AI is Killing the Creative Industry Professionals: Top-Tier Creatives Provide Their Perspective  | Rock & Art

AI is Killing the Creative Industry Professionals: Top-Tier Creatives Provide Their Perspective 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a reality and has burst into everything we do. There is no denying it is an incredible technological advancement aiding throughout, but there is a flowing, eerie feeling in the creative industry. In a sense, AI is killing creative industry professionals, taking away their jobs and leaving them out of the game.

Artists, writers, designers, copywriters, proofreaders, editors, and the list goes on, are seeing how their client lists are shrinking at an unprecedented pace. The fear is there. It continues to grow as AI evolves daily, incorporating faster and better updates. Currently, AI can produce an article or image in seconds, something that creatives, as good as they are in their trait, will never be able to achieve.

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To set things straight on this AI Tsunami and give creative beginners and professionals a reality check, Rock & Art (R&A) has asked top-tier creative professionals. Learn what these pros have to say about the irruption of AI in the creative industry. Is creativity doomed and absorbed by the AI tech revolution? Let us find out!

But before we do, let us start with a brief introduction to AI. Maastricht University Master’s, Lucas Thil, a former colleague of mine, currently, Autoderm CTO and Cofounder, helped me through this part by peer-reading and adding his view on the current AI scene.

How does Artificial Intelligence work?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a mathematical optimisation that provides autonomously through experiences a fast path to solving a wide range of problems.

But is this intelligence?

What is Intelligence?

Going through various dictionaries, we can read that, intelligence is the ability to:

  • Learn, understand, and have opinions that are based on reason. Cambridge.
  • Think, reason, and understand instead of doing things automatically or by instinct. Collins.
  • Learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations: REASON. Or to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (such as tests). Merriam-Webster.
  • The faculty of understanding; intellect. Or the action or fact of mentally apprehending something; understanding, knowledge, comprehension (of something). Also (now rare): an act of mental comprehension. Oxford.

We can summarise it as the skilled use of reason.

So, to start us off, the term AI does not suit the subject very well, i.e., it is not tailor-made to its functionality.

A Brief History of Artificial Intelligence

The reason behind this label comes from who coined the term. ‘Artificial Intelligence’ was coined by Professor John McCarthy in 1955, as a proposal for the 1956 Dartmouth Conference, the first artificial intelligence conference.

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The objective was to explore ways to make a machine that could — reason like a human, it was capable of abstract thought, problem-solving, and self-improvement.

  • Prof. McCarthy: “… every aspect of learning or any other intelligence feature can in principle be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it.”

These first steps into the realm of AI understood it could reach human intelligence capabilities. Currently, there are two AI types — Smart Systems and Neural Networks and three defined AI stages — Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI), Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) and Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI).

All advancements in AI’s history fall under ANI, also known as Weak AI. But before digging deeper into these AI stages, it is important to understand its evolution, we will not dwell too much on the topic, as it is not the purpose of this article.

Although McCarthy was the first person to coin AI and be the founder of MIT CSAIL and SAIL, Alan Turing set the foundations. “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” (Mind, October 1950), by Alan Mathison Turing, presented the Turing Test.

In this paper, he introduced the concept of intelligence in computers and formulated the Turing Test to identify if a computer could be said to “think”. The idea was that if a human interrogator could not tell the computer apart, through conversation, from a human being it could be considered to “think.”

From this groundbreaking concept, AI began to grow and through the decades it rose and fell into, what is known as AI Winters. Succinctly, the decades built as follows:

  • 1950s — Turing Test and Dartmouth Conference.
  • 1960s and 70s — AI research was heavily funded by the U.S. Department of Defence and AI labs were established worldwide.
  • Mid-1970s — Lack of progress due to unforeseen difficulties stopped funding, resulting in the first AI Winter.
  • The early 1980s — Revived AI due to Smart Systems’ commercial success, reaching by the mid-1980s the billion-dollar mark. Countries like the US and the UK injected funding on an academic level.
  • 1987 — AI’s commercial flagship Lisp Machine collapsed, and the second AI Winter arose.
  • The late 1990s and early 2000s — AI’s specific solutions to specific problems, brought it back to the scene.

