Our household has a rather unique ability: we blur the already thin line separating literary and the visual arts. My wife Che and I write journalism and literature while my two older kids, who write game guides by day for foreign content providers, transform into visual artists by night.

My youngest, Likha, dabbles in landscape sketches using color pencils. My eldest daughter, Rei, is into everything anime while my son, Lenin, wracks up the screen using 2D animation.

Their eye and feel for shapes, patterns, and colors may have had the imprimatur, in DNA, from my late father who was the itinerant artist. He had won a couple of national art contests for his stippling art, what in some circles is called pointillism, during his 25-year stay in the United States.

And so, the day arrived in my rather dull social media life that I was drawn to this new fad: a profile picture “enriched” by artificial intelligence or AI art, as it is called. I first saw singer Gary Valenciano do it, then some friends in the writing community. The images dazzled like it came out of the very hands of the French realist artists Édouard Manet or Gustave Courbet.

But with a death-defying twist: It is 101% algorithm-generated, a visual extrapolation of thousands if not millions of artistic works already available on the internet for the application to use as “inspiration”.

I’m no gizmo whiz. But if there is one thing I understand about artificial intelligence, it is this: Algorithmic extrapolation can hardly qualify as artistic inspiration.

Heedlessly, I called on my daughter to help me enhance my profile picture using AI art. I wanted it to be warrior-like, Angelus mortis, with Death peering out of my eyes in fiery retribution. Been banging my head against imbecilic trolls for more than half the time on cyberspace anyway, so what’s wrong with living out a little online profile-picture fantasy?

That’s when I got the scolding of my life! And from my eldest daughter, of all people! She kicked off her miserere nobis with a litany of reasons why AI art is not art, and it will never be – art. Fake art, or F-ART, it is as best.

Thunderstruck doesn’t even begin to describe what I felt as my eldest daughter stole lightning from Zeus only to hurl it in my direction. She was steel scraping on steel, sparks flying everywhere. If there is one thing I know about my eldest daughter? When push comes to shove, she will hurl a punch. That’s her being kind.

What got my undivided attention were these words: “It’s no different from writing, Papa,” she said. “You don’t want a machine taking over your job as novelist or journalist, no matter how perfect the algorithm. Experience enlightens talent, and oftentimes these experiences come with pain. Machines can be crushed, but they don’t know pain.”

This brought me back to the movie, The Words, where the Old Author (played by Jeremy Irons), confronting the plagiarist (Rory Jansen played by Bradley Cooper), said, “Do you think you can just steal part of my life? Any man’s life? Take it as your own and expect there’d be no price to pay? You take those words, you take the pain.”

I know writing. I’ve been a writer for close to 40 years, half of which spent in journalism. I know that writing is more than just stringing words together. Writing is about ripping memory out of the blood, tearing away words from the marrow, creating from the raw material we call pain and experience the stories of our lives.

As a political columnist, writing is about being empathetic, taking upon yourself the pain of others, their loss and grief. Logic and sound thinking are but cogs in the bigger wheel. Substance and form and soul must merge for a piece to be compelling.

Algorithm, at best, extrapolates. It is inspiration that creates.

Hollywood director Guillermo del Toro, whose stop-motion movie Pinocchio now streams on Netflix, has something to say about the matter of AI art: “I consume and love art made by humans. I am completely moved by that. And I am not interested in illustrations made by machines and the extrapolation of information. I talked to Dave McKean, a great artist. He told me his greatest hope is that AI cannot draw.”

Art is ruled by the ethics and aesthetics of creation. While most of its rubrics don’t apply, as artists of all shapes and stripes can be bullheaded at times, there is one inviolable tenet that stands out:

Do not steal.