Embracing Human Creativity: Unleashing the Power of Artistic Expertise in the Age of AI
by Taylor Slattery | June 1, 2023
There has long been talk of the types of jobs poised to go the way of automation. We’ve seen this come to fruition in several industries already, such as manufacturing and customer service, where increasingly sophisticated robots are able to tirelessly perform the repetitive tasks required of such jobs. However, recently, and seemingly overnight, the conversation shifted from assembly lines to creative studios, with the spread of new tools like Stable Diffusion, Midjourney, and DALL-E reigniting the discussion over AI and its role in the workplace.
This latest wave of AI tools, including projects like ChatGPT, while incredible in their ability to aid in research, have also proven to be a disruptive force in schools where students were quick to exploit the tools for assignments like essays. While a number of institutions have already banned tools like ChatGPT citing concerns over hindered critical-thinking skills and cheating, others have rushed to build AI-based tools to utilize this new technology for themselves.
Meanwhile, as more information regarding the methods used for training image-generating AI tools became public, artists whose work had been used to train these tools began to explore possible legal ramifications on the grounds of copyright infringement. At present, Stable Diffusion and Midjourney are the subjects of a class-action lawsuit led by some of the affected artists.
Since then, AI has remained a hot topic of discussion. Ethics and legality aside, the question remains: how will we as creatives adapt to a post-AI world? Pandora’s box has been opened so to speak, and there’s no way to return to a time when these tools don’t exist. The extent to which companies will choose to use and rely upon AI for creative work remains to be seen, but especially as these tools become more accurate and accessible, it’s important for creatives to double down on the parts of their skillset that can’t be automated.
For example, say a company decided to forgo working with a creative agency, instead using AI to create its brand identity. One of the key limitations of AI in creative work is that it can only remix points of reference. Those looking to utilize these tools are limited to what they already are familiar with. The job of a designer isn’t just to combine reference material to create something pretty, but to use insights gained from interviews and research to craft a unique solution that not only meets functional needs but is also meaningful to the owner.
A large part of the process of crafting a truly bespoke solution for something like a brand identity takes place in conversation. The success of the deliverables—things like the logo, the color palette, and the website, are dependent on the level of understanding of the client, their goals, and their background that the designer is able to reach. Oftentimes what a client wants and what they actually need are two completely different things and it takes a skilled designer to extract the information necessary to help bridge the gap between the two.
Taylor is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Taylor is a graphic designer, illustrator, and Design Lead at Weirdsleep.