Made to Create

It's what we'll always have over machines.

Sean Dorrance Kelly, “A philosopher argues that an AI can’t be an artist,” MIT Technology Review, February 21, 2019.

Kelly insists that creativity is a uniquely human attribute, involving human beings as a society determining what is good for them and why: “Human creative achievement, because of the way it is socially embedded, will not succumb to advances in artificial intelligence. To say otherwise is to misunderstand both what human beings are and what our creativity amounts to.” Machines may generate what looks like a creative product, but they only do so randomly, and not in a way that can be explained and embraced by human beings, and therefore not necessarily for any specific good.

Real creative acts change “our understanding of ourselves” because they change “our understanding of what we count as good. He insists, “Creativity is one of the defining features of human beings. The capacity for genuine creativity, the kind of creativity that updates our understanding of the nature of being, that changes the way we understand what it is to be beautiful or good or true—that capacity is at the ground of what it is to be human. But this kind of creativity depends upon our valuing it, and caring for it, as such.”

To be truly creative a machine would have to be able to explain its creativity to a human being. If we accept machine creativity without understanding it, we cede our humanity to the machine, denigrate ourselves, and consign our future to being slaves of machines. Machines are tools creative humans use to do things and make things the human community regards as good. Kelly argues for a view of humankind as unique among creatures, just as the Scriptures teach.

For an excellent study of the ways creativity works in human lives, read Paul Johnson's, The Creators. Johnson insists that creativity is a quintessentially human activity, because we are made in the image of God, Who is the great Creator. Johnson then illustrates the variety and power of creativity through a diversity of great creators past and present.


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