When I hear about creativity in relation to artificial intelligence the position of those who defend humans as unique and unparalleled thinking machines always seems legitimate to me, but at the same time I feel like I am only hearing half the truth.
AI can be a limitation for creativity, witness the flattening of style for some strands, such as fantasy for example, but if the possibilities of the algorithm and input are aimed at pushing the limits of software further and further, then AI can also play an important role within the creative process of design objects and crafts in general. One example is the series of children’s toys by artist Eric von Stein.
Through the Midjourney platform, Eric went in search of a way to amplify his own reference board, to stimulate creativity and explore a love of a passion such as puppets, particularly those from the 1960s. Through 50-70 word descriptions, the artist generated an unthinkable variety of reference products from which to be inspired, toys not real, not present in one’s childhood memories but so complete as to take on the appearance of forgotten memories.
Eric himself came to wonder if all this was not really real, so fundamental to the development of his own creative ideas that he wanted to trust those images.
AI has the seductive power to convince people and creatives that what they see is right, or is the right choice from which to start in von Stein’s case. The images then became a reassurance for the artist at the design stage, a stamp of assurance that those juxtapositions or certain machine choices are even superior to those generated by the human mind.
In addition to the AI works, the artist founded a real craft project called Bright Stripes, a brand of toys that leaves human craftsmanship central to the process.
AI is understood as a tool, inserted at the right time in the design flow, to be trusted and with a creativity that is perhaps not unique, but until now jealously considered the prerogative of the human mind.
Eric von Stein says he wants to help children connect with their own creative side, and the design of such unpredictable and grotesque toys sometimes really wants to break the cleanliness and aesthetic codes that are offered to toddlers in their first years of contact with the outside world.
Technological openness to the masses may in the future increasingly take on the role of inspiration, cataloging reference and spark to spark further creativity that we want to remain hopeful will fail to reach peaks as it does when man-made.