Technology has the means to enhance a person’s creative ability, but this is subject to controversy. Tools like the latest digital stylus, architectural software, and 3D scanners can expand an artist’s range. But AI and the emergence of AI tools emergence has endangered commercial artist jobs such as designing book and album covers. Are these the beginnings of technology limiting creativity? The answer is No, but there are nuances and disclaimers to consider.
Historically, innovative and new technologies have enhanced creativity, with tools like the Apple Macintosh facilitating creative impulses. Moreover, voice-to-text has enabled disabled writers to work independently without needing a transcriber to bring their ideas to the page.
3D printers have allowed some artists to turn their designs into three-dimensional objects. But with AI now creating art with text-to-image tools like Stable diffusion and Mid journey, there is fear that technology may threaten human creativity. In this article, you will learn why technology is not limiting creativity but can help humans enhance their creative abilities.
How is Technology a Threat to Human Creativity?
Every generation fears that children are becoming less creative, intelligent, and lazy because of technology. When the radio arrived, doomsday predictions emerged of children no longer reading and being distracted. Similar fears have been expressed about TV, email, and computer games.
Yet the horror this technology was foreseen to bring rarely seemed to materialize. After all, the printing press was supposed to lead to an overwhelmed and confused populace with the same fears now expressed by the internet.
What Is The Impact Of Technology On Creativity?
Technology has aided creativity, especially in the realm of collaboration. For example, writers and editors can be dispersed worldwide yet still work on a project together in real-time to generate new creative ideas. People also inspire each other and collaborate thanks to social media connections and platforms.
Technological advances have also widened the pool of artists. For example, disabled people who are left out of the creative pool can tap into creative expression and utilize technology to help bring their ideas to life.
Despite the positive impacts of technology on human creativity, our attitudes towards technology appear negatively skewed. In 2021, researchers published a paper, Thinking Skills, and Creativity, looking at how technology impacted the classroom. They found that teachers’ beliefs about technology heavily dictated how they implemented technology to foster creativity in their classrooms.
Examples Of Technology In Creativity
3D scanning has greatly impacted creativity, with its reach visible in the film, automotive, and architectural industries. For instance, animation was one of the first creative industries to embrace digital scanners. Rather than make drawings or plaster casts of humans, they could scan them to create characters that moved realistically.
Technology has also made it easier for the disabled community to bring their creative ideas to reality. For example, the pressure and weight of many artists’ tools can cause strain or make it impossible for people with certain chronic conditions to create. However, a stylus is lightweight; it can require little pressure, enabling a disabled person to draw, paint, and design.
Is Technology A Real Threat To Creativity?
Technology does come at a cost. For example, the printing press threatened the jobs of professional scribes. However, the Ottoman shunning of the printing press out of love for the artistry of hand-written books still has scholars arguing if this was why the empire lost power.
But technology can reduce the number of people required for a creative endeavor. For instance, in 2019, the US Labor Department dropped “printer” and “screen printer” from their official job listings. As a result, an entire industry has vanished, and people primarily rely on home devices or send their cards and brochures digitally.
While no civilization or industry wants to get left behind, there is also a human cost to progress. The question is whether another creative opportunity is emerging to compensate for the loss. This scenario is central to the debate about AI, which apparently can replace human artistry.
Creative jobs are already being lost in book and album cover design. However, others argue that AI will expand creativity, allowing people who lack specific skills to bring their imaginations to life.
How Is Technology Limiting Creativity?
Historically, the main arguments against technology limiting creativity are:
- It distracts artists, and they lose focus and waste time
- Increases in copying and plagiarism
- Promotes unoriginality (so not copying, but new material recycling old ideas)
- Creates dependency on technology
- Inhibits creative thinking
- Puts artists out of work, so they have to get jobs that leave no time for creativity
Regarding AI, the arguments are that AI is using people’s work to put them out of a job. For example, Grzegorz Rutkowski’s work as a gaming illustrator has already been used by AI to generate new “Rutkowski” images, negating the need for people to hire him to “own” original pieces in his style.
How Does Technology Help With Creativity
Modern technology can and does help with creativity and collaboration. For example, people who live in remote areas, can’t work in an office, or don’t leave the house much due to disabilities or obligations can now enter the greater sphere thanks to technology.
How AI Can Make You A Better Writer
AI helps writers by suggesting tone and correcting spelling, grammar, and usage. AI tools like writing software also promote creativity and trigger the creative thought of writers by offering inbuilt features that present options and ideas for content creation.
Tools Like Frase.io and Write Sonic can create article outlines and generate headings that use best practices in copywriting principles.
For example, dyslexic writers have long benefited from using computers and programs that change fonts and sizes, adjust line spacing, and use spelling and grammar checkers. But creative AI tools have increased accuracy and helpfulness.
AI For Designers and Artists To Inspire Creativity
AI has helped artists transition their existing work into a new style. For example, a modern science fiction piece can be put into an AI to give it a Renaissance vibe, causing a startling contrast between theme and style.
