Wislawa Szymborska, at her home in Krakow in 2000. Witold Krassowski (EL PAÍS)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is amazing our world. About her we worry a thousand questions still unanswered. The unknown of how far it can go instills fear in us. Will he manage to scratch even poetry, the last sacred refuge of wisdom?
I was rereading the Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska, Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996, her metaphors pregnant with fright, her creativity of language, her poetic shocks, her affirmation: “Inspiration, whatever its true origin, is born from an eternal ‘no HE”. And I wonder with relief if the AI will be able to create such an abyss of beauty.
Poetry, the only one capable, as the Brazilian poet Roseana Murray writes, of “planting trees and shadows” or raising the reality of a banal onion to the stars, will never be able to imitate the impenetrable mystery of poetic creativity.
Yes, only a human mind will be capable of extracting such sublime flashes of creativity from a simple onion as Szymborska has done:
“Another thing is the onion.
has no interiority
it is itself, the onion.
A consistent onion,
When a litter is discarded,
the minor in the major is contained
and in the next the successive one.
A centripetal leak
an echo that develops in chorus”.
If the AI believes that it will be able to do everything until it creates metaphors and hidden meanings, it is wrong. “Everything” is a sacred, impossible word. Perhaps it is only in poetry. The Polish poet writes:
“Everything, insolent word and full of presumption. It should be written between crosses. It pretends that it does not omit anything, that it adds, that it encompasses, contains and has, and meanwhile it is just a storm rag”.
Artificial Intelligence and its priests have not yet understood that inspiration, whatever its origin, is born from an eternal “I don’t know”. And it is that the phrase “I don’t know” is small, but it flies on powerful wings.
Citing Ecclesiastes, “nothing new under the sun,” Szymborska writes that in the language of poetry, “nothing is ever ordinary, not a day or a night, and above all, no minuscule existence in this world.”
And prophetically remember that if Newton had not said “I don’t know”, the apple would not have fallen at his feet.
Maybe it’s just a dream of mine, but I prefer to think that the AI, which is creating so much fear, will never be able to invent an original image. You will not create real poetry, you will only be able to copy.
A colleague of mine from this newspaper, who enjoys a great literary sense, writes to me after having spent a week off with his family, that he “felt loved” and that “in the end that is what matters.” I replied that he was able to feel loved because wanting is not just loving.
He replied: “Tell me more, that interests me.” What would the vaunted Artificial Intelligence have responded?
Yes, I prefer to believe that, as powerful and intimidating as AI is, it will never be able to traverse the abyss of human creativity or write, with such wisdom, a sublime poem about a simple and humble onion.
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