ChatGPT, Culture and Creativity
simulacrum and alterity

Alan Dix

Professorial Fellow, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Wales, UK
Director of the Computational Foundry, Swansea University, Wales, UK

Keynote at JRL Creative AI Research Conference 2023, 26 June 2023.

Download full notes of talks (PDF, 3.9M)

Over the years many of the ‘red lines’ of artificial intelligence have been crossed: challenges that were deemed to require uniquely human understanding. In 1997, chess fell as Deep Blue defeated Kasparov; then, twenty years later, AlphaGo beat Ke Jie, the world’s top Go player. Arguably, game playing can be considered artificial and formal, not representing the rich nuanced nature of human intelligence embodied in the real world. However, large language models have challenged these assumptions producing dialogue and texts that appear human – passing the Turing test . Furthermore, the text, and poems generated by ChatGPT and images created by DALL-E appear almost creative.

Has the last bastion fallen or is it merely the babbling of ‘stochastic parrots’? Is AI the ultimate charlatan peddling plagiarism or instead the child’s cry that reveals the emperor’s cloths of human creativity are sham? And what does it mean to be creative anyway?

I will attempt, if not to answer these deep questions, at least lay down some pointers. We will test the limits of the myth of the individual innate genius with inspiration gifted by the muses; and explore the way creativity is always embodied in culture and technology. Yet, while artists and philosophers debate, the child draws on.

Alan Dix 20/06/2023