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Generative AI and its impact on thought generation and human creativity

As the debate surrounding AI intensifies, we often focus on its implications for privacy, bias, ethics, and employment. Yet, what if the profound impact of this technology extends to the very model through which our brains generate new ideas?

Generative AI has emerged as a valuable tool for conceptual work across various fields, including journalism, literature, advertising, and art. Many creatives have encountered the dreaded "writer's block" or "blank page syndrome," and AI offers a promising solution by unlocking ideas and streamlining task execution. However, the human brain's interactions with the external world are far from simple input-processing-output processes due to its adaptive nature.

Neuroscience reveals that the brain's plasticity enables it to modify existing neural connections, allowing for the development of new responses to stimuli and interpretations of the external environment. This adaptability is accompanied by conditioning phenomena, which serve as computational shortcuts for automatic responses to specific events. The method forms the basis of idea generation, as no creative individual operates without it. Even musical improvisation relies on applying a method to transform chaos into creation.

But what happens when an adaptive brain is exposed to generative AI over an extended period? Are we certain that such exposure does not induce conditioning phenomena that impact the model of thought generation, thereby altering natural creative capacity? While one may argue that no creature exists in isolation from external stimuli, and adaptation itself entails conditioning, the crucial distinction lies in the nature of these stimuli.

Natural stimuli from real-world interactions occur in an environment characterized by constant change. Conversely, exposure to generative AI entails stimuli curated by researchers for training purposes, creating a potentially synthetic representation of the universe. This contrasts with the dynamic and diverse stimuli encountered in natural environments.

Moreover, our inability to define intelligence and creativity universally complicates matters. Existing definitions are often anthropocentric, reflecting human biases. Tests designed to measure these traits are inherently imperfect and may fail to capture the nuances of intelligence and creativity.

The rise of AI has further exacerbated this issue, with AI systems surpassing human performance on creativity tests. This phenomenon raises questions about the fundamental nature of intelligence and creativity, particularly when AI's responses are based on synthesized data rather than genuine exposure to diverse stimuli.

If correct, this hypothesis suggests that addressing biases in AI may be simpler than tackling the profound effects it has on human cognition and creativity. As we navigate the evolving landscape of AI, it is imperative to consider not only its technical capabilities but also its potential impact on our most cherished human faculties.

Article source: Linkedin Article by Vincenzo Gioia

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Vincenzo Gioia
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