Will the Arts survive the AI Renaissance?

From the constructs, automatons, and golems mythologized by ancient dreamers and artisans in Greece, China, and throughout what is now known as the Middle East; to the homunculus of the Middle Ages; to the androids, cyborgs, and robots envisioned today–the pursuit of artificial life and intelligence has frankly been a long time coming. It’s evolved from a magical endeavour achievable only by divine hands to an alchemical and pseudo-scientific possibility, and finally, a technological inevitability–as it seemed to many creative minds as early as the 50s, following the creation of the first computer–who prophesized:

“Machines are going to replace people, and eventually take over the world.”

Now, in the 21st century, we finally see this prediction–and the actualization of this millennia-old dream–coming true (well, the first part, anyway). AI has already impacted many jobs and industries–and will influence many more in the coming years.

But that’s just like every other incredible technological advancement we’ve made over the past half-century, isn’t it?

I coiling timeline of humanity's most impactful technological advancements since the dawn of our species


Think about this for a moment: human technology has advanced more in the past century than it did in all the time preceding since humanity existed. It’s pretty crazy to wrap your head around, really. The catalyst for this phenomenon was the understanding of electricity, followed by the Industrial Revolution. Ever since, humanity has just been go-go-going, nonstop. We’ve essentially been in a perpetual technological renaissance for the past five generations, constantly diving into the unknown, and we’ve had plenty of wary steps along the way–similar to the one we’re taking with AI now. 

Take the computer, the smartphone, and the Internet for example. These things are so ubiquitous now in our everyday lives that it’s hard to imagine how not long ago, relatively speaking, these inventions were absolutely mind-blowing and unfathomably transformative on our society. In the 90s and 2000s, these products quickly streamlined, automated, or revolutionized in some way just about every industry in existence at a terrifying rate. It would also be fair to say that they disrupted many as well; because that’s what change does, ultimately. With all the benefits that came with the convenience and interconnectedness these tools facilitated, jobs were lost, and people were displaced as a result of their widespread implementation. Big transitions are never clean-cut, yet despite all the uncertainty and bewilderment at the time, the new digital era ended up creating many more jobs than it eliminated.

I firmly believe AI is the same. It’s here, and it isn’t going away. It’s ‘the next big step’ of this ceaseless revolution that’s going to bring us into a new age, much like the computer and the Internet. It’s going to remodel just about every industry that currently exists–and will exist, as a result. It’s going to be exciting, unpredictable, and yes, a little scary too. There are going to be hiccups, and speed bumps; Jobs will be lost, and people will be displaced…

But for every job lost, another will be created; those who are displaced at some point will find their place once more. And history proves that we’ll be better off for it in the end. The human spirit is both irreplaceable and infinitely adaptable–that’s what Team Jester believes, as we aim to position ourselves near the forefront of this change with hope and optimism.

… At the very least, we’re quite certain that Skynet won’t be coming online for a few more decades.