When happy accidents spark creativity: Bringing collaborative speculation to life with generative AI

by   Ziv Epstein, et al.

Generative AI techniques like those that synthesize images from text (text-to-image models) offer new possibilities for creatively imagining new ideas. We investigate the capabilities of these models to help communities engage in conversations about their collective future. In particular, we design and deploy a facilitated experience where participants collaboratively speculate on utopias they want to see, and then produce AI-generated imagery from those speculations. In a series of in-depth user interviews, we invite participants to reflect on the generated images and refine their visions for the future. We synthesize findings with a bespoke community zine on the experience. We observe that participants often generated ideas for implementing their vision and drew new lateral considerations as a result of viewing the generated images. Critically, we find that the unexpected difference between the participant's imagined output and the generated image is what facilitated new insight for the participant. We hope our experimental model for co-creation, computational creativity, and community reflection inspires the use of generative models to help communities and organizations envision better futures.


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