Creatives – AI is our friend, it’s not here to take over

There's no doubt artificial intelligence is transforming how we work, but will it be a threat or an asset to the way we create? The Monkeys Melbourne general manager Sophie Gosper explains why she welcomes AI's entrance into the creative realm.

Artificial Intelligence may have heads spinning about the threat of world domination and mass job losses, but in creative industries, marketing and advertising, we are greeting this technology with wonderment — and I am quietly confident that this is the start of a beautiful friendship, rather than a hostile takeover.

If anything, this tool creates more opportunities. It also challenges our ability for original thought, which will only benefit marketers and their brands. But anyone who believes artificial creative intelligence and human creative intelligence are the same, doesn’t appreciate true creativity, nor the role of creative agencies.

We’ve all read the playbook of transformative industries: the industrial revolution, the internet, the tech-boom. They irreversibly changed the shape of many workforces. And, in turn, dawned new professions to build, maintain and manage the tools of progress.

AI will have an equally powerful influence on the progress of humanity. Jobs and roles will change, which can be unsettling. But, the harsh reality is: If a robot can take your job, it probably should.

I’m not worried, yet, about robots swallowing up entire creative professions. But in areas such as high-volume messaging outputs, requiring minimal originality or creative input? We should welcome these gains in craft and production efficiencies. I’ve never met a creative who found writing segment variations of CRM push-notifications to be the best use or reflection of their talents, nor do I believe they’d care if an AI program got the gig instead.

My favourite comparison is by author and MIT institute professor Daron Acemoglu, who draws parallels between AI and the humble hand calculator. Calculators cannot produce human-like capabilities of reasoning, but they are superbly useful time savers and invaluable when in the hands of human. Acemoglu also says technology is malleable – it’s nothing but applications of human cognition and knowledge.

Our understanding of the world, society and emotions is complex, and humans can grasp the nuances of this knowledge to originate, create and produce — sometimes with the help of tech. Because we’re in the driver’s seat, not AI.

If you’ve ever been down a GenAI rabbit hole, you’ll have discovered that once the magical novelty wears off – in reality, the ideas are still highly rudimentary, and lack the diligence you get from an experienced (human) creative. For brands to maintain distinctiveness and fight for attention – we still need humans to come up with the idea. The robots simply help us get there quicker, and sometimes to a more interesting place. What we really want is a creative industry that works collaboratively with our new robot counterparts.

GenAI is a muse that requires human comprehension, says The Monkeys’ renowned Chief Creative Officer, Ant Keogh – who spends his waking (non-working) hours deeply dabbling in text-to-image art generators, like Midjourney or Runway.

“The ideas are magical, but there’s no sense to them,” Keogh says. “For creatives, AI is fun because it can throw up accidents, and creativity comes from accidents. It’s like a machine for possibilities that you have to make sense of.”

Today, brands need expert creative minds to help make sense of this new technology. The risk of mediocrity is high, as the temptation to slice marketing budgets and replace creative roles entirely with robots becomes a genuine consideration.

In a recent survey by Accenture, findings showed 98 per cent of CMO’s said AI will transform how they approach creativity and innovation. So, we know the appetite is there, we just need to ensure it’s being harnessed properly.

Sophie Gosper is the general manager at The Monkeys Melbourne, part of Accenture Song

In its current form, GenAI is like having an endless team of interns at your disposal. The contributions might not be entirely sound, they will need a lot of refinement – but you might also have enough foundation to work from.

CMOs, think of it – your marketing budget now enables you to get twenty new ideas for the price of five. All because our new favourite intern, ‘GenAI’, can churn out first drafts and rough key visuals – while the real creatives focus on building you an enduring and meaningful brand.

It’s hard to be cautiously optimistic about AI’s influence in creative fields, amidst debates about data-scraping, copyright battles, and the agendas of large corporations. But in agencies, my observation is that technology is mostly being met with intrigue and excitement, and already elevating our output.

So, let’s embrace these platforms, comforted by the knowledge they are nothing without us prompting and influencing them. Let’s also be humbled by what we receive in return, like the gift of filling a blank page from ChatGPT, or lessons in the surreal from Midjourney.

Creative Director Adam Slater described the relationship to me as: “A year ago GenAI for creatives was just a stick, and now it’s progressed into a tennis racket. But that doesn’t make you a tennis star.”

The output is only ever as good as the hand holding the tool. But the tool is there to enhance our performance – and I for one am excited to witness the unfolding genius that awaits.

So, welcome robots. I am glad you’re here. And when you eventually do take over, remember – I was on your side.


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