Currently, AI is used by one out of five companies that report they have incorporated AI in some offerings or processes. But it is worth mentioning this new path is creating a stream of researchers who understand AI is deviating from its initial purpose, creating versatile and fully intelligent machines.

To conclude this brief AI history, let us focus on Generative AI — currently, used the most. We can agree on two major stepping stones, pushing artificial intelligence’s evolution forward to reach its present state.

Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM)

Long Short-Term Memory, was introduced by ​​Hochreiter & Schmidhuber (1997), and its breakthrough is that LSTM, which is a type of Recurrent Neural Network (RNN), provides us with the possibility to keep track of earlier inputs and for longer periods, thus, eliminating the long-term dependency problem that was seen in common RNNs.

In practice, this approach, helps AI to work as a human brain, retaining and forgetting information helping to predict the current state. As such, LSTM works well for tasks related to:

  • Connected handwriting recognition.
  • Speech recognition
  • Anomaly detection in network traffic
  • IDSs (intrusion detection systems)

BERT Transformers

The Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) is a Neural Network used for Natural Language Processing (NLP) tasks using attention mechanisms to understand the semantics + meaning of the actual text. It is the best model in recent years performing better than humans, in some areas, on text comprehension.

The innovation BERT introduced to Transformers is its capacity to read in context bidirectionally, in other words, it enables the representation to fuse the left and the right context, which allows pre-training of a deep bidirectional Transformer. In addition, it is also capable of “next sentence prediction” by jointly pre-training text-pair representations.

In plain language, BERT can understand the difference between:

  • “The wolf ate the lamb” and “The lamb ate the wolf.”

It can identify the different structures between languages translating, not word by word but attends to the specifics of each language, e.g., “The house is red” if translated into Spanish, it knows that it has to use the feminine “la” so it would translate it to “La casa es Roja”.

In this sense, Generative AI is an evolution of BERT, as GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer, which is also a great tool for a wide range of Natural Language Processing (NLP) tasks, achieving outstanding results in General Language Understanding Evaluation (GLUE), Stanford Question Answering Dataset (SQuAD), Situations with Adversarial Generations (SWAG) and Multi-genre Natural Language Inference (MNLI), among others.

In conclusion, you can read Lucas Thil insights regarding the present AI´s scene:

As for the technical parts, the current lift-off happens thanks to the compute power explosion available, which is crucial in scaling ML applications. Now that machines get more precise, the field accelerates in smaller yet more capable systems: see Mistral vs OpenAI.”

Lessons from Top-Tier Creatives: To AI or Not to AI

Is the fear of losing your professional position as a creative increasing? Before you start flipping out and shouting out from your window, swear words. Wait, listen to what these pros say about the use of AI in the creative industry. These invaluable insights might help you steer your professional career to unsuspected levels.

Robert Bly

For 4+ decades, Bob has been writing high-performance direct response copy for IBM, AT&T, Intuit, Forbes, Medical Economics, ITT, and dozens of other smart direct marketers, both large and small, who want to get more leads and sales — online and offline.

He won many awards, such as Gold Echo from the Direct Marketing Association, IMMY from the Information Industry Association, two Southstar Awards, American Corporate Identity Award of Excellence, among many others. He is also the author of The Digital Marketing Handbook (Entrepreneur Press) and The Copywriter’s Handbook (Henry Holt). You can learn more about him via his website and connect on LinkedIn.

He was kind enough to let us into a chat he had with Nick Usborne about AI, and here is what R&A consider his highlights. If you want to listen to the whole chat between these two direct copywriter tycoons, connect with Bob.

Bob starts his chat by introducing a quote by Albert Einstein:

“I fear the day when technology overlaps with our humanity. The world will only have then a generation of idiots.”

