AI, creativity and the meaning of life
“What Makes Us Human: An Artificial Intelligence Answers Life’s Biggest Questions” is a book ‘co-authored’ by Iain Thomas, a best-selling poet, Jasmine Wang, a renowned researcher and innovator, and GPT-3, the large language model (LLM) currently making the headlines. The writing process involved “steepingW” GPT-3 in humanity’s most cherished books – “from from the Bible and the Tao Te Ching, to the poetry of Rumi and Sappho, to the words of modern-day mystics” – and probing it on some of the most pressing issues regarding our existence.
Iain’s and Jasmine’s account on what they learned from the interaction with their artificially intelligent associate offers a pellucid insight on how AI can be used as an immensely valuable “augmentator” without neglecting its threats. Three ideas stand out:
1. AI is a creativity booster which potential we only very marginally understand – much in the same way as we could have pictured the steam engine propelling a carriage, but still barely imagined the whole industrial revolution.
2. AI is an equaliser that will democratise creativity as it comes within reach of ordinary people.
3. Democratising AI, in turn, also means involving all of society in deciding the kind of world we want to live in – to ”move slowly and fix things” as opposed to the “move fast and break things” paradigm advocated by internet pioneers.
As for the book’s subject, GPT-3 came across in a refreshingly human way with its take on the meaning of life: it’s about love, connections, enjoying the present and accepting what you can’t control.