Dr. Stephen Thaler is basically challenging the need for the ‘human’ restriction in the law. In the recent case of Thaler v Perlmutter, he requested reconsideration of the Copyright Office’s rejection because, he said, while the Creativity Machine output lacked human authorship it ‘otherwise meets authorship criteria.”
What is the essential difference between the way an AI platform generates a work, and the way a human generates a work? WHY does the law consider only human output eligible for intellectual property rights protection?
AI output generation
An AI system analyzes a ton of data, then looks for patterns. It can then replicate those patterns according to specific prompts. For example, if I ask an AI system to make a painting of a cat playing with string in the style of Van Gogh, the AI can produce such a painting in a relatively convincing style.
Human output generation
On one level, humans do the same thing. My experiences in the world are the data I have to work with. For example, if I want to paint a portrait, I have seen enough faces to know what a face looks like. I can create a face picture from knowing the basic patterns.
Human data is multi-sensual
But human creativity and imagination are closely related to emotions and subjective experiences.
Humans experience things through multiple senses. I’ve not only seen an angry face, I’ve experienced what it means to have a person angry at me. I’ve personally felt my emotional response to that anger, so when I make a picture of an angry face, there is much more than just the shape of the facial features that informs my understanding of what is happening, and therefore what it should look like.
How exactly will that make the painting of the face LOOK any different you might ask… well that will depend on the artist.
Take another example: If I make a picture of the view from my office on the 8th floor, that view might be a straightforward landscape… or it might portray some of the awe of being up so high… or it might portray some of the fear of falling from such a height.
Humans experience things firsthand through all their senses, which gives them a broader range of experiential data with which to work and provides depth unavailable to AI.
Human data is limited and therefore more focused
The very thing that gives AI certain advantages- an enormous set of data to work with and the processing power to sort through it all, may also, paradoxically enough, give humans their creative edge: humans are working with a much narrower set of data. That limitation will provide a more subjective and particular focus, which will provide a stylistic advantage. Of course, specific prompts can be given to the AI to progressively narrow the focus, but those human-introduced prompts are the intrusion of the human into the process.
Creativity and Imagination
Creativity is defined as relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.
What is imagination?
The faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.
This concept- forming new ideas not present to the senses adds another layer of depth to it. Could AI look at a billion photos of anxious humans and ever come up with Edvard Munch’s The Scream?
What humans do is more than just take input from multiple senses, which maybe increased computational power and more in-depth algorithms could possibly mimic; it is using the personal, sensual experience to express something not present to the senses.