blogging

Satisfaction with Creative Imperfection and A.I.

It happens a lot.

It’s a default piece of small talk and an opening social gambit.

Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com

When meeting someone new, you are invariably asked:


“And what do you do?”

Our job, or the work we do, comprises part of our identity. When it comes to hobbies or the leisure activities, it is similarly topical to ask such things, when getting to know someone.

I don’t know about you, but many Australians are self-deprecating concerning the value of their hobbies and their proficiency. They’ll answer a question enquiring about their talents or leisure pursuits in a very casual and imprecise way:

Oh – I play a little guitar /I paint a little. Or, I do a bit of fishing/play footy/ride around motorbikes etc.

Satisfaction and Enjoyment

When an archeologist praised a young Kurt Vonnegut for replying that he played musical instruments and was in the school choir and theatre, Kurt responded as most teens do: devaluing his abilities saying he was no good at ANY of them.

The wise archeologist told Kurt something that changed his whole mindset:

I don’t think being good at things is the point of doing them. I think you’ve got all these wonderful experiences with different skills, and that all teaches you things and makes you an interesting person, no matter how well you do them.” [honeycopy.com]

Should we try new activities with the intention of perfecting them? Or simply because they are enjoyable?

Do you give up if you don’t like or cannot do an activity well enough?

Do you lose interest and perhaps move on to something else?

I wonder if we gain satisfaction and fun in the completion of a task/project/creation or during the act of doing/creating that thing?

For me, it depends on the project.

The doing and the completion might both give me satisfaction in different ways. There is a certain amount of exhilaration in completion – a feeling of accomplishment. If it is a really pleasurable activity, there may even be disappointment that it is over.

That being said, those of us with a strong sense of needing to excel at something, need things to be perfect, or they are considered worthless. As blogger Margiran alluded some parents might be apt to do in regards to their children.

If it is your work/hobby, it’s a piece of you, along with all its potential imperfections and individual beauty. If it makes you happy in the doing, where is the problem with anything less than perfect?

Quote on perfection with pattern in the sand

As Margiran posted our hobbies are not meant to be stressful. Enjoy them no matter your skill level.

For it is the act of creating or doing that thing that we grow, learn and make connections in our brain, no matter our age.

Right?

Do you feel enjoyment and an endorphin release upon a sense of creation or productive pursuit or achievement?

Artificial Intelligence and the Creative Arts in the Future

Artificial Intelligence is carving out a new direction in creative pursuits.

Not only can you get a chatbot to write you a blog post, article, story or book, you can generate any kind of image from words (text) using free software through popular apps, such as Canva. Generally it is sub par quality compared to human endeavour.

But in time, will the quality improve?

Will graphic designers, artists and we as writers fade into obscurity in time?

I do hope not.

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73 thoughts on “Satisfaction with Creative Imperfection and A.I.”

  1. I believe I have done. If I prove no good at something, rissoled it, I mean.
    Frogged innumerable crochet projects because of discovering an earlier error.
    However, unlike some people who shall remain nameless [cough !], I am happy to work with the ancient WordPress and not attempt Gutenberg because I do not WANT more stuff done for me. [grin]

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    1. Old habits like using classic wordpress die hard, M.R. I do like Gutenberg though. I love blocks and sometimes wish Word had that function to use with my writing. Copy cut and paste is so old school! Lol.
      Seriously though, A.I. is sooo on trend and everywhere – just in the last week it has exploded. Bit scary…
      As for your perfectionist tendencies, they have served you well- so far.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am rubbish at painting. Most of my canvases get painted over or burned…but it just makes me so goshdarn HAPPY to paint.
    So, I’ll just keep making rubbish paintings….and maybe someday they’ll be less rubbish

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    1. Tastes change and your rubbish paintings may be worth a fortune years later.
      Regardless, if painting makes you happy, keep doing it!
      Expressive art therapy is real! And for sure you are improving with each piece. How could you not?

