Sousa and AI: Should we be worried about consumer-only culture?

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk

Chat GPT prompt: Write a 250-word blog post about AI’s ability to remix and the possibility of consumer only culture using ideas from Kirby Ferguson’s “Everything is a Remix”

“In Kirby Ferguson’s thought-provoking series “Everything is a Remix,” he unravels the idea that creativity thrives on the foundation of existing concepts and art. This concept, fundamentally human, is now taking an intriguing turn with the rise of AI, leading us to ponder the emergence of a consumer-only culture.

Ferguson’s theory underscores the remixing process that has driven creativity throughout history. Artists and innovators have consistently built upon existing ideas, reinterpreting, combining, and reshaping them to craft something fresh and exciting. Today, AI is joining the creative process, raising questions about the future of human creativity.

AI, particularly language models like GPT-3, are the ultimate remixers. They have ingested vast datasets representing human knowledge and language, enabling them to remix and generate content that appears creative and original. These AI-driven creations can be informative, entertaining, and even artistic.

However, the consumer-only culture that AI enables is a fascinating yet complex development. AI can generate content that consumers appreciate and enjoy. It can remix information, answer questions, and provide recommendations. This trend might eventually lead to a scenario where AI becomes the primary source of content, tailored to individual preferences.

But we should ponder the implications. Will this mark a shift away from human-driven creativity, pushing humans into a more passive, consuming role? The challenge lies in balancing AI’s role as a creative tool with the preservation of human creative expression. AI can aid and inspire, but it cannot replace the depth of human experiences, emotions, and perspectives that are at the heart of true creativity.

In conclusion, Kirby Ferguson’s “Everything is a Remix” provides a lens through which we can view the transformative role of AI in creativity. While AI is becoming a powerful tool for content creation and recommendations, it should complement, not supplant, human creativity. As consumers, we should celebrate the remix culture while nurturing and cherishing the uniquely human aspects of creativity.”

My response:

Watching Kirby Ferguson’s video “Everything is a Remix” really made me think about how John Phillips Sousa, who was mentioned in Lessig’s “Cultures of Our Past,” might react to the rise of AI in art and other capacities. I thought it would be interesting to get an “AI perspective” on this topic, which is why I did the ChatGPT first, me second format for this blog.

                Kirby Ferguson says in his video that “remixing allows us to be more creative,” and I think that this is an argument that Sousa might have agreed with. He promoted the idea of amateur musicians, so he might have promoted the idea of other amateurs through remixes as well. However, it also seems that he would not have promoted the rise of artificial intelligence and the prominence of ChatGPT within society, especially because he was opposed to the consumer-only culture that he thought phonographs and other music recording devices would lead to.

                Should we be worried about the rise of artificial intelligence and its ability to remix? At the beginning of class, we talked about the ability of ChatGPT to create these remixes, such as writing a particular novel in the style of the Constitution. This is fun to us because we know that we can also create something like it. But what if we no longer take the time to make these remixes because a machine can do it for us? I think that Sousa might take a similar stance on this idea.

                However, I do agree with what ChatGPT wrote about lived experience and human emotion. Ferguson said in his video, “art and creativity are bound to living, to feeling. Art is the voice of a person.” (1:00:40). I think that we don’t need to worry about consumer-only culture or AI taking over art completely. Humans will continue to remix and create as well.

One response to “Sousa and AI: Should we be worried about consumer-only culture?”

  1. Brian Croxall Avatar

    I wonder how Sousa would feel about the rise of AI. Are we only consumers if we are creating the prompts that the AI uses? It’s certainly not the same as making the sketch ourselves, but it does give us a chance to be creative in new ways, right?

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