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20 November 2017

Human + AI = Creative Genius?

Written by: Lou Cooper, Senior Writer at Edelman

Innovation, Technology

How is AI impacting the creative industries? And how can creatives work with AIs to produce the next generation of products and services? Edelman recently attended a Production Social event at Twitter HQ: AI & The Next Generation of Creativity. We listened to speakers like Patrick Stobbs, Co-Founder at Jukedeck and Saeema Ahmed-Kristensen, Prof. Design Engineering and Design Methodology at Imperial College London. This blog is inspired by what we heard.

Ever fancied yourself as one of those creative types? You know the ones I mean. Got their kicks, specs and threads down to a tee. Like drawing things on big pieces of paper. Win loads of awards. Basically have a blue-sky brain you’d like to clone.

You think I’m being flippant, but this dream science graduate scenario (maybe) could be a very real possibility in the near future. Ever since AIs began hitting the headlines, the projected impact of this developing technology on our daily lives has ranged from machines taking all our jobs to socio-political turmoil caused by the advent of autonomous weapons. So far so apocalyptic.

But the more hopeful among us are choosing to see the (very real) opportunities where others see only robo-doom.

One of the most exciting of these is the potential that AI has, to change the nature of our day-to-day work. By taking on the more repetitive tasks that we routinely have to perform (so, about those timesheets…), it frees us humans up to spend time on the inspiring projects that we never seem to have the time to kick back with a cold one and ponder.

The only slight spanner in the works is that having more time to pursue the idea that’s been rolling around in your head for months does not necessarily mean you have the skills needed to bring it to fruition.

Say you’re an entrepreneur with a great idea for a product, but aren’t trained in product design. Here’s where machine learning comes in. What if you could knock the idea around with something that could tell you whether it has legs from a creative, manufacturing, or marketing point of view, before you spend too much time or money on it? Or if there was a way to predict what people would like about a product, so you could apply it to the product design.

AI is based on human knowledge, so if you feed in data from the best and the brightest sources, you could have the added know-how to progress your idea and send it on the road to reality. Or cut your losses and move on.

In this way, AI has the potential to democratise creativity, opening up the field to a much wider pool of people and increasing the melting pot of talent that so often leads to innovation. It could support the maker community and bring better products to market faster, by reducing the number of people needed to test a product, if it has already been modelled on user behaviour.

By arming people with a whole new range of skills, we could inspire not just a new generation of creatives, but a whole new genre of creativity too.

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