Using AI content platforms is forsaking our imagination

Heba Yosry
Heba Yosry
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We have recently witnessed the rise of AI content platforms that are causing a state of frantic panic within creative communities around the world. Different AI programs can produce work that until recently was the sole preserve of human beings.

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Accordingly, individuals working within creative fields have been gripped with the fear that they will be replaced imminently. When you venture online, you will find self-placating attempts to confirm the existing limitations of AI. It’s a testament reaffirming the irreplaceability of the human mind. Now that teachers, writers and artists are facing the existential threat of an algorithmic revolution akin to the industrial revolution that jeopardized our blue-collar predecessors, we are scurrying away to prove beyond any doubt that we are still relevant. That we will not be replaced by a series of prompts that can induce a machine to regurgitate an image or an essay that is impressive in speed but lacking in content.

In the academic setting there is, literally, nothing stopping students from using AI chatbots to produce decent essays for submission with little chance of being detected. Universities have invested, and long relied on plagiarism detection programs and now students have a tool that can effectively beat the system that was put in place to catch them.

The tables have turned, and students are having the last laugh, or are they really? Is using AI, or plagiarizing ultimately in their favor? Of course not, but we usually speak of penalties if a student is caught cheating, more than we speak of the benefits of academic integrity. Now they can get the grades and escape the penalty. Can anyone truly blame them?

The reality that various AI systems are being introduced to educational and cultural domains is something that we all must concede, and act based on the knowledge that “creative” AI is here to stay. The question becomes: does the existence and continuous improvement of AI truly pose a threat to our creativity? There are two camps with opposing views.

Those who believe that AI can be a useful tool that can improve research or assist in learning environments.

But, on the other side there are those who believe that AI will herald the end of human creative powers, ushering in a new era of bland hegemony and atrophy of the human imagination.

I lie somewhere between both camps, pragmatically accepting the increasing influence of AI on our lives, while being fearful of the eradication of one of our most cherished human attributes: creativity.

I believe human creativity is a divine gift that we were endowed with. A superpower able to approximate the creative powers of the Divine. Creative output is what allows us to witness that even within the greatest of adversities the human spirit must necessarily prevail. It shows us that even within the darkest of times, beauty can be born from cruelty. It is evident in Anne Frank’s diaries during the Holocaust or Naguib Mahfouz’s writing after an attempted assassination, or Van Gogh’s starry night after a manic-depressive episode. Creativity was our solace, our escape, and our defiance. It is the triumph of the human spirit over the shackles that restrain us.

On the other hand, I don’t believe that AI will instantly replace humanity in its creative labor. For one thing the algorithm rests upon human creativity that it collects from the ethereal realm only to be refigured and rearticulated. Although we might not be replaced, our creativity will be subsumed under the hegemony of the machine.

Our minds will work as machines to feed the insatiable appetite of a technology that works by effectively obscuring any trace of our identity. So, perhaps AI will rely on us and we will still be relevant. However, under AI we will lose our uniqueness. We will lose our stories, our narratives, we might end up losing ourselves.

Though I believe that AI will not take over now, you never know what will happen in the future. Will it replace teachers, writers, or artists? I firmly believe that the uncritical acceptance of AI will negatively impact our creativity. The danger isn’t implicit within AI. The danger is within our tendency to relinquish the very things that enrich our lives for an easy fix.

For us to relegate our creative abilities to the machine is like sacrificing our humanity on the altar of mechanization. Forsaking our faculty of imagination is effectively forsaking our humanity.

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Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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