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  • Writer's pictureAlexander James

AI And Creativity: Could It Help Boost Our Mental Health?

The recent advances in the way that artificial intelligence (AI) is used have made a stir in the creative circles. For example, image generating tools such as DALL.E 2 can now produce realistic and convincing artwork in a few seconds, in response to some simple human prompts.

Other generative AI tools can produce improvised music, creative writing, and even architecture. Of course it’s all machine learning scraped from millions of sources of human-generated content, but it certainly brings an eerie resemblance to human sentience. This raises all kinds of questions about ethics and the future of humanity in general.

Change can be unsettling and a source of anxiety for many people; maybe it is inevitable that technological progress will always cause some unease.

A recent study reported in Neuroscience News found that AI chatbots could rival humans in creative thinking. Researchers Mika Koivisto and Simone Grassini conducted an Alternate Uses Task (AUT) with 256 human participants and three AI chatbots.

The humans and chatbots were asked to devise different uses for everyday objects to assess the capacity for divergent thinking. The responses were assessed in four different categories: fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration. On average, the AI chatbots performed better than the humans.

However, the picture is more complex than it first appears. This is because human scores had a far greater range, meaning that both the maximum scores and the minimum scores were far higher. Therefore, while AI might be a credible tool to aid creativity, it is still some way off rivalling the best of human thinking.

It's important to keep the issues in context and look at them from the perspective of history. For example, when the first photographic images were taken, some artists were concerned about the future of their careers. However, the best artists saw photography not as a threat but as a new medium to express their ideas and emotions.

Creativity is not just essential for human progress, it’s also extremely beneficial for our mental and spiritual wellbeing. When we are engaged in a creative endeavour, which can be as simple as baking a cake or gardening, our mind enters a state of flow. This means that we are absorbed in the task at hand and anxieties fade into the background.

The more demanding the task, the more engaged our minds can become. Some creative activities, such as singing, painting or writing, may even provide an outlet for deep seated emotions that you don’t feel comfortable expressing in other areas of your life. This can help you live with difficult or conflicting feelings.

Being creative can also boost cognitive function, as it activates the area of your brain that processes language and memory. Not only this, but creativity is enjoyable and can lift your mood and also bring a sense of achievement that helps to build self esteem.

No amount of AI generated creativity will ever be able to take these benefits away from humans, but the tools may be able to help open doors in our minds and provide a ladder to greater things.

If you are looking for anxiety therapy in Kensington, please get in touch today.

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