Kyle Duckitt
Mar 26, 2024

How the 'humancore' trend on TikTok made me reimagine the role of AI

As the ‘humans being humans’ trend goes viral on TikTok, BBH's Kyle Duckitt explains how marketers can tap into the connection between humancore and AI.

How the 'humancore' trend on TikTok made me reimagine the role of AI

Talk of AI is omnipresent – how it will transform industries, optimise our daily tasks, maybe even gain sentience someday and become our cyber overlords. But alongside these narratives, there's a quiet revolution taking hold of our social platforms:

Humancore. It's a celebration of the unfiltered, authentic parts of being human, a collective rebellion against the evolution of platforms becoming giant billboards for brands and influencers who project glossy, unattainable lifestyles. 

Humancore: Refreshingly real

Huh, humancore? This trend flips the script on everything we've come to expect from social media. It's wildly popular on TikTok, of all places, because those short, off-the-cuff videos make it easy to be accurate. Instead of meticulously staged photoshoots, we see people waving at jumbotrons, kids splashing at the beach, someone practising guitar – y'know, the perfectly imperfect stuff of everyday life. It's like someone punched a hole through the picture-perfect social media bubble. 

@themarlafay humans being humans ���� #travel ♬ The Winner Is - DeVotchKa & Mychael Danna

Humancore and AI: An unexpected connection

How does this newfound appreciation for imperfection connect with the new AI era?  It made me reconsider our relationship with artificial intelligence. Consider the tasks that AI excels at – from data analysis and accounting to automated scheduling. Taking over these duties, which felt pretty robotic, offers us an unexpected gift: time and mental space. With this newfound freedom, what might we discover about what makes us human? 

@lifewithinesxrodriguez There are so many of them �� #humans #peoplewatching #unseenheroes #humansbeinghuman ♬ original sound - lifewithines

For brands, it's time to ditch the fake and embrace your humancore

This is usually where brands stumble. In this wave of craving connection, Humancore isn't a trend you chase with fake "realness" filters on polished self-promotion. If you genuinely embrace Humancore, it'll be in utilising AI to empower real, heartfelt interaction. For example, in customer service, let AI bots handle routine queries so human representatives can handle sensitive and complex issues. Let AI handle general sales promotions and spend human resources creating content that celebrates the journey to creation – sharing behind-the-scenes processes highlighting failed prototypes alongside triumphs. This shift builds trust and resonates far more profoundly than curated marketing ever could.

@livmackriley These were a few of my favorite very special moments during a hockey game���� I wish I could tell the first couple how sweet of a moment it was to witness them�� #humancore #humansbeinghumans #jumbotron #boston #bostonbruins #hockey #bruins #fyp ♬ love actually is all around - Juliet

 Beyond optimisation: Rediscovering simple joys

Beyond the world of commerce, the humancore trend has ramifications for our lives. With AI streamlining the "shoulds" of daily life, perhaps we will rediscover the magic of simple existence. Think unstructured time with loved ones, unhurried walks to nowhere, or embracing a creative pursuit simply for the joy of it. In an age of relentless optimization, we may value downtime and spontaneous interactions just as highly – at least, I hope! 

@luciasoooria cc: @rtamarino #aesthetic #fyp #people #vitalenta #parati ♬ Glimpse (Slowed + Reverb) - Gabriel Albuquerqüe

AI & the core of humanity

AI will undeniably transform our world. But the 'humancore' trend reminds us that imperfection, spontaneity, and sometimes peculiar human touch remain irreplaceable. Ironically, advanced AI may emphasize and enhance these qualities. Perhaps it takes cutting-edge technology to reveal that our vulnerability, our quirks, and our innate imperfections are precisely what makes us exceptional. 

I will leave you with this question: As a brand, how can you lean into what makes you weird, vulnerable, quirky and, most importantly, human? 

Kyle Duckitt is the head of cultural strategy at BBH Asia Pacific.

Campaign Asia

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