I keep a spreadsheet of great thinkers. From Homer to Hume. From Charlotte Brontë to Ta-Nehisi Coates. This morning, I was recalling a thought-provoking photo of Magritte’s art I had stumbled upon when browsing Twitter last night. I went searching for it. Searching Twitter and my browser history like a London man having lost his hat to the night wind, somewhat hopelessly. I had not saved it in the moment, trying to live in the moment rather than catalog it. I let this inspiration lead me. I decided to reopen my spreadsheet, fire up Wikipedia, and learn more about Magritte.
Love your point that machine learning systems aren't designed for new input - things like GPT-3 just remix what already exists. Some people think humans operate the same way though - that no create act is truly novel. Who knows. But regardless, agreed that algorithms are probably shrinking the creative window.
That aside, these recommendations and autocompletions are especially pernicious because they seem so small and benign, to the point that we barely notice them happening. What's the big deal - you clicked on Descartes instead of Magritte today. But as we get hundreds (thousands?) of these algorithmic recommendations and autocompletions a day, the impact is very material.