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How AI Short-Circuits Creativity

In 2023 the ad agency Design Army created an entire campaign using only generative AI. In it, a world of impossible buildings, floating hats, and gigantic eyeballs announces the opening of a high-end eyewear retailer.

As Design Army cofounder Pum Lefebure explained, “in a typical project like this, we would hire models, makeup artists, and wardrobe specialists, scout and secure shoot locations, and ultimately it would take at least three months to execute.” But the budget was tight and time was short, so they turned to AI. Though there’s a touch of uncanny valley in the resulting imagery, the visuals are impressive.

Always aiming for faster output and grander scale, leaders across industries are excited about the potential for this new tech. But AI technology raises real concerns for the creatives whose original work could be replaced or copied by these tools.

Creativity is an essential part of who we are as human beings. In the creation narrative, when the first human is tasked with cultivating the Garden (Gen. 2:5–8, 15), we see that making is a God-given privilege and responsibility. It’s a calling generative AI threatens to undermine. We are robbing ourselves of this gift of toil—the creative process of ideating, developing, and producing—when we take too many shortcuts or automate our work.

As the opening lines of Genesis make clear, right after God completes the aspects of creation that he alone is capable of, he invites humankind to pick up where he left off. For example, God doesn’t create all of humanity in an instant; he makes only two humans and then tasks them with making more of themselves through bearing children and forming families.

To accomplish these tasks, God didn’t give humans his unique power to generate new things simply by speaking them into existence. He gave humans the purpose of joining in the ongoing work of creation. We see this again and again throughout the biblical story line. He tasks humankind with making things themselves (Ex. 31:1­-11; 1 Sam. 16:16–18). It is in God’s generosity that we are handed the paintbrush and invited to join the process.

Possible Preaching Angle:

God uses the trials, tedium, mistakes, victories, and lessons of life to refine us into the image of Christ. It is not done in an instant, however much we want to rush to the final result. It is through an often-lengthy process that we become who God intended us to be and our work becomes what God ordained.

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