OPINION | AI should be used for busywork, not creativity

Syllabus week surprised me with a new manmade horror beyond my comprehension. I never would have guessed that during my college career, instructors would be listing their limits for the use of Artificial Intelligence/Chat GPT alongside their late work grading policies. 

I swear to God that I’m not an archaic person. I know how important it is to learn to embrace the evolution of technology, whether I like it or not. I just didn’t anticipate how soon AI would be used for practical matters here. When four out of five of my classes’ syllabi mentioned guidelines for using AI, it was a reality check. 

I have general anxiety about AI’s potential to get out of hand. I love science fiction and am fascinated by how the mere imaginings of sci-fi writers become everyday items in our world. Because of science fiction, I am also all too familiar with how easily humanity loses control of innovation because of the potential it holds. 

At this point there is no turning back, because AI is going to become an increasingly relevant part of our lives. As an aspiring journalist, I frequently hear from friends and family about how eventually all writing will be done by AI, and that’s exactly the problem. Why is AI being used in place of human creativity? 

When my instructors each explained their various principles regarding the use of AI and Chat GPT, the common thread for more progressive thinkers was that it was allowed to generate ideas and brainstorm. Some instructors were even open to the use of writing from Chat GPT, if it was cited the way any other source would be. 

As a creative person, I know well that inspiration comes from everywhere. A good artist is always looking for new things to provoke creativity, and AI could be extremely useful in helping brainstorm creative ideas.  However, there is also a great probability that the use of AI could become a crutch to people who have great ability to create, but very little ambition to think up something of their own.  

AI should be used to automate tasks that prevent humans from other valuable pursuits. This also brings up losing jobs to automation, which is another important consideration, but for another day. AI represents a real chance to free human beings from the mundane drudgery of daily life. Instead, what I’ve seen AI used for the most is creating art in all forms, which speaks to the very importance of art to humanity.  

I love art history and have studied it enough to know that creating will always be important, too important to lose. I don’t fear that art will die with the increased use of AI, but I do fear that it will be much harder to create when there is a force as powerful as AI that can create without humanity. There are so many ways we could better our lives with AI, but making artistic passion second-best to unfeeling automation is not one of them.

AI software called ChatGPT that will write any article with any prompt. Photo by Lexi Petri.