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IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE THE FUTURE OF CREATIVITY?

September 2022

▪ AI is changing the ways that brands can interact with consumer data to make better behavioral predictions through advanced analytics

Some of the most prominent uses for AI in marketing consist of advanced predictive capabilities, enhanced social listening, and automated optimization of serving digital advertising

New breakthroughs in deep learning algorithms are allowing AIs to learn from human creativity and mimic their output in a variety of creative fields such as copywriting, art, and music

The intersection of AI and human creativity is increasingly becoming more symbiotic and widely used, allowing creatives to free up more menial tasks and enhance their creative output

WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE?

While Artificial Intelligence (AI) may be a topic that you’ve seen on the news or heard about in passing, there are many misconceptions about what AI is and where we are in its development. Perhaps the broadest definition of AI, according to IBM, is “a field that combines computer science and robust datasets to enable problem-solving”, with the goal of producing machines and algorithms that can think and act rationally. Fundamentally, the way that AI works is to categorize sets of data by determining the sets of features that distinguish different categories of data from one another. This sounds rather mechanical and analytical at first glance, but advances in AI technology are having profound impacts on the world of human creativity. The question is, are we on the precipice of creating AIs that can replace human creativity? 

AI TOOLS FOR BRANDS

AI is transforming customer-facing services for marketers, increasing efficiency, and optimizing user experience. Brands can use AI to track their customers’ preferences, habits, and behavior to make predictions on consumers’ wants and needs using machine learning. This data can then be used to optimize the brand’s content, products, and services to more closely align with what their consumers are looking for the most. AI technology also helps optimize and accelerate many different marketing efforts, improving customer experience and increasing conversions. Looking at how you can use AI will enable you to better develop your brand and meet your customers’ expectations. Here are some artificial intelligence tools you should be thinking about implementing and leveraging into your digital marketing capabilities. 

Data Analytics: One of the most powerful uses for AI in your creative business is being able to process large amounts of data very easily, which in turn can help provide you with insights regarding how optimally your work is being done and patterns within your own work that can be built upon in the future; in essence, an in-house monitor. This is useful in tracking marketing KPIs, by aggregating data and identifying and analyzing trends across an omnichannel journey. 

Social Listening/Response Monitoring: One task even simple AIs are adept at is being able to monitor and aggregate response data and identify trends between what is being well received publicly and what is not. Companies like Netflix have been instrumental in developing social listening AIs to determine what kinds of content are more likely to be engaged with, and many in the digital marketing world are beginning to follow suit. 

Digital Ad Optimization: Just like the gaming industry has begun to automate testing programs, so too can you use AIs to automate simpler tasks such that you can free up your creatives to focus on the more complex tasks and problems. For example, automotive giant Toyota has recently begun using IBM Watson (in conjunction with Saatchi & Saatchi) to serve digital ads for the Prius Prime, in which Watson can serve one of over 300 customizable versions of the ad and learn over time with each user interaction to optimize the digital ad campaigns. 

Digital Ad Copywriting: In 2019, JPMorgan Chase signed a five-year deal with an AI developer called Persado, which focuses on developing AI capabilities for creative marketing endeavors. One of the first collaborations they worked on was developing an AI that used machine learning to write copy for their digital ads, which ended up outperforming copy written by humans when tested on consumers. Persado now says they are working with over 250 different marketers across fields such as retail, finance, and hospitality. (Source: Persado) 

Brand Language Optimization: Global giant eBay has been successfully working with AI powered customer experience platform Phrasee to optimize their email marketing campaigns since 2016. While in theory optimizing email marketing performances is a relatively simple A/B test, this becomes far less simple for a company the size of eBay, which has over 100 million email subscribers around the world. Thanks to Phrasee, which used natural language generation and deep learning to write copy at a mass scale while optimizing for performance dynamically, eBay has since seen 31% average click uplift and 16% average open uplift in the years since their collaboration started. (Source: Phrasee). 

HOW CREATIVE CAN AI GET?

New technologies, and in particular artificial intelligence, are fundamentally changing the nature of creative processes, enabling more people to express themselves creatively. Creativity may be unique to humans, but just as AI can improve the efficiency of other systems and processes, it can also optimize the creative process.

