Jan 26, 2017

Will AI lead to the death of creativity?

As artificial intelligence advances and processes get automated will our jobs start disappearing?

We’re bombarded with scare stories about robots taking our jobs, as artificial intelligence advances and processes get automated.

According to the author and visionary Kevin Kelly, whose  latest book The Inevitable explores AI, “You’ll be paid in the future based on how well you work with robots. Ninety percent of your coworkers will be unseen machines. Most of what you do will not be possible without them. And there will be a blurry line between what you do and what they do”.

This isn’t hype and the advertising industry certainly isn’t shielded from this future. In fact, cognification will radically transform it.

Chris Stephenson, Regional Head of Strategy and Planning for PHD APAC, thinks that in the near future, algorithms will supplant many of the roles that exist in the industry today, from marketing teams to art directors.

“These roles won’t be removed from the process entirely, but will instead oversee the algorithms and focus on new opportunities and ideas. Agencies themselves will be streamlined, and their services selected and evaluated by algorithms on the basis of a brand’s KPIs, business needs and corporate vision”. 

“But there’s no reason to be fearful – AI will open a realm of new opportunities and ensure marketing has a continued place in the boardroom”, says Stephenson.

But could AI lead to the death of creativity as we know it? 

“I don’t think so at all. In fact I think the opposite I think it’s going to be an amazing enhancer for the creative process”, commented Richard Fraser, Regional Managing Director Asia, Middle East and Africa at Proximity Worldwide and President BBDO Southeast Asia.

Tuomas Peltoniemi, President and Innovation Director, TBWA\ Digital Arts Network Asia Pacific, agrees; “I think one of the most interesting questions that people ask is ‘how AI is going to influence creative?’ and AI has been around programmatic media and things like this for a long time now, but I actually think AI has a huge role to play creativity as well. It’s really about finding better insights…perhaps tapping into things like IBM Watson  and start getting some thoughts about creative themes. I still fundamentally think the final product will be crafted by creative people and the ideas will be packaged by creative people. But things like insights and thought starters I think that’s where AI will play a huge role in creativity and creative process”.

Guy Hearn, Chief Innovation Officer at What's Next at Omnicom Media Group thinks AI will help us achieve the “holy grail” of advertising as we “move beyond targeting based on past experiences…and to be based on what I actually want – what my needs, hopes and ambitions really are”. 

PHD spoke to these and leading industry figures to find out how AI is going to influence the creative process, what the creative department of the future might look like and what are the skillsets are that people will need to adapt to this new way of working.

For more on AI and the other key tech trends shaping our future, visit PHD's Predestination series available on Campaign Asia.

Or read more on the PHD Predestination hub.

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