that I write down somewhere but don’t show to anybody. That sentence is sort of my North Star for the project, the thing I can rely on if I get lost. The sentence usually doesn’t mean anything to anyone other than me. And sometimes it’s pretty dumb. (When I was writing Show Your Work! the sentence was: “What if Brian Eno wrote a content strategy book?”)

A sort of star to steer by while writing. I like the sound of that.


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Could AI technologies be the end of writers and bloggers?

5 December 2022

For a long time it was believed the inevitable rise of automation technologies would bring about the end of repetitive and labour intensive jobs. Warehouse workers, drivers, and filing clerks would need to re-skill if they weren’t to be left unemployed.

But as digital and AI technologies evolved, the threat of being usurped by a computer moved up the ranks. An article published in The Economist in January 2014 (I couldn’t find an author credit, surely a machine didn’t write it?), warned that white collar professions such as accountants and doctors were also at risk:

Computers can already detect intruders in a closed-circuit camera picture more reliably than a human can. By comparing reams of financial or biometric data, they can often diagnose fraud or illness more accurately than any number of accountants or doctors.

Creatives meanwhile, writers and artists among them, always felt immune from these technologies. After all, how could a computer possibly produce an artwork, or write a book? Well, thanks to the likes of DALL·E and Jasper, we now know it’s possible. But creative output is not the limit of these technologies. They’re also capable of creative and problem solving… thought.

For instance, an application called Consensus, promises to seek answers, or consensus, to deceptively simple questions such as “is drinking coffee good or bad for my health?”, and potentially save hundreds, maybe more, of research hours. The app, once fully developed will be able to accurately scan multitudes of research papers on a particular topic, and deliver a pithy yet informative, summary in response to the query, says Derek Thompson, writing for The Atlantic:

Consensus is part of a constellation of generative AI start-ups that promise to automate an array of tasks we’ve historically considered for humans only: reading, writing, summarizing, drawing, painting, image editing, audio editing, music writing, video-game designing, blueprinting, and more. Following my conversation with the Consensus founders, I felt thrilled by the technology’s potential, fascinated by the possibility that we could train computers to be extensions of our own mind, and a bit overcome by the scale of the implications.

I expect in time AI technologies will be able to research and write the papers apps like Consensus will scan. But while AI apps can create artworks and perhaps write novels, will they really be any better at being creative? Let’s take blog writing as an example. A lot of people blog, but how popular are all these bloggers? We know some are more widely read than others. Their writing might be seen by hundreds of thousands of people, while other bloggers struggle to attract a handful of readers.

Just because, then, a machine writes something, does that mean the work will automatically have a larger audience? Will they cause every last writer on Earth to throw in the towel, and give up? I’m not so sure. Certainly the AI writers will improve, learn as they go, hone their craft, but will that result in more readers than an article written by a person? Maybe. Maybe not. Human and AI bloggers could be evenly matched. Of course, AI blogging apps will be able to research and write articles a lot faster, and that will be an advantage.

They’ll be able to publish an article on a given topic far more quickly than I can, and that work may rank on the search engines and elsewhere before mine. And that will suit some readers, but not all. And then we come to the human side of the process. Will readers be able to interact with the AI blogging app, as they can with human bloggers, through say email or social media? More crucially though, depending on the topic at hand, will an AI blogging or writing app, have the same authority to write as a person?

Could, for instance, an AI app write about raising a family? This is something most people learn about the hard way, by living through it. How could an AI blogging app possibly claim to be better qualified than a person, through “personal experience”, in this regard? How could the app ever gain the crucial trust to write on some subjects? This I suspect remains to be seen. At their core, AI apps are capable of thinking like people. For better or worse. I dare say, unfortunately, they will find a way.


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Useful resources for creatives working in day jobs

4 October 2022

A collection of useful resources for people juggling day jobs or other work with creative endeavours, put together by Canadian art magazine booooooom.

A couple of standouts include balancing full-time work with your creative side hustle, and advice on turning down ridiculous rates for your work, by Jano le Roux.


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The midlife crisis as a creative transformative experience

8 September 2022

Andrew Jamieson, writing for WePresent, on the upsides of the sometimes debilitating midlife crisis experience. Shortly after turning fifty, Jamieson reports not moving from his bed for almost ten weeks, as all manner of uncertainties and anxieties weighed on him. Despite the melancholy some people might feel at reaching such a milestone, a midlife crisis can lead to a creative resurgence. I’m pleased something positive came of the ordeal.

In reading the accounts of these notable individuals and how they battled through their midlife crises, I began to realize that these harrowing feelings were perhaps not just some arbitrary misery, but rather a transformative experience. They seemed to turn ordinary individuals into exceptional men and women who achieved not only significant outward success, but also a striking level of inner serenity when facing the later challenges of their lives. Perhaps these anxieties and depression that I was so overwhelmed by could become a portal into some new phase of life.