What Now? AI, Episode 4: AI and Creativity

The creative industry is poised to be forever changed by artificial intelligence. 

Writing tools like ChatGPT and image generators like Midjourney and DALL-E have exploded into the mainstream. Adobe built its own version of generative AI technology for its creative suites and OpenAI announced its text-to-video model, Sora.  

What impact will these tools and models have on the creative process? How will they change the role of an artist?  

In the fourth episode of What Now? AI, hosts Beth Coleman and Rahul Krishnan dive into these questions with AI researchers Sanja Fidler of the University of Toronto and Nick Frosst, who co-founded the startup Cohere.

Listen to episode four on  Apple, Spotify, SoundCloud, iHeartRadio and Amazon. Watch episode four on YouTube.  

Fidler, the vice president of AI research at NVIDIA and an associate professor of mathematical and computational sciences at U of T Mississauga, says that while AI technology is still in its early stage, it has the potential to provide artists with more adaptability and creative control.   

“When artists see these methods like text-to-x, text-to-image or text-to-video, I feel that they have pushback because now there is only text that allows you to control the content,” says Fidler, an affiliate faculty member at the Vector Institute, which she co-founded.  

“I think artists do want to have this iterative creative control. They have some idea in their head, and they have all these tools that allowed them to go from that idea into the final product. We want to do the same thing with AI as well.” 

Frosst, who sings in the band Good Kid, says he doesn’t use large language models to help him write songs – only to help analyze lyrics and themes.  

“I’m not really looking to optimize my artistic expression,” says Frosst, who completed his undergraduate degree in computer science and cognitive science at U of T.  

“I don’t really want to write a new Good Kid song and be less involved. I want to be more involved.”  

Frosst believes AI will change the way art is created, but not to the point where people aren’t interested in the artists who are making it.  

“We want to know who made it, and that’s mostly what’s enjoyable about it.”  

About the hosts: 

Beth Coleman is an associate professor at U of T Mississauga’s Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology and the Faculty of Information. She is also a research lead on AI policy and praxis at the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society. Coleman authored Reality Was Whatever Happened: Octavia Butler AI and Other Possible Worlds using art and generative AI. 

Rahul Krishnan is an assistant professor in U of T’s department of computer science in the Faculty of Arts & Science and department of laboratory medicine and pathobiology in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine. He is a Canada CIFAR Chair at the Vector Institute, a faculty affiliate at the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society and a faculty member at the Temerty Centre for AI Research and Education in Medicine (T-CAIREM)