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  3. Amanda, I love the response to Kurt Vonnegut. That is so true. If you enjoy it and it gives you peace of mind, it matters less if you are not proficient at it. By the way, I love the opening picture of the woman celebrating the “sunflowers and bubbles” which would be neat song title. Keith

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      1. Amanda, maybe we could write new lyrics to the song “Incense and peppermints” using that title. By the way, there is a powerful movie about children taken from the un-wed mothers in England by the Catholic Church and sent to Australia – called “Sunshine and oranges” with Emily Watson. Ver good. Keith

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        1. I am familiar with the history of the Fairbridge and other children sent to Australia but not that movie. I think many of them forged ahead with their lives including David Hill who became head of the ABC, our public broadcaster. Yet so many suffered greatly and didn’t survive and I applaud the exposure of these crimes. Abuse of children under the auspices of religion is despicable.
          Yes let’s write some new lyrics!!!

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          1. Thanks for the background. As for lyrics, here goes, to the tune of “Incense and peppermints:”

            “Sunflowers and bubbles, make my woes go away,
            sunflowers and bubbles, when you want to stay.

            Chorus: Who cares what games we choose?
            When together, we’ve nothin’ to lose”

            Is this in time for the Grammy Awards?
            Keith

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  4. I’m a bit of a perfectionist so I like the things I create (primarily photos) to be as good as I can possibly get them to be. But I accept there are limitations on how good that might be. Some are self-inflicted (I won’t carry loads of lenses or spend more than a certain amount on a camera so the resolution of an image may not be perfect), others I know are things I could work on. I think that’s why I enjoy photo editing because it gives me the chance to add an extra layer of creativity beyond taking the initial shot, and allows me to tweak an image to get it as good as it could be.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I agree with Vonnegut’s archeologist but I think of it as learning, rather than being taught. Learning is an active pursuit and is something we do just by nature of going after new activities and doing them. Creativity though is something else. While skills can be learned, creativity comes from within. I think it’s the creative aspect that’s most appreciated & judged, by ourselves and others. To my mind, the most satisfying ventures (hobbies, work, craft) are those where creativity is tapped & flows.

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    1. … and while AI may enable tasks that can be taught, it’ll be harder for machines to be truly creative. IMO it’s the difference between mimicry, craftmanship and artistry.

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      1. I challenged the canva text to image app to create traditional Norwegian Rosemaling. An I.T. guy was sufficiently intrigued to see if he added more keywords would it get a closer to result. It half worked, but missed critical design points. I could see how it was thrusting elements together but instead of a dynamic flow it ended up as a mish-mash pattern that wasn’t pleasing to the eye. It didn’t understand balance, rhythm, negative space or unity in a design. Much like a beginner that doesn’t understand the concepts but is given a paintbrush. The end result felt contrived. You are right, it’s mimicry not creative artistry.
        So until AI has learned to respond in an organic way, human artists have an edge !!!!

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    2. Hmm. Can one learn to some extent to be creative, Sandy? Can you tap into creative connections and neurotransmitters through being exposed/taught and immersion?
      I never felt creative. I felt I was a copier rather than a creator. But a funny thing happened, the more I immersed myself, looking, studying, drawing and researching art techniques and other artists work, the easier and more abundantly I started to create. I began dreaming of new designs. New ideas flowed when they haven’t before. It took intensive immersion for me to trigger the creativity but eventually it did appear.

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      1. I believe that learning is an ongoing process which begins with mimicry. At some point, if we do it often enough, we start recognising patterns or whatever, start adding our personal stamp and start creating our own versions. In that respect, I agree that creativity is learned.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Excellent summation for how many of us create through learning.
          So will machines be capable of originating material or combining data inputs to create something new, but not completely original? Can we say it is original? Or can artists solely claim the archetypal creative space? I asked my son who is studying machine learning for his PhD. He considers AI generated work not derivative and says the computer’s product is dependent on the prompt and training it is given. Rather than deconstructing an image from its data set, he says it transforms and reveals noise (??) and by doing so reconstructs rather than deconstructs. I asked him about fiction writing and whether machine AI was flawed in writing fiction because it could not predict or imagine how to create an emotional response in the reader. He disputed it saying that if the model had been trained with preceeding words for emotion-provoking phrases, it could produce suspenseful emotion in a fictional text. Mind-blowing! I thought we had an edge!

