The use of artificial intelligence in art.

 Hello everyone,

Thank you for returning to my blog, this time not to discuss a new image, but rather the use of Artificial Intelligence in art.

This article is a continuation of a previous text that I encourage you to read before delving into this one, if you haven't already: here. It explores the initial reasons behind the issue of using Artificial Intelligence in art.

Today, I will clearly discuss the arguments I developed during the debate that took place in Rochefort en Terre, thanks to the Cubic circle and the Naïa Museum last September. I will be talking about the psychology of creativity.

To precisely explain why the use of Artificial Intelligence is a problem, I need to delve into the workings of human creativity and explain its characteristics. This makes this article a rather lengthy and dense read, but I promise to have tried to make things clear, avoiding psychology jargon to make this writing accessible to everyone.


As a reminder, I am a clinical psychologist with 10 years of experience in adult psychiatry. For several years, my focus has been on art therapy and the psychology of creativity. As both an artist and psychologist, I believe it is my duty to share this information and make these insights accessible. Let's not forget that this topic is political!


Creativity is recognized as an essential attribute of the human species. It is one of the traits that distinguishes us most from other living species: an ability at the very heart of culture and humanity. It encompasses our capacity to imagine, invent, construct, implement an unusual concept, and discover an original solution to a problem.

It has been studied since ancient Greece, with varying degrees of success. It wasn't until the 19th century that its study progressed significantly. Following a mystical understanding of the creative process, the first serious works on the subject began to emerge.

Today, wewhen I say 'we,' I mean researchers internationally whose publications I read study it from various perspectives: cognitive psychology, social psychology, differential psychology, developmental psychology, clinical psychology (various fields of psychology) in an attempt to better understand it in all its aspects: emotional, motivational, environmental, personality, intelligence, knowledge, etc.

The Creative Process:

From what we know today, the creative process of the human being would rely on two complex and important processes:

- Associative imagination, which represents our innate ability to combine ideas, judge them, and evaluate them.

- Divergent thinking, which is the ability to generate a large number of ideas.

The creative process is a sequence of thoughts and actions that leads to an original creation or creations adapted to the context in which it manifests.

Here is a simple diagram of our thinking process: (explanation below)
It consists of 6 stages."

Task Presentation:

This phase corresponds to the situation: identifying and defining the problem or task.

EXAMPLE: If we transpose this first step into the artistic domain, the task presentation is akin to the desire to create a work, for instance, to be precise, the creation of a painting representing the joys of childhood.

The task could very well be solving a mathematical problem, as it is another domain of creativity, but to stay in line with the subject of my article, I provide you with an artistic example. That said, the conclusions we reach through this example are applicable to all fields of creative expression.


The preparation corresponds to the moment when the artist mentally readies themselves. This involves seeking information, analyzing the task, gathering important elements, generating multiple ideas (here we find divergent thinking), and evaluating these ideas to follow those that seem most promising.

In our example,  the painter would find out about his subject, in this case, the joys of childhood, contemplate how to represent it, decide on the technique (oil, watercolor, ...), look for references (do they need models?), assess their requirements to move into action, create various preparatory sketches, note different ideas, and try different approaches.

It's an intentional and conscious mental effort.


It results from the preparation phase. Anyone who has embarked on an artistic endeavor knows that sooner or later, they hit a snag! Typically, after some time in the preparation phase, the artist encounters an implementation problem. This could be related to their analytical abilities reaching their limits, encountering a block, or the absence of the emergence of a creative idea. There is then an issue in task execution, and without a satisfactory solution, it leads to frustration. Frustration serves as a driving force; even though it's a challenging phase, it creates tension that activates the unconscious resources discussed later in the process.

If I revisit the example of the painter, it could be: not knowing how to represent joy in childhood because our painter had an unhappy childhood. Or failing to find a good idea for a creative composition to represent this theme. Or struggling to depict what he has in mind due to a lack of techniques. There are countless ways to encounter frustration on the artistic path.


During the incubation phase, the problem is set aside due to an inability to solve it. During this time, the brain continues to work unconsciously by forming associations.

This is where we enter the realm of the unconscious and associative imagination, which requires some clarification. This phase is unconscious; it unfolds without the need for conscious thought, much like we breathe without needing to be aware of it.

Without delving into an in-depth psychology lesson, but just to provide basics for those who may not have them, our psyche is composed of a conscious part and an unconscious part.

To keep it simple and within the context of our topic, our unconscious could be likened to an 'inner library' or a 'mind cellar.' It stores our 'mental objects' that we've stocked, and through association, they become active (rise to consciousness). To be clearer, our unconscious contains our stored knowledge (education and lived experiences), memories, emotions, concerns, and anxieties.

To give you an illustration, we don't remember everything we've experienced or thought in our lives, but sometimes an object, a smell, or an encounter triggers a memory. We may have forgotten about that 'chapter of our life,' but the book was indeed in our inner library, reactivated through association with a meeting or an object, for example.

The unconscious is therefore personal and unique! In jargon: the unconscious is a source of idiosyncratic ideas.

Thus, many idea associations arise during this phase, but the unconscious rejects most of these associations as it deems them useless. Sometimes, a more promising idea emerges, leading us to the next phase.

Taking the example of the painter facing the challenge of representing the joy of childhood due to an unhappy childhood, during a conversation with a friend, he might recall a long-forgotten happy memory from his childhood.

