Will Artificial Intelligence End up Replacing Creatives?

I am incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to go to several shows every year including NAB, SIGGRAPH, and Adobe MAX, to learn about creators. To properly serve our customers, we need to understand what creators do every day, what they aspire to do in the future and the overall trends of the various creative fields.

While at these shows, I try to attend a wide variety of sessions covering everything from technical skills to hearing about how people got their start and what inspires them to keep creating. But there is one session topic that I almost always prioritize going to, and that is anything having to do with AI (artificial intelligence) or machine learning.

Artificial intelligence is a very interesting topic for creators because it is already being used for a wide variety of tasks – likely more than people even realize. Content-aware fill, automatic object selection, finding stock content… the list goes on and on. What makes many creators uneasy is the fact that it is already extremely effective even though we are only scratching the surface of what AI can do.

With AI getting better and more robust every year, the underlying worry we often hear from many creators is: "Will AI replace me as a creator?"

The short answer is "no", but also… "yes". AI is very good at certain tasks – specifically ones where it has a large amount of data to work from. The good news is that these tasks tend to be tedious or annoying ones like searching for similar images, keyword tagging, rotoscoping or object selection, etc. What is it not good at is making something new or being creative.

So yes, it will likely replace many of the things you do every day (which in some instances may mean entire job roles in larger production houses), but I believe that the result will be that it will free you to focus on what you do best: being creative.

At one of the sessions I attended the other day during Adobe MAX, Dennis Harrington from Amazon commented how better tools (AI in this context, although he was discussing using VR for prototyping) allows you to do your work in less time. But that doesn't just mean less cost, but rather that you can use that extra time to evolve your design. Try new things, be bold, or simply polish an already great idea into a perfect one.

In the end, I believe that is what AI is going to do for creators. It isn't going to replace you, but it will make you vastly more efficient and allow you to stay in your creative process. Don't be afraid of what AI can do, but embrace it and leverage it to elevate your work to the next level. Just like everything else you use every day (be it your computer, Photoshop, or even a drawing pad and pencil), AI is just another tool for you to use to bring your ideas to life.