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014 - AI: FRIEND OR FOE?
AI boom 101, why you don't need to be (too) scared of machines, and how to use AI to your creative advantage
What’s new? Did you get Lensa recently? Create your latest brand logo using Looka or video content with Runway? Sure, we haven’t seen killer robots yet, but in the wake of the recent AI boom (see: much-hyped ChatGPT launch; controversial Lensa AI explosion), age-old fears over AI’s power have resurfaced.
Luckily for us, Morning’s Creative Strategy Director Rhianna can shed some light on what we’re in for, plus how you can best use AI to your creative advantage…
There’s the fact that the mostly-white-and-male AI industry is “is at risk of replicating or perpetuating historical biases and power imbalances”. (It’s a no brainer: if we’re going to build a fair and equitable online future then the teams behind them need to be reflective of society. Yet only 22% of AI employees globally are female, and only 2.5% of Google’s workforce is black (with Facebook and Microsoft at just 4%), while little data exists on other minorities in the AI field).
Then the recent report from Vice that called into question how artificial or intelligent AI even is, uncovering the large scale human labour used to power it, particularly low paid workers in the Global South.
But that hasn’t stopped AI tools like DALL-E, Chat-GPT and Lensa enjoying their time in the limelight of late. There’s certainly something beautiful about the simplicity of DALL-E-2: Compared to other web3 spaces like crypto and NFT’s, where the knowledge barrier for participation is high, DALL-E-2 is relatively democratic. With nothing more than a few words, it gives you images that are both beyond your wildest dreams and totally matching your brief. It adds myth and magic back into the machine, while stretching your own ability to dream and create.
At MØRNING, we started exploring how we can incorporate AI tools into our creative process and content production, and saw an opportunity to create something unique to us: our own bot. DALL-E-2 was part of our brainstorming process, and we will be using the bot as a creative partner, ethically utilising datasets and open source code to explore the biases that live throughout our collective MØRNING brain - because being less shit starts at home.
Unsurprisingly, it’s left us all a bit nervy. NYC’s education department just banned the tool, “due to concerns about negative impacts on student learning and accuracy of content”. Meanwhile, reports claiming Gen Z now spend half their waking hours on screen, there’s undeniable pressure that brand managers, marketers, content creators etc. feel to answer the constant thirst for newness by generating loads of automated content.
Tools like ChatGPT will be key players in helping businesses across industries keep up with competitors, but we’ll have to learn to balance its advantages with its dangers, and its inevitable shortcomings. I decided to ask ChatGPT itself whether it was ethical or not, and it put the answer pretty nicely:
More recently, we saw another form of AI go viral online. Selfie-based artwork generator Lensa AI. Part of Lensa’s appeal is the same as that of face filters, social scientist Nick Yee told Time.com: “A lot of these apps are trained on models who conform to ideals of beauty in our culture. So sure, Magic Avatars is putting your photo in these fantastic scenarios and dressing up your portrait. But along the way, it’s also making a photo of you more ‘attractive.’”
As quickly as it came, it went - critics of the app claimed that Lensa was being powered by stolen artwork, dramatically slowing its use. But not before it made approximately $29.3 million in the app during that 12-day period, Sensor Towers reports. Funds that will never be evenly distributed to the creators that the artwork is allegedly built on.
So, what does AI really mean for creativity?
We spoke to James Wajura, a multi-disciplinary creative from Melbourne, Australia, currently working on an A.I. art exhibition titled, ‘My favourite fits and moments from around the universe’ to discuss the creative process when collaborating with AI.
> Can you tell us a little bit about your creative approach
“My creative approach always starts with the concept… This isn’t as easy as just making something that looks good because you are being intentional with your ideas and trying to make it cohesive. The A.I. has a mind of its own, and you are constantly trying to steer it into the direction you want.”
> Can you share your thoughts on the collaborative process between humans and AI - do they need each other? Can AI creation exist without human input?
“Right now, I view A.I. as a useful tool to quickly materialise our thoughts into a digital space. You still need real humans to bring things to physical space. Also humans are limitless, unbound and far more complex than A.I, but the A.I. is far more efficient at certain tasks, so why not utilise it.”
> How do you think AI will affect the future of the creative industries?
“This is a moment in history where a new technology comes in and has the potential to elevate humanity depending on how we go about adopting it.”
It all boils down to where we started: the fact that we (humans) are the ones making these machines. The same goes for whether AI will take our jobs: Ultimately, there can be no successful AI without humans determining it to be so. AI tools will continue to embellish and simplify different parts of the creative process, but as long as humans value human creativity, AI won’t be a match.
Here are 6 steps to use AI in your creative process (without it backfiring):
Bring A.I. into the brainstorming process - bringing a collection of images to collectively moodboard? Why not include DALL-E-2 or Midjourney in the mix? Idea dumping? Send ChatGPT an invite
Stay abreast of the new emerging tools and technologies out there - there are new tools coming out daily. OpenAI isn’t the only horse in this race. Water and Music have an amazing A.I. related channel for subscribers. Leave us a comment if you want us to share more materials
Be transparent about what you’re using and when, particularly if for campaigns. Your audience wants to be bought into the process - share the tools used, make sure credits are on point
Check the ethics behind what you’re using - is it actually artificially intelligent? Or is it built on the backs of low paid workers or stolen artwork?
Make A.I. your friend not foe - A.I. can be a great creative partner, in the future it might even be a necessity to perform at scale. It’s good to get familiar early, embrace the good and investigate the bad
Stay content-conscious - automation is dreamy if it frees up your headspace for more creative tasks, but remember there’s enough content pollution out there to last us a lifetime. Stay conscious and use the machine to build better, more mindful futures
And there we have it! We’ll keep on tracking AI’s coming-of-age, but for now, let us know how you’re feeling about it via Instagram.
Until next time 👹
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Words: Rhianna Cohen
Editor: Letty Cole