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Artificial Time for Spending Intelligence

Money can “buy time”, but today it only pays for automation.

On my latest blog post I explored a kind of subordination I see happening for quite some time in order to please a narrow market scheme that gives results almost exclusively for a few digital platforms.

There’s a sort of a debate inside the creative industry about the threat of artificial intelligence for the feasible future of the sector. Platforms as midjourney, DALL-E or Stable Diffusion won some traction lately on social media as a never ending source of memes.

Some jokes about the results of playing with the irony and goofiness of different ideas transformed into funny images was widely spread even on television shows. But even there’s some voices arguing about the unstoppable future coming to take over in the shape of a very convenient tool.

Showbiz Twilight?

Is no secret that the biggest productions that feed Hollywood and streaming platforms are exploring AI as a way to create more efficient results that in the short term will become a more beneficial investment.

Some film directors and producers are starting to debate about the state of the 21th century film industry as a flawed environment getting closer and closer to collapse. Today there’s still room for independent movies, but the gap between a multimillion project and a small budget has become uncanny.

And here is when new tools play an important role for the industry, a revolution in efficiency and productivity. The main feature of any tool -focused only on the profit margin inside an ever growing market- is “time”.

If we look at middle budget productions from the 20h century, probably we will be in awe and reluctant to understand. How they did it? How many professionals were involved? How much money was invested?… but ultimately the real issue is not really about money but time.

Time as a tool

Money could "buy the time" of many professionals to do very specific and specialized tasks full of “non binary decisions” to execute, where the choices are not predefined or calculated for just one outcome. Time gave you the ability to try new things, incurring into beautiful “accidents”, divergent approaches, learn with the process or find new insights.

The repetitive tasks of artisans in old traditional crafts was not only a way of understanding a service or a product, it was an experience inherently human that evolves in a non-linear way.

The experience of time is far away from the market value. Of course time management is indispensable for achieving goals properly, the discrepancy begins when the experience of time becomes commodified as an utility asset, without any connection to reality, then the -so called- “market success” is always a synonym with less and less time.

Another aspect -in someway overlooked- of these emerging technologies is how they take advantage of an immense database of images by photographers, illustrators, concept artists, designers, etc. that are indexed without any consent or sharing any profit with them. Some of these tools shamelessly include watermarks to remind us the legal loophole that underlies the strong versatility of this latest disruption.

Once again, as in every modern interaction with technology, we are victims of an abstraction that promise a result and we only benefit from the time saving paradigm. But the reasons why we benefit from it is much more complex and include many layers of shady transactions that we deliberately choose to ignore.

Even admiting that innovation needs some time to adjust to economic and social requierements, it leaves much to be desired: Why we have to accept the cultural bias that only represent a fraction of the whole spectrum of the human experiencie? Why conform to use a lingua franca for businness and technology instead of other inputs? Why advocate for a tool to do a similar task but that depends on energy consumption much less efficiently than the human brain?

Creativity is Funtime

Also there’s a clear attempt to dispense with certain trades instead of others in that narrative. From my point of view, there’s no doubt that the biggest advantage for our society at including artificial intelligence tools comes precisely for repetitive tasks or perfectly structured linear processes.

Probably there’s no need for more jobs in the finance sector. If we consciously decide to left out the gambling aspect of trading and build our economies upon robust foundations, maybe we could use AI to get rid of those bothersome jobs that require vast amounts of time to process and benefit by that.

Creativity can be very productive, but You’re delusional to believe creativity is efficient.
Creativity is intelligence having fun. In order to have fun You need time.

AI is a menace to creativity only if we continue to subordinate almost everything to a technological abstraction. These tools could perfectly fit into a creative workflow as a complementary way to achieve a goal, not to replace it or circumvent the value of it by the false promise of saving time, and increasing benefits.

The extractivist logic applied to creativity is disingenuous and petty. Trying to standardize human creation through computational calculus is much more than a shortcut to obtain something from “nothing”.

The value of art, the value of creation, plays a crucial part of the value of culture, and is culture what drives society into an exchange. If we downgrade the value of culture by downgrading the value of human creation, we will end up with a worthless automated abstraction of what culture actually means.