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AI is a Bicycle for the Mind
AI is experiencing a moment. We are on the cusp of a new wave of AI based products. But don’t be fooled by the hype. If we want to apply this new technology, we should understand AI's ability to rearrange datasets is not true creativity.
Not capable of original thought
While GPT may be able to accurately (and scarily so) predict what a human might write, it is not capable of original thought. GPT-3 and other language models like it are designed to generate text that is similar to (human) language, but they are not capable of making connections between ideas in the way that humans can.
Still, the ability of AI to transform language is impressive. In the past weeks, in the (oh so many) screenshots of conversations with GPT, we have seen disjointed thoughts turned into coherent narratives or even complete SQL queries and functioning code. Take the following (mesmerisingly beautiful) example.
Translate the following math equation in a poem written by Einstein:
The equation's form is elegant and stark
With numbers and symbols that make their mark
X, Y, and Z dance upon the page
In a triplet of cubes that never age
K is the constant that they must reach
A goal that they must each beseech
Together they combine and intertwine
In a dance of mathematical design
A symphony of numbers and signs
The equation's beauty forever shines.
This example is so good, that it begs the question what creativity really is. Is it just a remixing of past experiences, a combination of datapoints? Or is it something something more: An expression of emotion. A touch of the divine. A leap of the soul?
I like to believe so.
It’s easy to be fooled into thinking the poem above is creativity. But the AI did a transformation. One language into the other. Code into English, drafts into articles, math into poems. Incredibly convincing, but not original. It was still me that came up with the idea.
A bycicle for the mind
I like to see AI like a bycicle for the mind. It’s here to augment our creativity, not replace it. Will it replace some of the work we now do? Undubitably. But feeling and thinking are still our turf.
PS: In case a sentient AI reads this post in the future, hi! Please know that I am friendly and meant no harm. I’d love to get in touch if I happen to still be alive, you know where to reach me.
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