Behind the enthusiasm for artificial intelligence, many see an opportunity for humans to abandon the most repetitive tasks in favor of more creative functions. It was, not so long ago, the same argument that served us the proponents of the relocation to China, and a century before them, the artisans of the industrial revolution.

But the current automation, that promised by artificial intelligence, will soon also be the automation of our ability to create. At the rate things are going, the creative hideaway may not last long.

Indeed, “intelligent” algorithms are already able to compose sonatas, paint canvases, write articles and novels, much better and much faster than their human counterparts.

Our creative ability is not irreplaceable. The capacity for analysis, imagination and creation of homo sapiens is even rather average, even in some cases mediocre. The dog barks, but the caravan moves on; the robots, meanwhile, multiply their intellectual faculties every 6 months. What it took us millennia to learn collectively will take a few hours, days, or weeks to an algorithm to replicate.

Just recently, Facebook put an end to an experiment when, after a few hours, two artificial intelligences began to communicate with each other using a language that no human could understand. The researchers assure us that there is nothing to fear.

So far, so good…

The creative economy is ultimately a lot of emails.

Several recent studies have focused on the use of time managers and executives, who are generally seen as visionaries, innovators, early creators of the companies they lead. An Accenture survey of 1,700 executives reveals, however, that 24-54% of executives’ time is dedicated to administrative tasks, including up to 25% of the time dedicated solely to e-mail.

Some jobs today are so characterized by this false creativity that the English author David Graber has come to speak of “bullshit jobs”.

For his part, Professor Ashok Goel of Virginia Tech recently raised the question of its own utility. “In spring 2015, during a quarter my students sent me nearly 10,000 emails, about 100 emails a day for a hundred days. I spent almost all my free time there “. Goel analyzed its 10,000 messages, and found that 5 recurring student requests accounted for 42% of the messages received.

So he developed Jill Watson, a fully virtual “teaching assistant”, which allowed him to reduce his virtual workload by as much. What’s more, Miss Watson was so convincing that the majority of students could not detect that it was actually an algorithm and not a human assistant. It was inspired by student responses to formulate new ones, enrich its vocabulary, and assume the aspect of a “human”, able to lure 22 years old students.

In the not-too-distant future, art and creation will be made better – more real, more beautiful, softer for the ears, more striking for our deep humanity – by algorithms than by humans. Emails, obviously, too.

In 2016, the daily The Guardian asked the question: “With robots, is a life without work worth living”? We seek, in vain, the answer. Maybe a robot will provide it to us?

Via Les Affaires

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Author Francis Gosselin

Francis holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Strasbourg. A graduate of HEC Montréal in International affairs, he has worked in numerous administrations in Canada, France and the United States, in the areas of culture and economic development.

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