Today's thought

The beauty conundrum

Does the difficulty of creating beauty make it more valuable?

Many would say that someone spending 100+ hours on a project commands more respect, compensation, and merit than someone who only spent 1 hour. Maybe “a project” is a painting, a website, a piece of writing, or an application. Whatever craftsmanship-intensive task you want to imagine.

Now, imagine: What if the outcome was the same? What if both end pieces were exactly the same level of quality, craftsmanship, materials, effort, and scarcity… would the longer-taking one still be better?

“There’s no way they’d be the same! The 100-hour person’s work would clearly be better because of *XYZ reason*... how ridiculous.”

This is one of the questions we face with AI and the novelty of computer generated art becoming truly excellent. If a robot can do the same thing as a human, but MUCH faster and with basically 100% precision… is it still art? Is it still beautiful? Does it matter?

Personally, I’m thrilled to live in a time where we can ponder these massive, existential questions about the meaning of beauty, creation, purpose, and all the means of accomplishing things as humans. There’s no correct answer right now (or maybe ever), but I remain open to the possibilities.

Does the difficulty of creating beauty make it more valuable?

Many would say that someone spending 100+ hours on a project commands more respect, compensation, and merit than someone who only spent 1 hour. Maybe “a project” is a painting, a website, a piece of writing, or an application. Whatever craftsmanship-intensive task you want to imagine.

Now, imagine: What if the outcome was the same? What if both end pieces were exactly the same level of quality, craftsmanship, materials, effort, and scarcity… would the longer-taking one still be better?

“There’s no way they’d be the same! The 100-hour person’s work would clearly be better because of *XYZ reason*... how ridiculous.”

This is one of the questions we face with AI and the novelty of computer generated art becoming truly excellent. If a robot can do the same thing as a human, but MUCH faster and with basically 100% precision… is it still art? Is it still beautiful? Does it matter?

Personally, I’m thrilled to live in a time where we can ponder these massive, existential questions about the meaning of beauty, creation, purpose, and all the means of accomplishing things as humans. There’s no correct answer right now (or maybe ever), but I remain open to the possibilities.

Hundred Daily™ is a 100-day writing challenge by Aaron Rolston. The goal is to publish 100(ish) words daily & send them out via email. Consider subscribing if you'd like to receive daily broadcasts from me.

Aaron Rolston © 2099

Aaron Rolston © 2099