With an NEH grant, a philosopher expands her investigation of AI and creativity

(May 29, 2024)

University of Alabama at Birmingham News

In her second paper on creativity and AI, Brainard raises another question: “Should we still be striving to make our students, or our children, creative?” she said. “We are faced with a dilemma: We must either concede that AI can make human creativity obsolete, or identify some value of human creativity that AI does not appear capable of achieving.”

She will tackle that dilemma in her third and final paper. In her NEH grant proposal, Brainard put it this way: “In light of the ever-increasing productive capacities of contemporary AI, what reasons do humans have to continue to strive for creativity?” The paper “will argue that there are at least four respects in which human creativity is valuable that cannot in principle be achieved by contemporary AI or its nearby descendants.”

The NEH grant will allow Brainard to work on that paper this summer. It will also allow her to travel to the Rome conference, where she will speak on a panel with philosophers studying AI and creative agency. “The panel is part of an effort to make international connections,” Brainard said. “One reason I love conferences is that philosophers have very long Q and A periods; there will be an opportunity to engage with these ideas. Many of my best paper ideas came from someone asking a question during a conference talk.”

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