AI + Writing
“As the world becomes more and more digitized, the way we create and consume content is changing. And with the advent of artificial intelligence, the way we write is changing too. AI is already being used to help people write more efficiently and effectively. It can suggest topics to write about, assist with research, and even provide feedback on your writing. And as AI continues to evolve, it will only become more and more integrated into the creative writing process. So, what does this all mean for the future of creative writing? Will AI eventually replace human writers? Or will it simply be a tool that helps us create better content? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure: the intersection of AI and creative writing is an exciting and ever-evolving field.” This section was written entirely by Simplified’s AI writer. For now, the future of creative writing seems to be one in which AI is used as a starting point for creative ideation and content creation, with human creativity having the final say. 

AI + Learning
In 2019, the Google Creative Lab launched the Teachable Machine, a way for anyone to make and train their own machine learning algorithms to use for their websites, apps, or business. As of today, there are three forms of models one can train (photo models, audio models, and pose models), with more on the way as the Creative Lab continues to build out different accessible forms of AI. This innovation represents an easily accessible, easily trainable AI that can serve as a stepping stone for those that are skeptical of more complex models. 

AI + Media
The world of content is rapidly changing, and this is particularly true for the media industry. As far back as 2017, the emergence of “synthetic media”, or media at least partially developed by AI started and has skyrocketed in use and quality over time. One of the leading developers of synthetic media, specifically AI created videos, is Synthesia, and their mission is “to empower everyone to make video content – without cameras, microphones, or studios. Using AI, we’re here to radically change the process of content creation and unleash human creativity for good”. For examples of the process, check out some of their entirely AI-produced short videos! 

AI + Music
Eternity, a K-pop group comprised entirely of 11 unique AI characters and released by Korean artificial intelligence company Pulse9, debuted in March 2021 to resounding success in the K-pop scene. The 11 avatars were selected out of 101 possible avatars in a fan competition to see which would be the most appealing to K-pop fans, and all their music and videos are done entirely by Pulse9’s proprietary AI ‘Deep Real’. The group has released several songs already, including their latest hit ‘Paradise’, which has nearly 4.5 million views on YouTube in the four months since its release on Mar 29, 2022. 

AI-generated image of Pokemon Go pop-up shop

AI + Art
As you may have seen on the internet recently, AI text-to-image generators have been massively influential in popular culture and in social media. OpenAI, the creators behind DALL-E2, have recently announced that their new AI image generator, MidJourney, is now in open-beta, meaning anyone can use it for free. What makes MidJourney unique from other image generators is that each text prompt results in four image choices, which you can render out into high resolution. This AI program has several implications for artists, including high-resolution concept art across many different artistic styles which could massively speed up the creative prototyping process. Check out an example here generated from the prompt of ‘Pokemon Go pop-up shop’! 

Image of AI-generated chairs

AI + Design
A collaboration between famed-designer Phillipe Starck, software company Autodesk, and design company Kartell resulted in the first chair designed by an AI, which debuted at the 2019 Milan Design Week. In an interview with Dezeen, Starck noted that the collaborative process was “a lot like having a conversation”; “I asked the AI a question: do you know how we can rest our bodies using the least amount of material?” said Starck. “AI doesn’t have culture, memories, or influences and so can only respond with its artificial intelligence. This is the first chair designed outside of the human brain, outside of our habits, and how we are used to thinking.” (Source: Dezeen) 

IS AI ENHANCING OR REPLACING CREATIVITY?

With all the rapidly accelerating advancements that AI researchers are developing, it wouldn’t be unnatural to speculate on whether we are stifling and possibly replacing human creativity in the long run. However, many AI researchers insist that AI in its current form should be viewed as more of a creative tool than as a replacement for human creativity. “AI is not an ‘other’ – a hijacked sci-fi representation; it’s a tool, and it’s something we’re already engaging with every day,” said Harry Yeff, a professional beatboxer who was the first voice artist to ‘battle’ against an AI. 

In many ways, we’re still a long way off from AI’s being genuine ‘creatives’ in their own right, in part because most AIs are designed to be monitored by and subject to human input. In fact, most AIs used by creatives are used either to complete the mundane tasks necessary for the creative projects or to aggregate data to give creatives more insights and options into their own work. Mike Cook, an AI researcher at Queen Mary University in London, said this about the current intersection of creativity and AI: “Creative people still want a lot of control over what AI is allowed to do. That’s not a bad thing, and it’s still letting AI enhance our work in incredible ways, but I think the next step – accepting AI into our work as a contributor – will be a huge shift in the way people create”. 

As the world of AI and human creativity continues to expand, it’s time to stop worrying about whether AI can be more creative than man and start exploring how the human and machine worlds can intersect for creative collaboration never dreamed of before. 

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