Jake LaCaze

At what point does AI rob us of our style?

As we rely more on AI, aren’t we at risk of sounding just like everyone else?

The prophets of AI continue to promise their favored tech will make our lives easier. Thanks to AI, more of the things we want are only a click or a prompt away. You can now inject AI wherever you want, as AI can help you with writing, creating music, and editing images, as just a few examples.

I don’t fault anyone for using these offerings, especially because I have used them in my own way and will continue to do so at different points in my life. But I still have concerns. At what point does technology rob us of originality–and when is that scenario okay, and when is it not?

Should we be concerned about the loss of originality in terms of cold hard facts? We likely don’t care about originality when it comes to complex math–think balance sheets and revenue forecasting. In those cases, the work to get those numbers isn’t the point–deciding what to do with information is the point.

But what about fields we’ve traditionally considered more artistic? Fields like writing, music, and graphic design. In such fields, there’s not so much separation between the process and the end result. So, the process is more largely the point. What you choose to include or exclude may be subjective. These decisions are part of your style, one of the more crucial aspects of art. Number crunching doesn’t leave much room for style. But the arts are all about style.

As we remove ourselves from the creative process and forfeit agency to AI and algorithms, at what point are we enabling the erosion of style?

The prophets of AI will say that AI tools can unlock creativity previously unrealized. Maybe that’s true for a small segment of people. Call me cynical, but I imagine few will put in the time to learn how to improve results from prompts. Most will put in minimum effort and take whatever AI gives them, leading to an ever-more homogeneous internet. The future is more likely to be less original. The tools meant to empower us will instead make us all the same.

People probably don’t expect numbers to have personality and quirks. But we expect these personal touches from artistic projects.

Art goes beyond having the right answer. Art is also about the habits of the artist–AKA style. Style is the artist’s most-cherished asset. Style is what makes the audience relate to the art and the artist.

As we further integrate AI into art, are we at risk of losing those stamps of authenticity we unknowingly put in our work? Those little hints that remind our audiences that we’re the authors of our own works? And if style is the most valuable thing we have, are we smart to risk losing it?

Jake LaCaze has been been using images generated by DALL-E 2 as cover images on this blog as a joke, but he thinks this one is actually damn good.