Research Seminar – Avery Slater: “A. I. and Creativity” (Online Event)
February 10 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
This chapter highlights historic and contemporary efforts to engineer artificial intelligence (AI) capable of producing artifacts previously associated with the creative arts. While creativity and artistic origination have historically been tied to art’s social value, AI art has recently begun to sell for high prices, and the promise of automating artistic production heralds new sectors of economic profit. Yet AI creativity also highlights the changing status of human innovation, origination, and newness in ways that deserve careful thought. The chapter then explores how future research in the field of computational creativity might benefit from a more robust appreciation for the uniquely nonhuman qualities of AI’s creativity, rather than its ability to imitate the human. AI’s exponentially intensifying capabilities raise meaningful and urgent questions of how to relate to a technology that, in many meaningful senses, invents itself. As automation, origination, and creativity cross-pollinate in unknowable ways, an intelligence both truly other and yet still conversant with human categories emerges. Thinking from the perspective of the humanities can help one negotiate this unprecedented challenge.
Avery Slater is Assistant Professor in the University of Toronto Department of English, and a faculty affiliate with the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society. Her research and teaching focuses on twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature in a global context, with special emphasis on the history and theory of computation. She has recently completed her first monograph (Apparatus Poetics) on late modernism and the rise of computation in the postwar period. Her second book project is concerned with artificial intelligence and the ethics of personhood. With Rebecca Woods and Scott Richmond, she co-organizes a JHI Working Group (“Planetary Resistance”) on the topic of climate change and computation.