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          1. When I read this, I immediately thought of the many novels I’ve started but couldn’t finish, because they were so formulaic and derivative. I’m sure you’ll agree that all writing is not GOOD writing, even when written by humans. The same can be said of film, music, paintings … all arts in fact.

            Technology has advanced so much in the last 100, 50, 30, 10 years, I have no doubt that AI can accomplish things I can’t dream about now. However, maybe I’d ask something I always asked R&D prospects when they wanted me to support their research projects for product development. “Yes, you could do that but for what purpose?”

            Maybe it is possible for machines/AI to write fiction but will we read them?

            The answer may still be yes (some people clearly did read the books I couldn’t finish) but then, maybe there’d be more opportunity for GOOD writers to distinguish themselves. I guess I’m optimistic that our human ability to learn and strive for more, will always outpace the technlogy we create. So yes, we do have the edge!

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            1. I am really pleased to hear we do and probably will always have an edge. Your response makes absolute sense. The more formulaic the book, the less interesting. I don’t persist with movies where I can see where the plot goes. That is learning that comes with age, right there! There are people that enjoy a light read/formulaic novel perhaps as it is light escapism and maybe AI has a future in that genre. Human fiction writing may indeed be reserved for landmark literature.
              Blog posts written by AI – “for what purpose,” is a pertinent question!

              Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope not, Tanja. This in a technology in its infancy so I imagine it will get better in time. I imagine theyre will be a lot of controversy in art competitions when A I produced work is submitted by a less skilled artist.

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      1. A machine could do well at imitating my style. Would it be able to make up a story? I suspect it would be better than I think. There might be a few puns and too many exclamation points. No curse words. The grammar would be good. 🤔 Hmm. AI will surprise me.

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        1. Grammar might be improved with AI, yes and those sneaky errors and typos I make when using the phone to respond.
          I am unsure how it would handle fiction stories. That is a good question.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Well said, It is nice to know no matter where you are in the world we are all under the same type of pressures, most of us feel alone in our endeavors but it turns out opening my eyes I see we are not alone.

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  7. In the last couple of weeks I saw many articles about AI and its ability to mimic human creativity. I read many of the articles and while I’m intrigued I also think that humans will still do better than the machines. Of course I’m a human so I may be biased.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think we can provide serendipitous, illogical segways and a little bit of unpredictanle craziness to the equation or task, Ally. I do hope the machines will value that, otherwise we might be doomed!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ah, this is such a great post! I’m a perfectionist, so I struggle with feeling like I have to be an absolute pro in everything I do. There’s definitely a balance between simply wanting to do things well and holding yourself to an impossible standard. What a great topic to think about… Would you mind if I reblogged this post (a quote from the post with a link back to the source)? I’d love to share this with my writing pals!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Please re-blog as you wish. I appreciate you writing and asking. Many don’t. Thanks for adding a pingback to this post too.👍
      You are right, E.J. when you mentioned a balancing act for perfectionists to master. I guess it is worth thinking about your long end game. The race to master a skill is long but even for perfectionists, the competition is truly only with themselves! Long term, we accumulate learning through mistakes or failures and hone our skills. It we concentrate too much on the perfect outcome, we miss the possibilities and serendipitous side track of ideas and thoughts that may come our way through redressing our mistake. I think of the gifted student for whom everything comes easy in primary school or even high school. Eventually they reach a level where they can no longer learn by osmosis, they must begin to study and practice. But they have no idea how to go about that when compared to the lesser student who had learned how to improve on average grades and strategies for learning subject matter. Often the not so gifted students are more organized and have more rounded analytical skills than the gifted student and are less stressed. Others will not see those tiny imperfections you yourself notice.
      Be satisfied you did your best at that moment in time. Appreciate failures for the inherent lessons within.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you Forestwood for this post. Quite agree with you on the differences between, do, like, work and earn a living from a combination of the three. All the best in your life for the coming year. Winter sunshine from Europe.