AI also allows people with ideas who need more skill to execute their ideas to make their vision a reality without hiring or collaborating with another person.
For example, a writer with a graphic novel idea might be able to write the story but would need a visual artist or designer with creative talent to create the artwork. Using AI, the writer could do the entire project independently rather than work with a graphic artist.
This scenario suggests that technology is a tool for enhancing creativity. However, we consider that humans are supposed to be interdependent. In that case, where a writer would commission an artist’s work, this commission would now be handed off to AI.
What is also concerning is that AI will soon be able to replace the graphic novel’s writer, eliminating the need for professional writers.
The Effects Of Technology On Our Creative Minds
Technology can positively and negatively impact our human creative pursuits. It all depends on how technology is used and regulated.
Positive Effects Of Technology On Creativity
One of technology’s most significant positive effects is broadening the creative landscape. For example, non-speaking Autistic voices have often been overlooked. However, technological advances, including social media platforms, have allowed non-speaking autistics to be heard and seen.
Take poet Amy Sequenzia, who is non-speaking and autistic. After learning to type, she discovered her writing talent. Technology has allowed her to become an artist and advocate.
Due to costs and overcrowding, virtual reality has enabled people with limited physical space to create large-scale 3D art. In addition, Virtual reality 3D art can also allow 3D creations to defy the laws of physics.
Negative Effects Of Technology On Creativity
In addition, while technology can be a source of inspiration and collaboration, it can also be distracting. Consequently, there is a growing awareness that, while technology tools can be beneficial, they must be managed.
Another negative impact of technology on creativity is reducing artists’ income. When it becomes impossible for talented individuals with their skills to make a living, art becomes a privilege only for the wealthy. Such an occurrence means losing perspectives and voices, creating a narrow worldview in the greater populace.
Will Modern Technology Steal Our Creativity?
Arguments about whether technology will steal our creativity are no longer hypothetical. AI tools such as DALL-E, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion were not created in a vacuum. They were developed using the input of thousands of artists, many of whom are still living. These tools highlight how tech companies are driving change in the world through innovations and paradigm shifts.
The move has evoked articles such as AI Is Coming For Commercial Art Jobs in Forbes, published in September 2022. As mentioned earlier, artist Rutkowski already sees a negative impact from AIs using his work to create new images seemingly made by him that are not.
Supporting detractors are instances where AIs have added company watermarks or artists’ digital signatures to their works. In short, so much copyrighted work was used to teach the AI that the AI thinks that replicating a watermark is art.
Actors and other famous people are also alarmed that their images could be used in films they did not agree to be in. But there is evidence that this has already happened in the adult film industry. Thus, discussions of how to stop such misuse come after the fact.
Will Technology Be Better At Creating Than Humans?
Proponents of AI-generated art claim that AI is worthless without human involvement. Adding that achieving nuance and originality through an AI requires human time and input. In short: it is a collaboration between an AI and a person. Moreover, the creative process usually starts with a human artist inputting their own ideas. in the form of a prompt into the AI.
However, just as the printing press was faster than the scribes, the AI generators sped up the creative process. Thus, while a person making cover designs for books, magazines, and albums via an AI generator may still have to spend time, they can still produce more “art” than someone using non-AI tools.
As we’ve witnessed in manufacturing, consumers readily swap craftsmanship in furniture and textiles for cheaper, mass-produced items. So even if AIs cannot produce the nuance and quality of art in films, books, and images, the greater populace might not care because they have access to more variety.
Promoting Lazy Communication and stifling Collaborative Creativity
Critics raise concerns about how modern technology promotes lazy communication with the ease of instant messaging and social media platforms. They argue that this could lead to a decline in face-to-face interactions and impede the organic exchange of creative ideas.
However, others contend that technology can also facilitate collaboration and connection among creatives worldwide, enabling the cross-pollination of diverse perspectives and fostering new avenues for creative growth.
Summary: Is Technology Killing Creativity? Yes or No?
The discourse on whether modern technology is killing creativity is a complex question. It can both enhance creativity and kill it. Unfortunately, just as technology can broaden the artistic table, it can smash it to smithereens.
The current trend presents a narrative that favors AIs taking over creative roles in our society. Not only do AIs need fewer people to generate creative solutions, but they also don’t require sleep or days off for vacation or illness.
History is also on the side of technology. Many of the same arguments against AI in art are the same ones that were made against the printing press and radio. Proponents say humans will still have to be more creative work than ever when using AIs; we must adapt how we make art.
Nonetheless, ethical issues are plentiful. Until an AI can truly create independently, it is using people’s work to put them out of work. So, technology is not killing creativity.
Finally, technology has a history of putting artists out of work while creating new opportunities. Time will tell if this is true as AI imposes its presence in the creative visual and literary landscape. The task for humans and technology will be finding the fine line between being open to new artistic opportunities without stifling the human creative spirit.
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