Skip to main content

Can AI be Creative? Testing the Idea Generation Capabilities of ChatGPT

So can AI be truly creative? To test this out, I asked ChatGPT in December 2022 to generate ideas involving multiple entities. This was not long after ChatGPT was launched as a prototype on November 30, 2022, and not many were aware of its impressive capabilities at that time. I posted the output on Linkedin. 

The initial prompt presented to ChatGPT contained two entities, and with each subsequent prompt, an additional entity was added. However, it was not specified whether the goal was to generate a product idea or a business model. Despite this lack of clear direction, ChatGPT was able to successfully combine the given entities to create unique and thought-provoking concepts.

For example, when presented with only two entities (a helicopter and a hairdryer), ChatGPT generated a product concept that seamlessly merged the two. While this may seem like a simple task for most humans, as we naturally tend to combine concepts to develop new ideas, what was more remarkable was ChatGPT's ability to identify a practical and useful application for the product - in disaster relief scenarios. This demonstrated its capacity to not only generate ideas, but also to think critically about their potential uses and applications.

However, the applications that ChatGPT proposed for the product, such as using it to dry out flood-damaged areas and wet clothing to prevent mold infestation, were not immediately practical or realistic ideas. These applications would be classified as "wild ideas." Nevertheless, there was a certain logic and method behind the wildness of these proposals, making them imaginable and potentially viable.

This made the idea both humorous and interesting, highlighting the fundamental connection between creativity and humor. Humorous ideas are those that, while seemingly sensible in some way, and can be visualized, are impractical given our current understanding of the world. In this case, the limiting factor that prevents the idea from being practical is possibly the power of the hairdryer. However, if a significantly more powerful dryer could be developed, the idea would move from the realm of a wild idea to one that is both feasible and innovative.

As more entities, such as a camel and a cow, were added to the task, the concept generated by ChatGPT evolved from a product idea to a business model. While some elements of the idea remained clearly ridiculous, such as using a camel to transport farm equipment, including the cow and hairdryer, to a desired location, there were also aspects that were somewhat logical, in a limited way. Furthermore, the idea, in its absurdity, was undeniably humorous. Most people would likely have struggled to come up with an idea that was more feasible or practical, yet still incorporated all the entities provided. The model demonstrates the ability to find connection between seemingly unrelated things, and uses it to come up with something that is not only unique, but also elicits a response of humor and interest.

I believe that by studying how AI generates creative and humorous ideas, we can gain valuable insights into the human creativity process. We can learn from the strategies and techniques used by AI, and use that knowledge to help humans become more creative. Humans have the advantage of being able to more easily assess the practicality of an idea and the potential impact it could have on their lives. Understanding the capabilities and methods of AI in terms of creativity can help us to better understand human creativity, both in terms of how it works and how it can be improved. With the rapid advancements being made in the field of AI, it is likely that we will continue to see new developments that will shed light on the intricacies of human creativity and offer new ways to enhance it.

Comments

Popular Posts

Camelar: AI Product Ideation for Camel Inspired Cars

By Tojin T. Eapen We used AI tools ( chatGPT and Stable Diffusion ) to generate concept cars ("Camelars") that are inspired by camels, which are known for their exceptional ability to survive and thrive in rugged and challenging environments.  We wanted Camelars to ideally include features and capabilities that would allow them to perform well in conditions such as rough terrain, extreme temperatures, and limited resources. For this, we generated the following description of the Camelar, a bioinspired car that borrows from the appearance and characteristics of the camel. Generate an image of a car inspired by a camel, designed for long distance travel through harsh or remote environments. The car should have a spacious and comfortable interior with amenities like a built-in kitchen and sleeping quarters, as well as storage compartments for supplies and equipment. The exterior should feature a rugged and durable design, with features like high ground clearance, all-terrain ti

Empathy and Confrontation in Idea Generation

By  Tojin T. Eapen Successful innovation often involves two key factors: empathy and confrontation .  Empathy, or the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, is important in both art and science. In art, empathy with human subjects allows artists and writers to create relatable works. In science, empathy with non-human entities and abstract concepts allows investigators to understand them deeply and intuitively. The second key factor in innovation is confrontation, or the clash of ideas , perspectives, or reference frames. While empathy and confrontation may seem contradictory, both are essential for successful innovation, and one often leads to the other. According to MIT professor Edward Roberts , innovation is the combination of invention and exploitation. Theresa Amabile defines innovation as the successful implementation of creative ideas within an organization.  The term innovation can be seen as a portmanteau word that encapsulates its own ingredients: in spira

Generative AI for Bioinspired Product Ideation

By Tojin T. Eapen The design of products, processes, and organizations guided by principles observed in living systems can be referred to as " Bioinspired System Design ." In a series of posts, we delve into the potential of generative artificial intelligence (AI) to generate bioinspired product design concepts as a part of the idea management process. Specifically, we will look at how living organisms can serve as inspiration to redesign common products and human artifacts including bags, cars, bags, pens, tanks, trains, and umbrellas. In each of these articles, we will examine how the unique characteristics and behaviors of a particular living organism can be incorporated into the design of the bioinspired product. Elephantcopter: AI Designed Elephant Inspired Helicopters Camelar: AI Product Ideation for Camel Inspired Cars Koafa: AI Product Ideation for the Koala Inspired Sofas Paradiso: AI Product Ideation for Birds-of-Paradise Inspired T-Shirts Tigoes: AI Product Ideati

The Efficiency-Resilience-Prominence (ERP) Framework

Consider any living organism and its struggle for survival in a changing environment. Three crucial factors are common to all living systems: resource management, especially energy resources; coping with environmental forces such as heat, wind, and currents; and managing relationships with other entities, which can range from friendly to predatory.  These three factors are referred to as survivability concerns. To increase survival, an organism must adapt and manage these concerns, either through biological means like specialized organs, or behavioral means such as action and strategy. Organizations also face these same concerns of resources, forces, and relationships in their quest for survival.  Each living system has three corresponding capability factors: efficiency in managing resources, resilience against environmental forces, and prominence in attracting or evading attention. These three capabilities are collectively known as the ERP factors.