I subscribe to more blogs than I could ever read, and the notifications steadily accumulate in my email inbox. This past weekend, I was making a vain attempt to clear through some of it, and I came across this post from Chuck Wendig.
In his usual rambling blog style, Wendig asserts that the problem with A.I.-generated art—whether that be visual media or text—is the fetishization of ideas and indifference to execution.
But again, the idea is a seed, that’s it. Ideas are certainly useful, but only so far. A good idea will not be saved by poor execution, but a bad idea can be saved by excellent execution. Even simple, pedestrian ideas can be made sublime in the hands of a powerful craftsman or artist. Not every idea needs to be revolutionary. Every idea needn’t be that original — I don’t mean to suggest the plagiarism is the way to go, I only mean in the general sense, it’s very difficult (and potentially impossible) to think of a truly original story idea that hasn’t in some form been told before. The originality in a narrative comes from you, the author, the artist. The originality comes out in the execution.
It is there in the effort.
(And any writer or artist will surely experience the fact that the execution of an idea helps to spawn more new ideas within the seedbed of that singular garden. Put differently, driving across country is so much more than plugging the directions into Google Maps — when the rubber meets road, when you meet obstacles, when there are sights to see, you change the journey and the journey changes you, because choices must be made.)
And herein lies the problem with the sudden surge and interest in artificial intelligence. AI-generated creativity isn’t creativity. It is all hat, no cowboy: all idea, no execution. It in fact relies on the obsession with, and fetishization of, THE IDEA. It’s the core of every get-rich-quick scheme, the basis of every lazy entrepreneur who thinks he has the Next Big Thing, the core of every author or artist or creator who is a “visionary” who has all the vision but none of the ability to execute upon that vision. Hell, it’s the thing every writer has heard from some jabroni who tells you, “I got this great idea, you write it, we’ll split the money 50/50, boom.” It is the belief that The Idea is of equal or greater importance than the effort it takes to make That Idea a reality.