Posted on June 20, 2023 by Codec Team

Can Generative AI really replace creativity?


Historically, creativity has been predominantly regarded as an exclusively human endeavour. As one Twitter user put it; “Humans doing the hard jobs on minimum wage while the robots write poetry and paint is not the future I wanted”. Source

But, we are now firmly in ‘the future’. The robots (in the form of Generative AI) are here, prompting significant concerns regarding their potential impact on humanity and society.

Despite the dizzying speed of its recent development and availability, AI has been on the scene for a while. While it is impossible to predict what the future holds, we believe that education on, and democratisation of tools and processes is the best way to ensure that they find the right place in our industry. 

Today, we’re arguing that the creative industries don’t need to see Generative AI as a threat just yet. 

AI holds promising prospects as a tool, not a competitor

AI can serve as an enabler by offering new sources of inspiration and ideas generation and providing innovative solutions to creative challenges. Artists, designers, and writers can utilise Generative AI to explore uncharted territories and expand their creative horizons, establishing a symbiotic relationship between human and robot creators.

Already, we are seeing this use of Generative AI make its way to the forefront of brand marketing, for example, the recent ChatGPT-powered billboard campaigns by Mcdonald's and Burger King

While ChatGPT saved some copywriting time for the creative team, the real magic of the campaign (the phrasing of the input, the colours of the copy to represent each brand’s bestselling burger, and the initial idea) was added by humans.

This is in line with the way AI has traditionally been used as a tool. At Codec, we use AI image clustering to create a visual representation of our communities, saving our clients time and effort manually searching the internet. The real magic is then done by our strategy team, who pull insights that can be used throughout the marketing workflow - for example, to inspire product packaging design or marketing campaigns. 

AI is known for its ability to enhance efficiency by automating repetitive tasks. In the case of Generative AI, this means freeing creators' time and mental energy to concentrate on their work's more intricate and imaginative aspects. 

Duolingo recently announced that they are now using GitHub’s generative AI tool, GitHub Copilot, to help their developers write and ship code. The CTO Severin Hacker explained: 

[The tool] stops you from getting distracted when you’re doing deep work that requires a lot of your brain power,” Hacker noted. “You spend less time on routine work and more time on the hard stuff.

This valuable respite affords developers at Duolingo the luxury of time to invest in producing more innovative features and courses for their language-learning consumers, and driving the creative development of the brand itself.

The potential for Generative AI to speed up certain phases in a set development process opens so many possibilities. From assisting with copywriting tasks to taking initial ideas to thought starter storyboarding, within the creative and media industries we can employ it in areas of development, rather than completion to see real results and efficiencies. 

AI understands and serves online communities faster

At Codec, we use our AI-powered dashboard to connect brands with the communities that matter most to them. The dashboard - updated in real-time - provides users with a wealth of data to help identify opportunity spaces for their brand. This can then be used to power decision marking across the entire marketing funnel. 

For example, generating clusters of popular imagery, looking in the right place for a partnership, or breaking down a topic into live sub-topics and conversations is the first step that Codec’s artificial intelligence could take. 

These data become useful starting points for creative teams, using Generative AI tools or not, to help with creative idea generation.

Generative AI can also be used to deliver more engaging brand activations to your communities, in a way that feels collaborative and exciting. Creative agency Mirror used Generative AI during a creative brand event for Bulgari in June 2023, encouraging customers to allow their own emotions and brain activity to instruct creative Generative AI to create an artwork in live-time.

“Inspired by the captivating world of precious gems found in nature [guests] had the opportunity to co-create their own unique digital artwork…Guided by the expertise of the brand and assisted by generative artificial intelligence, guests infuse their emotions and thoughts into the creative process, resulting in a truly personal masterpiece. 

The value of human work

While there is cause for concern that AI work will flood markets and crowd out human efforts, we are hopeful that it will instead help elevate human work, making it more valuable. After all, the real brains behind ad campaigns like the McDonald’s/Burger King billboards are the human ones cleverly injecting some humour and irony. 

We have historically witnessed this pattern unfold in various ways. While technology helps speed up an output, the value is always found in the human aspect.  Handcrafted/well designed furniture is preferred over mass-produced alternatives, a handwritten note carries greater significance than an email and unedited photos possess a more profound impact than those altered in Photoshop.

Much of the AI currently under development, including our own platform, is specifically designed to complement human capabilities rather than overshadow them. 

At Codec, we’ve been working with AI for over 8 years and have seen some of the ways it can enable and boost creativity in humans - both internally, and for our clients. If you’d like to learn more - get in touch

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