From this introduction, Bob presents two basic AI uses:

  • The first one is what he calls Idea Vetting, which he doesn’t use to write copy, but rather to research for, what is known in direct response copywriting, the big idea promotion. By using AI he can understand if this big idea would make a good direct mail package, in his own words “Does the idea that I think is a good idea, have enough legs to stand on, that is strong enough that I could go ahead with confidence and write research and write the promotion on my own.”
  • The second use of AI for Bob is “languaging”, this is to learn about “How people talk about this? I know what the ideas are. But that’s one thing I like about focus groups. I don’t think focus groups can tell you whether a product is going to sell or not, but you get to hear how consumers talk about the product and the problem.”

Another interesting idea Bob presents to explain why he stays away from AI:

  • “I’ve been writing copy, 12 hours a day, 5 days a week, 60 hours a week, 51 weeks a year for over 40 years without missing it. If I don’t know how to do this by now, I must be incredibly stupid. I don’t feel the need for it. If I felt it could do something really helpful for me I would use the one thing.”

Sophie Cross

Sophie Cross is the editor and publisher of Freelancer Magazine, a quarterly 100-page glossy print business magazine for creative and B2B freelancers. If you want to connect with her, her LinkedIn profile, Sophie Cross, is the best channel.

When we asked her to provide R&A with her perspective on the AI irruption in the creative market, she said: 

“I think that, as scary as it seems, AI has been around for decades, and it is not going anywhere. Knowledge is power so, I believe, to bury your head in the sand about it or fear it will not help. I’m starting to learn about it, the risks and myths around using it, and how it can enhance my working day; helping me do tasks that I don’t want to do to make my business more competitive and increase the amount of time I have to do creative and strategic tasks.

Who knows where it will take us, but I do not want to be left behind and I think the people using it to get more efficient at tasks they do not want to do and blending their talent with AI will be the ones winning.”

Sam Lightfinch

Sam Lightfinch is a strategic storyteller, speaker, and artist. For 3800, he uses strategy, behaviour design and creativity to craft stories that deliver against business and commercial objectives. For his personal work, he drafts short stories and makes art. His focus is telling stories with heart.

Taking a couple of minutes from his tight schedule, Sam wrote for R&A, the following:

“I believe that AI will have an enormous impact on our society, and quickly.

Looking at it as a storyteller and artist, I am optimistic that AI will be a tool I can use to shortcut parts of my process.

I do not need it to have an idea for me, but it can help me order thoughts and give me prompts for frameworks.

I can see the legitimate fear from creatives and artists that AI will undercut them and replace them. I believe there’s room for both.

A digital camera is much more accessible to most people, and more pictures are taken than ever. Yet, it does not devalue film photography. In fact, I would argue that it adds value and increases demand among certain audiences, because it is a slower process that involves more human thought.

In a world where most people are happy having bad pictures on their phone, there are still plenty of us who will part with hard-earned money to print and hang people’s images on our walls.

I think AI will drive up the price of human thinking and human art (but I cannot deny it will be responsible for a lot of mediocrity, too).

Dr. James McCabe

The Story Doctor James McCabe is a classical story designer across creative and corporate industries and has coached hundreds of organisations and individuals over the last thirty years. James blends the best of traditional Irish storytelling with a global awareness of narrative and dramatic systems.

Do you want to connect with him? The best way is via LinkedIn, James McCabe. Before you do, read the lines he kindly wrote for you, structured into ten points:

