Aesthetics after the Ontological Turn: An Ecological Approach to Artificial Creativity

First page of the paper

The development of chatbots and other generative systems powered by AI, particularly the latest version of ChatGPT, rekindled many discussions on topics such as intelligence and creativity, even leading some to suggest that we may be undergoing a “fourth narcissistic wound”. Starting from Margaret Boden’s approach to creativity, we will argue that if computational systems have always excelled at combinatorial creativity, current AI systems stand out at exploratory creativity but are perceived as still falling flat regarding transformational creativity. This paper explores some of the reasons for this, including how, despite the immensity of the conceptual space that results from training of large language models and other machine learning systems, these systems do not, for the most part, share models of the world with us, thus becoming cognitively inaccessible. This paper argues that rather than trying to bring AI systems to imitate us, our umwelt and psychology, to understand their full creative potential, we need to understand them from an ecological and non-anthropocentric perspective that implies an ontological turn both in science and technology studies and in art studies.

Open Access