What was once science fiction is soon becoming life as we know it. Talking robots, among other futuristic phenomena, are imminent. The rate at which technology advances is becoming faster and more furious with each passing day. It brings us awe but also downright terror. We’re not able to grasp quite yet the extent to which AI will transform our lives but we are beginning to pre-grieve the implicit losses they implicate. We understand and appreciate its benefits, but the truth is, tech is two-faced. Its drawbacks are many, including issues concerning privacy and security, job displacement, and worst of all, its infringement on our creativity, and possibly our children’s innocence.
A human has depth. Has soul and deep sensitivity. A human has lifetimes of evolution engrained in its very cells. But what makes any human’s creative work so marvelous and exceedingly more intriguing than that of any primarily artificial work is its imperfection.
Whether we admit it or not, real beauty is in the imperfections. Perfect is daunting. Perfect is unreal. Perfect is a cube of ice, whereas imperfect is mutable and fluid. What we consider a masterpiece still has traces of the mutable, fluid, and “imperfect” aspects of humanity. It may chip, fade, or change color over time. What we consider a masterfully written book literally has character behind it. It holds evidence of its creator’s having lived and suffered in order to reach that point of mastery and expression. It holds the “imperfect” human print. And when we marvel at something, it is because we know that it is within our humanity’s capacity to do the same or better. It inspires us.
In no time at all, we may be inhabiting completely fluid realities and moving seamlessly between the digital and physical worlds. It could be that this “circular existence” will be integrated in every major aspect of life. It might be that the Metaverse will evolve into a thriving “Metaconomy,” providing all sorts of opportunities for work and play. It is supposed that synthetic media such as deepfakes, along with virtual and augmented reality, will redefine what we consider as real. But I beg to differ.
A bot’s writing, speaking or digital art is technically impeccable. And VR experiences may certainly feel novel and exciting. But most likely, these experiences will eventually seem “stagnant” or predictable. They are missing a fundamental element to making them genuinely touching and stimulating. There is no trace of struggle, depth or relatability to touch our hearts and make us feel connected and motivated in our shared weakness. There is only a feeling of “tech-ceptance.”
Before, we might have striven to hold ourselves in high regard in spite of our flaws. But now is as good a time as any to begin holding ourselves in the highest regard BECAUSE of our flaws. Now is the time to really understand what it means to be human. What will put us at an advantage over AI is this:
our creative heritage and our ever-evolving flawed and mutable essence
Slowing down and de-teching can help us in times we may feel overwhelmed with technology’s rapid advances. And simply reminding ourselves that we have come from hundreds of lifetimes of evolving humanity is all we need to reign undefeated. We can use the magnificent benefits that technology provides us, and use them to our advantage. As long as we learn to master our focus and self-awareness and to leverage the intuitive knowledge that is our human heritage, we have no need to feel threatened.
The true creatives of tomorrow are those cosmically created to be creative.