  1. The bots were given poetic names like Poe and Bard because they were innately unpoetic and anti-creative. Their names are camouflaged.
  2. Proponents of the bot stress the combinatory nature of all creation. But this is not an exceptionally large part of the creative process. A 5% only.
  3. The nine muses are born of memory. Mnemosyne is the mother of all art. Not our memory. The planets. You cannot algorithmicise it.
  4. It will all end in tears. Right now, everyone else at the party is high except you. Nevertheless, it will all end in paranoia, tears, and grief.
  5. The shiftwork of research is the source of inspiration. You cannot get someone else to do the ironing and still believe you are a poet.
  6. There has been a thirty per cent drop in freelance copywriting offers in the bare year since the bot was introduced. Do the math. Pure evil.
  7. This is not Ludditism. This is not tin-hat-ism. This is not the printing press. Or a search engine. Such comparisons are moronic.
  8. Everyone says you cannot put the genie back in the bottle. More cretinism. Genii live in bottles – and always go back there.
  9. Generative Artificial Intelligence. GenAI for short. Two misnomers. Degenerative because it never generates anything at all new. And not Intelligence but Knowledge. Knowledge is existing information. Intelligence is the awareness of what is still missing.
  10. When you want to subvert a thing like human creativity, always proclaim you are saving it. From itself. Like, pure evil.

Sabotaje al Montaje

Matías Mata (Sabotaje al Montaje) is a street art artist born and raised in the Canary Islands, Lanzarote. Currently, he is a well-known artist who has sprayed his ephemeral art throughout the streets of the Canary Islands, Senegal, Argentina, Jordan, Norway, Italy, England, France, Colombia, and the USA.

If you’d like to learn more about Sabotaje al Montaje, you can access his website here or connect via his social media profiles — Facebook and Instagram. Regarding AI, he has been kind enough to steal time from his schedule to write:

“Well, based on my experience when I first tried artificial intelligence, I spent an entire Sunday experimenting, and one of my thoughts was that we were feeding a beast. A beast that can be especially useful for creativity, but in the world, we live in, we already replicate everything we have done in the history of art.

Nowadays, any tool that helps creativity is always positive. You must know how to manage it. Keep in mind that we are already giving it all that information, and all it does is copy and fuse copies of everything. In the end, it is not a tool that seeks a solution, but rather copies to generate other incredible fantasy images. However, I think what it will do is contaminate more than create.”

Martin Sayers

Martin Sayers is a copywriter, marketing specialist, and owner of The Solopreneurs Arms – a digital pub that serves (free) tips on copy and marketing for small businesses.

“From my perspective as a copywriter, AI isn’t killing my industry – but it is changing it. AI is already better than the bottom 25% of the copywriting sector, so these people are getting wiped out. But what it cannot do is inject any humanity into copy for obvious reasons. So, the better copywriters – those who use personality and charm to convince – are safe. And I can’t see that situation changing any time soon, if ever.”

AI’s — The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

There are various takeaways we can extract from the top-tier creative professionals’ perspectives on artificial intelligence. As Spaghetti Westerns stuck with me throughout my childhood, teenage years, and adulthood, I will permit myself to introduce these takeaways subjectively adorning them.

  • The Good: AI is an amazing tool to help you soldier through parts of your work tasks, those monotonous, tedious, unwanted, oh-no moments.
  • The Bad: Its abilities are so darn fast and, in some ways, precise that AI can muster through tasks providing above-average results, and it does it for free and 24/7.
  • The Ugly: As with every new tin toy that pops up, every little boy and girl must have it, the same is happening with AI, and every freelancer, business, and enterprise must have it.

The Human Touch is Unbeatable

To wrap everything up and conclude, from the input the pros provided, it seems clear that AI is a great tool and something creatives must come to grips with as soon as possible. Throughout recent history, new technological advancements have entered the stage and disrupted certain areas of industries, e.g., computers, mobile phones, and electronic calculators, among many others.

However, the human touch is still unbeatable, even more so when it is the creative industry we talk about. This is a fact, AI replicates, humans create and from the information gathered it does not seem likely that artificial intelligence will ever become intelligent. Thus, creatives, use your intelligence wisely, be charming, research inspiration, and please do not shadow away stay strong.

We hope this article brought sufficient inspiration to you from top-tier creative professionals and insightful considerations, for you to acknowledge AI as a reality, not an enemy or confidant. It is part of the industry. Now it is up to you to do with it, what you consider is the right thing to do for you to keep growing and evolving in an ever-changing market, industry, society, planet, solar system, galaxy, universe, infinite.