Similarly, in the case of a composition problem, our painter might, during an afternoon of tinkering, perceive things from a completely different angle, thereby opening the way to new solutions.


During this phase, the interesting idea emerges and becomes conscious. Illumination can be defined as a 'flash,' a sudden insight.

I believe you've experienced facing a difficulty where you couldn't find a way out, and in frustration, decided to temporarily set it aside. Then, after unsuccessful pondering, you opt to rest or do something else. That's when, as if by magic, a solution suddenly emerges from your mind!

For our example painter, this is the emergence of the solution to his problem: To illustrate, let's imagine that he decides to depict a smiling child on a bike, surrounded by trustworthy friends.


This is the moment when one critically examines the idea, adjusts it, thinks about the finishing touches.

For example, if we go back to our painter, it could be placing this smiling child in a summer garden instead of under winter rain to enhance the meaning of happiness. It's dressing the child in bright and vibrant colors to accentuate the effects. It could also involve considering the inclusion of children of different genders and ethnic backgrounds to convey a universal message, and so on.

The Problems of Using AI in the Artistic Domain:

Now that we have laid these foundations and understood that the creative act requires diligent and intentional work, we can delve into the problems posed by the use of AI in the artistic domain.

Researchers have begun to highlight that the creative process associated with the use of AI is different from what we just studied. Some even argue that discussing creativity related to AI is dubious.

The Frustration Phase:

The first problem arises during the frustration phase. It is suggested that the intensity and force of frustration are not the same. Frustration is different. A person working with AI is much less hindered in achieving a goal or fulfilling a desire when AI is in the equation because it is designed to meet their expectations. They encounter fewer problems and need to find fewer solutions, which also implies less intellectual activity, a crucial element for creativity to thrive (cf. divergent thinking).

I associate this first point with other research showing that when faced with 'ready-made' images, we become increasingly passive with less intellectual effort, thus also less frustrated by results obtained by, for example, Midjourney.

The Incubation Phase:

The second problem arises during the incubation phase. As we saw earlier, our creativity is nourished by our unconscious, our 'mind cellar,' our 'inner library.' However, this unconscious is never in contact with Artificial Intelligence. AI has a database, and you have an unconscious—these are not the same at all. One is personal and generates ideas, the other is general and generates statistical images. The results will be very different.

Let's revisit the previous example of representing the joy of childhood. If we rely on statistics, a search on Midjourney could likely return images of a smiling child with friends eating cake or something similar. However, for other individuals, it could mean being alone with a good book, running in the rain, teasing a younger sibling, playing video games, or even puncturing car tires. Personal uniqueness is thus erased in favor of what is considered acceptable and conforms to statistical norms.

I return to research on our behavior with 'ready-made' images—not only do these make us passive and less inclined to intellectual efforts, but they also leave little room for individual imagery. In other words, if Midjourney presents you with images, you will struggle to dissociate from these images to rediscover your initial inspirations (if you had any) or to evolve Midjourney's result through your own resources/ideas.

We experience this phenomenon recurrently, as illustrated in my previous article, where I discuss reading a book before or after watching the film adaptation of that same book.

In other words, when working with AI, we are not in contact with our own 'mind cellar,' which is personal and carries our identity. Our unconscious (especially associative imagination) is less activated due to the low frustration generated in the earlier phases. We are less inclined to make intellectual efforts, and we have more difficulty connecting to our 'mind cellar' when we try to do so.

Verification Phase:

Another real problem arises during the verification phase. In a creative process without AI, our associations, potential ideas, and solutions are sorted during the incubation phase, in the unconscious. Then, some chosen ones resurface to consciousness and are used. We ourselves eliminate and select our creative ideas! This work passes through the filter of our psyche, which, I reiterate once again, has its own characteristics and is individual.

When working with AI, it is the AI that evaluates ideas, chooses which ones to pursue and which ones to discard. Yes, it will suggest some images on which you will act, but a significant selection has already been made from the multitude of ideas it could have provided based on what you asked for. And this selection is not the result of your psychic sieve but that of the AI with its own criteria.

Another noteworthy point: currently, Artificial Intelligence programs require prompts. In other words, words. However, we know that our creative process works with images (cf. the unconscious). Isn't there something counterproductive there!?


All these observations clearly illustrate the differences between the path of human creativity and the path of creativity with AI. We can also conceive how the consequences of AI use can hinder individual creativity.

Some researchers warn that if we use AI to be more efficient and cost-effective in our consumer society, the consequences on individual creativity could prove catastrophic: 'This orientation of society towards efficiency and consumption could indeed develop at the expense of exploration and reflection (in other words, important stages of the creative process, as we have seen previously), foundations without which creativity cannot exist' (Edwards, S. M., in Lubart, T.I. (2003), The Psychology of Creativity, Armand Colin Edition, Paris, p. 82)."

I hope this knowledge will help you deepen your reflection on the issue of AI use. It is just one disciplinary aspect among many necessary for understanding the ins and outs of AI utilization. However, I've noticed that it is often missing!

As for creativity, I could talk to you about inter-individual differences, intra-individual variations, its connection to intelligence, or even its correlation with specific personality traits, but that's another story...


  1. First of all, thank you for the excellent translation of this wonderful article 👏
    After reading this article, it made me understand how dangerous AI is to the creative process
    Thanks 😍👍

    1. Thank you very much Mahmoud for reading my article and for your interest and support!


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