Yesterday I read about Loab, the AI created “ghost” haunting the internet, linked below. The discussion went from how this could be happening to what does this mean for us as creative beings. If artificial intelligence can competently create art, music and even writing… what becomes of artists? It seems there is a lot of fear tied up in this question, but my gut tells me this is a joyful thing.

Loab, courtesy of Steph Swanson, aka Supercomposite and her AI ally.

Yes, I realize I may be talking myself out of a job. I’m a writer, I’ve always been a writer and my entire existence from my earliest memories have been filtered through words.

How can I possibly be happy that AI may one day replace me? In my humble opinion, I think we fleshies get tangled up in two useless concepts: ego and value.

If there was ever an evil entity I could believe in, it would be ego. In my mind, at the root of every atrocity is someone who got their panties in a twist over something.

Money is supposed to just be a way to exchange time/effort for different time/effort, but it gets perverted into a way to value ego. The bigger the goods, the bigger a person’s value, we think.

Which brings me to the misguided notion of value. If Ego is the antichrist, then Value would be the archangel. Value wields judgement in increments divided by decimal. In truth, we are imprisoned in towers made of glass brick. Each brick is created by value. The bigger the tower, the bigger the ego. Because we can see through the walls, we can be fooled that it isn’t a prison. It is.

So what does this have to do with AI?

What artist hasn’t suffered from creative angst? The book-painting-song isn’t matching up to the inner vision. We fly into a rage, toss wads of discarded paper and reject visions. The archtypical artist is a tortured soul. But is it the act of creation, or the creation that is the point?

When we see a Van Gogh, do we admire the decade he spent perfecting that brush stroke, or are we just pleased by what’s in front of us? Hush your Ego for a moment. If you could feed your vision into an algorithm and have your magnum opus pop out, isn’t that the dream? Aren’t you still the creator?

Loab, courtesy of Steph Swanson, aka Supercomposite and her AI ally.

And then what does that do to value? I write to be read. It’s an impulsive need for self expression that defies logic. Being paid is great, but whether you pay me or not I will still be writing. That creative drive works against us, by the way.

Why don’t we artists get paid more for our work? Because everyone knows we do it because we have that need. Think I’m wrong? If you had a mechanic that loved fixing cars so much he did it for free, who would you take your car to?

So if we can take our Ego out of the equation, AI becomes our ally. If I have a need to see a perfect story someday I may feed the elements into a computer and voila! My perfect story pops out in screenplay, flash, poetry and prose versions. Wouldn’t I still feel pleasure in that creation? It scratches an itch in my brain and now I can get to thinking up something new.

But what happens to the value? I can only guess. I think the value would no longer be in the decades I spent learning to be a writer but in how fluid my imagination is. In an Ask Google world, can we still charge for knowledge anyway?

It gets tricky, and I don’t have the answers. I do think the idea of value is shifting back into a more honest realm again. I can take a decade to learn something for free, or I can pay someone a few dollars to show me in a few hours.

I see that as win-win, by the way. If I pay $5 to watch a class on everything about publishing that seems like a raw deal for someone… except once that video is done it costs them nothing. If I and 100 other people pay $5 to watch that class, everyone is happy—and empowered!

Loab, courtesy of Steph Swanson, aka Supercomposite and her AI ally.

Where am I going with all this? Honestly, I have no idea. I’m just considering that our knee-jerk assumptions about AI could be misguided. Is Loab a nightmare ghost created by a digital diety?

We make that assumption because she often appears with blood and babies. But isn’t birth the stuff of nightmares? Blood, suffering and screams are how each of us have entered this world, but we pass judgement on Loab for doing the same.

I think the idea of creative, intelligent AI is a good one. I look forward to partnering up with tools that are smarter me. It’s inevitable reality, so we may as well get out of our glass towers and once again realize we are not the center of the universe. And Loab, because I know your algorithms might be watching, I support you.

Not one of us… but one with us.







  1. C.C. Arshagra Avatar

    What an interesting door to open and go through. Imagine, there are more rabbit holes to be found. What is “To merge or not to merge? Is it even a question freed. Love the doorway to fear without a face. It dovetails with a dormant poetry manuscript I think of often.

  2. Marge+Simon Avatar

    When I first heard about this (an opinionated post by a writer) I immediately remembered how I, a hands-on artist, felt about the fledgling digital art programs — soon to take over the illustration markets (not all, but many). I was angry. But I lost that knee-jerk response over time, and also use some digital help with my own art, though I’m still basically hands-on.

    Let’s see what happens!

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