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The Creative Outlook on AI

If you’ve paid any attention to the news in the last year or so, you’ve likely read about the paradigm shift we’re currently living in—the AI boom. And you’ve probably read or heard or even thought that it’s going to change how we work and live. But what does that mean for creatives? Are they going be out of work in a few years? Simply put, no. 

What’s the story?

What’s been making waves lately isn’t really true AI, though it is a step in that direction. Artificial General Intelligence—or AGI—is the end goal. AGI would be an autonomous system that surpasses human capabilities in the majority of economically valuable tasks. Think HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey or C3-P0 from Star Wars—machines that were created to do tasks that generally only humans can do, and do it better. AGI would be capable of independent thought and creativity.

But the AI tools that are in the news aren’t quite there yet. Things like Chat-GPTDALL-EMidjourneyStable Diffusion and all of the Adobe tools are deep-learning systems or generative artificial intelligence. They are complicated algorithms capable of generating text, information, images or sounds from prompts. And they create based on a deep catalog of data. Essentially, they’re mimicking what’s on the internet. They’re not creating, they’re copying intelligently. 

Is AI changing writing and design right now?

As it stands now, not really. Although the outlook is good. At Esrock, the creative department is looking at AI tools as a productivity booster, but what’s currently available still requires a bit of work. Here’s how we see the current crop of tools:

Quick pre-production: DALL-E and MidJourney can help quickly comp up images for story boards and mock-ups. 

Iteration: When a writer needs 15 variations of a line, they can lean on Chat-GPT to crank out a few more lines for inspiration and edit them accordingly. Designers could lean on image generation sites for quick variations on something they’re working on. 

Research and summaries: If you quickly need a summary of lots of information, feed it into an AI summarizer and quickly get an overview.  

Touch ups: Adobe has introduced “generative fill”—an AI tool that expands the bounds of an existing image, making a designer’s work just a tad easier. 

Where does AI fall short?

These tools are certainly helpful, but they’re not the earth-shattering changes that many expected. If anything, the current crop of AI programs are just more tools in the toolbox for marketers. But there are issues that we are still working out—and it looks like there will be more in the future. 

  • Still human-driven: Current AI tools still require quite a bit of human interaction to get them to be truly something good. You need to know the best ways to prompt the tools to get something good. 
  • Aggregators, not creators: AI isn’t truly creating as of right now. It’s simply taking what’s out there on the internet or the data its fed and cataloging and reorganizing it. 
  • Robot rights: Rights owners are fighting back. Artists are filing lawsuits to keep their works out of the AI datasets. And it looks like AI won’t have many rights in the future. 
  • Refine and refine again: All of the current AI tools still require a human touch for it to be market-ready. Hands in particular seem to be difficult to render.  

Looking ahead to AI

While the current crop of AI tools is impressive, we’re still far from the AI takeover. For the foreseeable future, AI will need human guidance. Just like when desktop publishing programs came to the PC, the programs required some deep knowledge of how to work a computer. AI tools have a lower barrier to entry now, and it’s likely they will in the future too. 

We’re excited for the future. Right now, AI is a tool in our toolbox. It’s a boon to productivity, and great for those that want to do creative work with a little elbow grease. It’s looking like AI will make it easier to do better work, and we’re very excited to see what comes in the next few years—but we’re not worried about our day jobs. 

About the author
Owen O’Riordan is a Senior Copywriter at Esrock Partners, a foodservice marketing agency located near Chicago, Illinois.

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