It occurs to me that the reason AI-generated output feels so bland to human readers might come down to a specific feature of ML — the assumption about noise.

That is: unusual data points are noise, noise is error, and the goal is to ignore noise and learn the general trends.

Essentially, this means ignoring the surprising and unusual. But aren’t these the exact traits we associate with creativity and interesting pieces of writing? Non-sequiturs, new combinations of ideas, sentences the likes of which have never existed before.

Creativity is about the surprising and unusual and novel. It’s the sort of thing AI/ML is specifically designed NOT to learn.

Now, regurgitation aside, I think AI is going to be amazing for tasks like editing. Editing is about conforming to certain standards of readability, grammar, sentence structure, etc. Having an AI can learn these and apply it to hastily written notes and bullet points is immensely useful.

But creativity? It’s literally the noise in the data. Perhaps there is another way to characterize the problem as a whole if that’s what we’re after. But as it is, bland output seems to be a feature rather than a bug.