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  10. I’ve come to realize I’m pretty good at writing – creative and technical – after years of doubting myself. All artistic types doubt their abilities; it ultimately serves as inspiration to continue to improve themselves. As with life in general, I’m still striving to enhance my writing skills.

    I just saw a piece about AI art on TV. One issue they discussed is copyright violation; in that AI has to rely upon a given subject before it produces a result. In AI art, for example, a program has to take into account something that already exists. That means it will copy a piece of art – say, a painting – and convert the details of that image into something else.

    While I can honestly see a place for AI art in the future, I don’t believe computer-generated images will replace the beauty of handmade artwork.

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    1. Excellent point, Alejandro. One could almost say AI art is derivative! I confused the Canva AI app along it to office Norwegian Rosemaling- it tried various things but the best it could come up with was a William Morris style. It is limited by its own data set and couldn’t compute something from scratch. We will have the edge over that!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I think we are often good at what we enjoy, because we do it with passion, and we enjoy what we are good at, because it gives us the thrill of succeeding. But it doesn’t mean you cannot like a challenge or enjoy something you aren’t perfect at. I’ve gone to dance classes most of my life, as a hobby, to get some exercise. But I was never one of those people who were born to dance, that was clear from the start. Still, it didn’t make me enjoy dancing any less, and it was always fun to watch if such a person did happen to show up as a pupil in one of the same classes.

    As for AI, I was just reading and article about content production by AI. It’ll be here any day now. I do some content production, editing and copywriting at work, and it did cross my mind: am I putting myself in a field where I’ll soon be out of work, while retirement ages increase? But then again, the need for content is also on the rise, and I believe you always need to have a human to edit, at the very least.

    But what about us as readers? Will we even know we’re reading something written by a machine? Will there be blogs that we follow and interact with, written by a person that doesn’t exist? Perhaps there already are.

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    1. Fantastic point, Snow that we could be following blogs written by a person that doesn’t exist. I wonder if some of those that re-blog without so much as a how do you do, are AI bots trying to cash in on our popular posts and get a start in the difficult blogging world? I shall be on my guard for those without a clear about page and mark them as spam! Lol.
      I have read about AI used for writing copy but you are quite right – we still need the human factor to check and oversee. Maybe less content jobs but never eliminated completely. Imagine having a staff of bots under you? How weird. At least you wouldn’t have to reprimand them for coming late, hanging out on facebook instead of working? Haha!
      P.S. I do agree with your point about passion being an integral part of whether we enjoy an activity and enjoy our results or level of achievement. Passion can make or break a hobby or interest. It can keep us going in the difficult times where we struggle and motivate us to continue. It can also heighten the experience on those days when we are really pleased with our efforts. Good observation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Astrid. We just went to the coast here. A four hour drive which I can’t really take anymore. My limit is at about an hour. LOL.
        Not really any plans. I am so fed up with France, I might skip this year. I was thinking the US. The North. Chicago, Philly. Too early to say.
        What about you? Any sign of going to Europe?

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Japan sounds nice. I’ve never been. Though I am curious…
            Why fed up? The country is near bankrupt. 40 years of lunatic politics. Public services are really not working any more. There is nobody on the political scene capable of doing something. Paris is dirty, destroyed by the Mayor, and careless bicycles, scooters everywhere. I find it heartbreaking.

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            1. That sounds like a government and country in decline. A dirty city? It is not the only one but one that everyone loves or purports to want to go to… I don’t. Based on your recommendation or lack thereof, I won’t. Therein lies the contrast with Japan. Efficient and neat, tidy and oh so clean.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. There is something called the Paris syndrome. Affects Chinese who come to Paris for the first time. The land of their dreams. And then they are shocked. I suspect those coming from Singapore must have a fit the first time they use the Metro…

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            3. Old and dirty. Some of the trains (many of them) I have seen come into service in 1970 when I started College. Lots of stairs. Very few mechanical stairways. It’s a nightmare with suitcases… Or with a baby cart. And I could go on and on.

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            4. It does. As an example France’s public hospital staff has doubled over the past 20-25 years, yet, the number of beds has declined sharply. GP’s don’t accept new patients, and it may take 6 to 18 months to get an appointment with a specialist…

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