20/20 Vision

Artificial Intelligence in 2020

“Pay close attention to the development of AI. We need to be very careful in how we adopt AI and make sure that researchers don’t get carried away.”
-Elon Musk
The Future is Among Us
Some Utopians believe artificial intelligence (AI) will be the answer to all our problems in 2020: repetitive actions will be streamlined; businesses won’t lose money on wasted hours by slow and emotional human beings; and our lives will be automated and easier.
Others, the doom and gloomers, believe robots will seize our jobs, leaving humans out in the cold.
No matter which side you’re on, AI is today’s reality. But when it comes to jobs where creativity is the driver, such as writing, design, painting, and music, will AI have a play in those industries?
Is Artistic Expression Strictly Human?
Early on, the creative community welcomed technology, especially when it came to music. Drummers were replaced by programable drum machines with impeccable timing. Bonus: The machines never need a bio break or complained about the guitar player’s girlfriend being in the studio.
But what was gained in meter and time saving was lost in feel. We know that humans are not metronomes, and artistic expression is not a made-to-order commodity.
The Computer vs Picasso
We also know that an AI learning algorithm was challenged with analyzing Picasso’s works to spit out paintings that mimicked his style. AI, indeed, achieved artistic impression.
Okay, not to diss anyone’s artistic expression, can this be considered original art?
Machine Learning vs. Jordan Peele
So, could a computer generate a movie script? Oh, it’s been done. Here’s the skinny:
A writer, Keaton Patti, claimed to have fed his bot 1,000 hours of Hallmark Christmas movie scripts, tasking it to write its own story. Check out the end result: “The script for The Christmas on Christmas is hilarious, yet believable, heartfelt but also very bot-like.” – Fast Company
At this point in time, there’s no threat to screenwriters from the artificial intelligence community.
Can AI Understand Beauty?
Most of us understand a computer without a programmer is just a pile of electronic circuits and plastic. It’s like slapping a chuck of ground beef in a pan and expecting it to turn itself into a Big Mac without a cook. Ain’t gonna happen.
Outside the Virtual Box
A computer is an unemotional machine. It doesn’t come from a dysfunctional family, nor has it ever lost a spouse, a home or a dog. Life experience, good or bad, eludes it. A Mac has never laughed, cried, been exhausted or so depressed it can’t get out of bed.
Oh, and it can’t make a left turn from the right lane. By that, I mean it can’t be spontaneous or random. AI is logic based. It can analyze info and regurgitate something new in the same style, but true human creativity comes from our ability to do the unexpected.
We can paint a beautiful flower and suddenly put a big red “X” over it for no reason. We are random and sometimes crazy. That’s what being creative is all about. We are totally illogical, as Star Trek’s Spock might say.
Until a computer can laugh when someone trips and falls in the mud, we have nothing to worry about.
AI is about automation, and frankly, only as good as the human programming the variables. It’s a true yin and yang; processes vs. the process.
Let’s end with this statement from an IBM.com article made by Jason Toy, CEO of Somatic, a thought leader in the world intersecting AI, deep learning, and creativity :
“Can we take what humans think is beautiful and creative and try to put that into an algorithm? I don’t think it’s going to be possible for quite a while.”

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