Quill to Quantum: Are AI Generative Tools Creative Sidekicks or Replacing Creativity?
I've used ChatGPT and MidJourney almost every day so you didn't have to.
LegendFiction has released an official statement on the use of AI tools and creativity, so everything that follows in this post is my opinion and understanding:
Statement: LegendFiction & Generative AI
We understand that our members have differing views on Generative AI.
In this debate around the world, heroes and trolls abound. This lack of clarity has escalated some of these decisions on fair use to the courts.
Until the court cases provide clarity, LegendFiction will not offer any AI tools. We are a Christ-centered community. We are intent on cultivating our fun and sacred calling to create, as a path toward holiness.
LegendFiction remains forever committed to three groundrules:
1) Our members have the right to discern use for themselves, assuming good will and ethical practice.
2) Human creativity will never be replaced by tools. When used responsibly, tools can amplify and support the creative process.
3) LegendFiction will never accept or encourage story submissions generated by AI. The entire point of our community is to teach ourselves the discipline and craft of creativity, together.
LegendFiction generative art is forever ethical and carefully fair use. We share it copyright-free with all. Our inspirations are classical art and Creative Commons content (like Unsplash). We celebrate our community artists.
If you want to know what I think as the founder, here are my notes.
I've used ChatGPT and MidJourney almost every day so you didn't have to. I wanted to find out if they will replace creativity... or amplify it.
For me, the answer is in.
No, AI generative tools and machine learning will not destroy creativity.
People will forever and always choose to create because it is meaningful to them. No tool will ever replace the actual discipline of learning a craft.
I've posted here some of the most compelling videos (for me) thatvclear up key misinformation, and my own mulling on art and work.
Naturally, once all the legalities and the courts are cleared up, all this might get easier.
Our LegendFiction community is made up of artists: primarily writing artists, and some illustrative artists. We are teaching ourselves the hard, fun discipline of the craft of writing. There are no shortcuts, no outsourcing, no cheating.
AI tools can be concerning, if not flat out divisive - especially when abused. So I started testing, using, and examining these tools while they exploded, and now that the dust is settling. I've followed arguments on both sides for a year.
So first, some context.
Context or Concerns with AI?
In the last twelve months, generative AI tools have transformed, terrified, and thrilled the creative landscape. And the business landscape. And medical. And real estate. And everything.
Ridiculous things have happened, like students submitting essays generated by ChatGPT, or AI art 'winning' painting contests. Artists and comedians claim they are 'robbed' of their style, companies lay off workforces to replace them with machine tools. (And then regretting it.)
Seriously though, these are ridiculous situations. Some of them are serious, and some are ridiculous.
Since the foundation of any system ever, people have found ways to game it. To reduce effort and improve output.
These headlines point to more than the 'danger' of these tools. They're shining a light on deeper problems with work culture, or the commodification of creativity.
Chew on that. The commodification of creativity.
Are you really an artist if you're doing work for hire? Doesn't that technically run against the deep truth of art as a sacred calling?
Hey, I'm not dissing work for hire. I'm a marketer and graphic designer by day and by night. I've been a comic book artist, illustrator, and novelist for decades. Some I'm an artist in favor of AI - like many out there.
Let's be honest about how *truly valuable* that kind of work really is. I'm not Michelangelo.
Even artists are petitioning Congress to be included in the development of regulations for AI tools and generative art. They not only like it, but see how it creates new opportunities. The response is not book burning, but book learning.
Origins and outcomes
If you've followed any of the drama and legalese surrounding it AI, you'll know it might suffer from both ethical or unethical beginnings. And it might not. (So does every country, and most brands we use daily.)
We've also seen ludicrous articles and YouTube tutorials promising you that ChatGPT and similar tools can write whole novels without effort, and do it in the style of your favorite authors!
Seriously... people. It's all such clickbait.
Spend 2 minutes with AI-generated content, and you can tell how wrote and soulless it is - before a human steps in to polish it up. Even if the tools get better - and they will - so what?
The time is fast coming where real, human art will become a fineart luxury.
That's good news.
Complete AI novels are as much a ‘reality’ and a joke as stands stuffed with pulp fiction. Cheap novels no one wants to read, because they're not actually valuable - and everyone knows it. That's why they don't last.
Generative art hasn't stopped our community artists. They have continued to create for each other. The process of getting real, talented art never fails to delight. Ever.
AI art will never replace real artists.
It become another tool in our kits, the same way Photoshop, Microsoft Paint, and computers are. None of these tools stopped artists from creating. In fact, artists created more. These tools consistently highlight the actual value of real, human-generated art.
The problem with generative AI tools is not that people are using them. It's that anything that can be outsourced to a factory worker, will be. Anything that can be mechanized, will be. And any 'creative' thing that an artist or writer does that doesn't truly come from a creative place, will be done faster by an AI.
So we need to take a really serious look at our own creativity. If a machine can replicate what I do, maybe I'm focusing on the wrong thing. What is the unrepeatable part of my craft? And will I do it even if no one cares?
