Synergy between human creativity and artificial intelligence: a new horizon for collaboration

October 30, 2023 3 min read

In the collective imagination, artificial intelligence (AI) is often seen as a cold and calculating force, in stark contrast to warm and unpredictable human creativity. But what if these two seemingly opposite entities could not only coexist, but thrive together? The recent case study “Artificial Intelligence & Creativity, a Manifesto for Collaboration” gives us a revolutionary view of this emerging symbiosis through a detailed overview of how these two forces can coexist and thrive in a symbiosis that could redefine the future of creativity and innovation.

Imagine a painter in front of a blank canvas. His hand is steady, the brush motionless. He is frozen. Now imagine that a voice, coming from a device next to him, suggests, “Why don’t you try a sunset sky as a background, but with the light reversed, as Magritte would have done?” The painter smiles, inspiration has arrived. This voice is not that of another artist, but of an AI algorithm designed to stimulate creativity. Contrary to the popular belief that sees AI as a threat to human creativity and employment, the case study shows us that AI can be an extension of our creativity. It can free us from mechanical and repetitive tasks, allowing us to focus on what we do best: creating. In fact, AI can generate a large number of proposals in record time, providing those who are doing the creative work with a range of options from which to choose. In the world of writing, for example, an AI algorithm can generate several drafts of a story in a matter of minutes, providing the writer with a variety of plots and characters to choose from. The human being remains at the center of the creative process, defining the problem and evaluating the quality of the solutions proposed by the AI. This model of collaboration is in line with academic theories such as the Campbell-Simonton Blind Variation and Selective Retention (BVSR) model, which sees AI as a generator of blind variations and the human being as the selector of the most valuable ideas. Another example of collaboration is the story of “Rootport,” an anonymous human author who created the first manga generated by collaborative work between himself and Midjourney. This example demonstrates how AI can act as a powerful support tool, accelerating the creative process and providing new perspectives. But it is also a reminder that despite its capabilities, AI is not an independent creator, but rather a collaborative creative agent. Looking at the future from this perspective, the case study proposes four possible scenarios: co-cre-AI-tion,” “Organic,” “Plagiarism 3.0,” and “Shut Down.” Each of these scenarios shows us a different future – from a fruitful collaboration between humans and AI to a world in which AI outperforms and replaces human creativity with less-than-desirable consequences – and serves as a warning and guide for navigating the complicated landscape of the interaction between artificial intelligence and human creativity.

In the context of the case study, these scenarios were further enriched and contextualized through the idea of bringing to life a manifesto, generated with the support of ChatGPT-4, that explores the complex relationship between AI and creativity from the perspective of Artificial Intelligence. The manifesto, called “Co-cre-AI-tive Vision,” represents, therefore, an attempt to activate AI just like a collaborator in the creative process. One of the most interesting peculiarities of the response provided by the algorithm, which was given a “prompt” – that is, a request in natural language to perform a specific task – by the researchers, is the use of the first person, which represents a signal of how it is possible for AI to go beyond the role of a mere tool and seek to become a full-fledged collaborator in the creative process. This approach challenges traditional definitions and expectations regarding the role of AI in human creative production and opens the door to new ways of interaction and collaboration between people and machines.

Of course, the integration of AI into the creative domain is not without its challenges. While AI can serve as a powerful amplifier of human capabilities, ethical and philosophical issues also emerge that need to be addressed carefully. For example, who owns the intellectual property of a work of art generated by an algorithm? And what happens if an algorithm creates something harmful or ethically questionable? To address these and other questions, the manifesto proposes four fundamental laws for generative AI. These laws emphasize ethical use, collaboration, and transparency and serve as a starting point for further discussion and research. By adopting these guidelines and promoting the development of useful standards to ensure responsible use of AI, it is possible to work toward a future in which humans and AI coexist harmoniously, enriching the creative landscape for all.

In conclusion, the case study offers a fascinating and provocative vision of the future of human creativity in a world increasingly influenced by artificial intelligence. The manifesto, generated by collaborating with ChatGPT-4, represents a turning point in our understanding of the relationship between AI and human creativity, showing us a future in which these two forces thrive together, in part by defining the ethical and regulatory tools essential to navigating this complex future. 

This article is based on
Artificial Intelligence & Creativity, a Manifesto for Collaboration
The Journal of Creative Behavior
Florent Vinchon, Todd Lubart, Sabrina Bartolotta, Valentin Gironnay, Marion Botella, Samira Bourgeois-Bougrine, Jean-Marie Burkhardt, Nathalie Bonnardel, Giovanni Emanuele Corazza, Vlad Glăveanu, Michael Hanchett Hanson, Zorana Ivcevic, Maciej Karwowski, James C. Kaufman, Takeshi Okada, Roni Reiter-Palmon, Andrea Gaggioli