Could AI be our creative wingman?

The majority of us are short on time. We’re increasingly used to quick fixes, instant messages and tight deadlines – our lived experience is one of immediate convenience in a commercial, corporate and social context.

Which is why for some, generative AI, which leverages algorithms to create text, images, video, code and other content based on pre-existing content, as described by The Drum, is a welcome addition to an already tech heavy suite of creative armour.

ChatGPT is the newest kid on the block and is taking the AI world by storm. The language model tool that generates natural language in response to input, is – according to Elon Musk (one of AI’s original backers) ‘scary good’. ChatGPT sits alongside various other generative AI tools such as Lensa AI, a selfie image and video editing app and Shutterstock’s controversial AI image generator converting text to image instantly. This very feature image, for example, was all Runway.

Industry experts have labelled generative AI a game changer that will alter the landscape of the creative industry irrevocably, and we agree, it is all very clever. But interestingly, the industry is divided on whether generative AI is friend or foe. On one hand there is a belief that the cavalry has arrived – technology we can use to do the heavy lifting for us when our brains are too boggled (or time poor) to perform basic admin tasks ourselves. On the other hand, there are real reservations as to whether we should welcome a set of tools that undermine human creativity by potentially performing as well as, if not better in some instances, than us? It is an interesting debate. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by 3D illustration Museum | 3D Art | NFTs (@3dillustrationmuseum)

So, what is our take on generative AI?

Well first of all, using technology to replace or streamline human action is nothing new. In most previous cases, the technological replacement has allowed for greater productivity, elevated creativity and growth, which are all fundamental to our industry. So, we agree that commercially at least, this is nothing to be afraid of. 

Rather, the key to embracing these new technologies is to work out how they best serve us. Time and practice will tell how they are most useful and whether they are there to support or replace certain tasks, be it idea generation, image searching for mood boards and in early design phases, very basic video editing etc. Learning how to harness these tools could unlock an endless amount of potential by giving us more time in a practical sense and inevitably, allow us to tap into a wealth of knowledge, process and creativity that we can cultivate on behalf of our clients. So what’s the problem?

Well, from an ethical standpoint we have some reservations and of course, we are not alone. As yet, generative AI is an underdeveloped and unregulated technology which puts Musk’s description of ChatGPT as ‘scary good’ in a different context. As much as we need to learn how to use it, those developing it need to learn how to control it. Then, there are more grey areas around copyright and ownership, especially in generative imagery using original artists IP.

All that said, AI is here to stay, so we are adapting to and mastering it, as ever, moving with the times and using all tools at our disposal to ensure we are the best we can be for our clients and ourselves.  

What we can say with total certainty, is that there is no replacement for home-made, human creativity. History will tell you that we have been here before. The introduction of the desktop computer generated similar concerns about a takeover over creative jobs. In reality AI — like the desktop or paintbrush before it — is a tool to be wielded. The master creatives will use it to make great things.

This image was generated through Runway.

This blog was written by a real human. There’s some more of those here.