No one is obligated to give you work. You have to earn it. The machines came for the rest of us. Now its the turn for the creative types.
And I'm not worried. Like I said, the videos in this post are brilliant.
Abuse vs Use?
I'm following the meteoric rise of AI tools every single day. I have a loose sense of what's being released, and how it helps people.
Like with any new tool, it gets wielded well and badly at first, and then policing sets in. That's what's happening now.
That's the fault of abuse from people, not a bad machine. The fear-mongering around this is staggering.
Watch these two videos: Artists for AI.
Generative AI is not the problem.
We humans have built and bought into a world and an economy supported by billions of hours of stupid, mind-numbing, repetitive labor.
Machines, and digital machines, have a chance to help us live like humans again. We have a chance now to create a standard of living that we never dreamed - in a work-obsessed, dehumanised first world economy that sells a subscription-based life as freedom.
Creativity, collaboration, and solving problems is the fundamental genius of the human being. We will be freer as a species to stop struggling to live, and actually live. Work used to be backbreaking, until the Industrial Revolution. Today, this discussion affects the knowledge workers, and the AI revolution will help free us to actually be human about our minds.
Real human thriving means using time and talent and treasure to do what matters most to us. For some, it will be artisanal farming. For some, plumbing. For some, photobashing. For some, chatbot programming for small business.
And that will be different to each.
These tools can help eliminate the millions of grey, wasted hours that we humans spend on mind-numbing, ridiculous labor.
The kind of labor that kills creativity.
That's why I'm not afraid of these tools. They amplify art. They speed up creativity. They improve how we work.
Anyone convinced they will replace us just hasn't spent enough time really working with them, daily, and integrating them into their tool kit.
Assisted by both ChatGPT as a brainstorming partner, and MidJourney as a visual aide, I've never been so committed to stay focused and actually write (almost a complete) novel, around 70K+ words. For me, running three businesses with a ton of medical debt and a busy family and ADHD, that's amazing.
Tools as Sidekicks
These tools aren't here to steal your spotlight; they're here to be your sidekicks, your trusty co-pilots in the writing adventure.
These tools can be mind-blowingly helpful - saving you thousands of dollars on developmental editors and proofreaders - to get your draft into the best shape possible.
Face it: demand is outstripping supply.
There are more writers today than there were 10 years ago. And editors can't keep up.
Not all the writers can afford them though - and that's just economic truth. Many creators are stuck, and these tools can give them an edge to hone their craft and stand out to publishers, editors, and the general public.
That's why these tools can help authors brainstorm, chat, and play around with their creativity.
And if anyone does try to cheat their way through? They might have short term wins.
But remember... everything online is tracked forever. All it takes is one new AI to run a search of generated outputs, and we'll find the 'novel' that some creator protested was handwritten.
You can't lie any more. You can't even deepfake it forever.
And let's be real. We've been using AI assisted software and generative tools for almost decades.
Every social platform's algorithm is built on machine learning. It was just released to the general public a year ago. We've already built lives and careers and creativity around it. We just didn't know it as clearly.
Generative tools, as nifty as they are, have their limits. They're not the holy grail of writing. There's always that pesky issue of potential plagiarism if you rely on them too heavily.
I don't believe real creators aren't worried about that. Nothing can replace your voice. Maybe it will get drowned out in the short term, a single real voice overwhelmed by a glut of fake voices. But hold the line. Keep creating. And the fake stuff will get downvoted and algorithmed out, because audiences remember the magic of real human communion and actual creativity.
Why do you think people spend millions on real art, and hate the cheap dollar store junk?
AI is here to stay, for better or worse.
I believe it's for the better.
And I seriously think that serious creatives will learn how to wield it. People will not be replaced by AI. They will be replaced by other people using AI.
In the same way that farmers panicked about the cart instead of the backpack, or the train instead of the motor car, or the airplane instead of boats, photography instead of painting, and Word documents over journals, each of these things have done something new. We sadly have to adapt in months and days, not years. That's rough. I know.
Machines changed the landscape because they amplify effect. They make things faster, cheaper, and easier. They reduce the barrier to access. They unlock aspects of skill from elite communities to the common people.
Which means more people can use it. More of the average person can unlock their own inner creativity, no matter what job or education they have.
To me, that's the most important and exciting thing.
Everyone has a right to work, but I doubt that anyone has a cast-iron right to demand the work they're doing right now. We all have to earn our jobs. Humans always adapt. That's in our DNA. It's how we exist.
And as always, we have a right to demand a living wage, and a just work environment, and the safety of a trustworthy process. But the game of the first world west economy is a mess, so we just need to pull up our socks and play hard.
So go ahead and disagree, and sound off in the comments. I'm sure I've missed things that are important to you.
But this is why I'm finding a creative, careful way through these tools, and finding out the best and most exciting way to use them.
Because that's my mission: to do everything possible with ludicrous epicness. And that includes AI.