November 1, 2022
It's an exciting time in generative AI. New possibilities are opening up at a breakneck pace. Sophisticated language models can produce everything from ad copy to full essays, and stable diffusion has sparked a tidal wave of apps that let users construct visuals from simple text prompts.
Amid all of the buzzy enthusiasm and adoption, onlookers are voicing growing concern about what this tech means for human jobs, and particularly, for production jobs in creative industries. As AI gets better and better at creating original content in a variety of formats, some fear it could encroach on skilled human creatives at work, and in a worst-case scenario, replace them entirely.
It might seem like a dire narrative, but it’s a relatable one that resonates emotionally and culturally. We've long been fretting about technology replacing humans. And yet, technology has continued to advance, and humans have been adapting our skill sets to leverage it to our benefit. In the near future, it’s the humans who adopt generative AI that may well replace the ones who don't.
One of the key benefits of generative AI is its ability to automate tedious or time-consuming tasks. For example, a designer might use a model to quickly produce a range of logo options. They can then head straight into refining and adjusting; focusing on the more creative aspects of the design process. Similarly, a writer could use generative AI to create outlines or rough drafts of their work, freeing up time for editing and fine-tuning.
We’ve seen this play out before in older technologies. Think about rotoscoping - it's an old-school animation technique that involves tracing real-life movements, frame by frame, to make animated motion more organic. It used to be done by hand; now it's done with tech. Animators still drive the process; they can just do it much faster. It’s this dynamic that we’re poised to see unfold with these new creative models.
The magic of this generation of technology (AI) is that it is not just more efficient, it can go one step further and actually provide inspiration and original thought. We're very early in seeing the effects, but the most interesting AI creative work comes from artists, designers and makers who work with the AI as a real partner; exchanging ideas and developing concepts alongside the AI.
An emergent benefit we’re also seeing is generative AI’s potential to democratize access to creative learning. With the right tools and resources, anyone can use it to begin creating original content, regardless of their background or expertise. This could open up new opportunities for people interested in creative pursuits who don't have the time or resources to invest in formal training.
Generative AI is not a replacement for human creativity. Rather, it’s a creative booster. The best outcomes will come from a combination of human and machine intelligence, where generative AI is used to supplement and enhance the creative process; not replace it.