Is AI Gunning for Our Jobs as Creatives?
Artificial intelligence has been around for a while. It’s already revolutionizing the way we shop and travel, finding us the best deals on flights, tracking our packages in real time, and giving us dinner suggestions (thank you, Alexa). But with the advent of AI-generated art, what about its potential impact on our careers? Could it be threatening our jobs as artists or creative professionals?
As a marketing creative myself, I’m on the fence. Is AI an adversary or an invaluable assistant?
What does AI mean for creatives?
Have you seen the story about an “artist” who won a blue ribbon at the Colorado State Fair’s annual art competition? He used Midjourney, an AI program that turns lines of text into hyper-realistic graphics to create his award-winning piece. He made new art based on established art. But is that legit? It’s an admittedly intricate and beautiful piece (you can see it here), but who’s the artist—the typist or the AI? As a copywriter, I can express my artistic side in a way I never could before using these programs. But could I profess myself a digital artist? Probably not, as evidenced by the image shown here. But it’s kinda fun. However, for those artists on whose works these images may be based or the stock imagery sites these pictures are scraped from, not so much.
Could AI take over?
Humans have used tools like computers and calculators throughout history: these tools don’t replace us—they enhance our own capabilities. They make us more efficient by giving us access to information faster than our brains could process on their own. Computers also allow us to work smarter instead of harder by automating tasks that might otherwise take up too much time or energy if done exclusively by hand. It may be a simple thing, but anyone who has prepared MRL submissions by highlighting references using a ruler and a pen knows how time saving “Command F” can be. And in my case, a creative who can’t draw to save her life, Stable Diffusion lets me have a little fun with images. But do I call it art? In my case, mmmmaybe not.
AI versus humans
There is a fierce debate over AI vs human artists that I won’t get into here. In my mind, AI is just another tool that can help us do our jobs better. Why? AI can’t match human creativity or emotional intelligence—at least not yet. They can be used to generate content that is similar in style and tone with what humans produce, but they can’t come up with new ideas and they lack wit! Anyone who’s seen The Terminator knows that. Seriously though, isn’t their utility based on a human’s ability to wield it?