How Higher Education Institutions Are Using Creative AI

July 26, 2022

creative ai blog image

The following article talks about Creative AI, a program we predicted back in January 2022 as part of our 5 Emerging Programs to Watch. It is an interesting read, especially when we consider how far AI technology has come in just a short while. 


It is common to think AI is for data scientists who analyze huge datasets and do predictive analytics. Indeed, we have seen an explosion of AI-related courses and programs across higher education over the last five years, mainly within engineering and computer science departments. But AI isn’t just for “left-brainers.” Artists, designers, musicians, and other “right-brain” aficionados are using artificial intelligence to enhance the creative process and even generate new creative works. This is what we refer to as creative AI. Much of this technology is free to use by the public. Some are also considered “open source,” meaning that developers can use and build on what already exists, making new applications and growth in the technology significantly probable.

DALL·E mini, an online AI model, “drew” our image above of a robot graduating from college. Click here to try it out yourself.

In another example, I asked a different AI content model to write a synopsis of Hamlet if one of the characters was a robot. Here are the results:

In this version of Hamlet, the robot character is a member of the court who is constantly trying to figure out what is going on. He is often bemused by the other characters’ actions and asks many questions. This can create some comic relief in an otherwise tragic play. Ultimately, the robot is the only one left alive, as everyone else has died.

Even Bob can do it! Bob Atkins, our CEO, tried it out, too. Below is an excerpt from his book on academic program evaluation, Start, Stop, or Grow, including new text written by a GPT3, a publicly available AI application. Which sentences do you think were written by the computer?*

Dr. Sue McDonald, Provost, was sitting at her fifteen-foot conference table with legs of carved lion heads and claw feet. “Monopodium,” Dr. James, an art history professor, had said when he saw her admiring one before a meeting, “It is called a monopodium – a reproduction of an ancient Roman table leg.” The table was a gift from an alumnus, and it was one of her favorite things in her office.

Dr. McDonald was going over the budget with her assistant, and she was not happy. “I don’t understand why our costs keep going up,” she said. “We’re already cutting back on staff and supplies. What else can we do?”

Her assistant, a young woman named Sarah, looked up from her computer screen. “I’m not sure,” she said. “But I’ll look into it and see if I can find anything.” Dr. McDonald nodded. “Thank you, Sarah. I appreciate it.” She sighed and leaned back in her chair. “I just don’t understand why this is happening. We’re a small college, and we’re not doing anything differently than we have in the past.” Sarah nodded. “I’ll see what I can find out,” she said again. “Thank you.” Dr. McDonald stood up and walked to the window. She stared out at the campus, her mind racing. She had to find a way to cut costs, or the college would be in trouble. But she didn’t know where to start.

AI-Generated Art

In October 2018, the AI-generated “Portrait of Edmond Belamy” was sold at a Christie’s auction for an impressive $432,500. The portrait was created by Obvious, a Paris-based three-person collective, using an algorithm of 15,000 portraits.

AI is also being used to create music and movies. 20th Century Fox used IBM’s Watson supercomputer to create a trailer for its sci-fi thriller, Morgan. The content focused heavily on mood and atmosphere.

The script for a short film, Sunspring, was generated by AI software trained on a menu of science-fiction film and television scripts. The resulting movie did manage to pick up on the confusion experienced by many characters in the sci-fi genre, with “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” as a common refrain throughout the screenplay.

YouTuber and musician Taryn Southern released the first single – “Break Free,” composed and produced using AI.

No Robots Allowed

Creative AI technology still has a long way to go, especially when it tries to emulate humans. AI doesn’t quite get us, and often gets us wrong in funny ways. Drawn human faces don’t quite have the features in the right place, and the subtlety of emotional dialog is still beyond AI’s scope. Still, the world is taking notes and preparing for the moment when AI figures it out.

Whether or not the next great American AI-generated novel is on the horizon anytime soon, it is clear that AI technology will have to be considered in the workforce and in educating students.

Want to learn more? Earlier this year, Gray presented Creative AI as an emerging academic program. CLICK HERE to discover it.

* The very first paragraph in this section was written by Bob. AI wrote paragraphs two and three.

Mary Ann Romans


Mary Ann creates, defines, and executes marketing strategy at Gray Decision Intelligence.

About Gray DI

Gray DI provides data, software and facilitated processes that power higher-education decisions. Our data and AI insights inform program choices, optimize finances, and fuel growth in a challenging market – one data-informed decision at a time.

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