Much hullabaloo has already been generated by the launch of CHATGPT, the generative chatbot launched by OpenAI. Based on foundation inputs, it has the ability to engage in conversations which are surprisingly human, just as the DALL-E (version 2) is able to convert text into images, with delightful ingenuity and clarity.
Generative AI (Artificial Intelligence) can generate text, images or audio that are seemingly original and fresh, by replicating the patterns of a specific set of data. In an advertising or digital content context, an endless series of social media posts or even ad copy can be created by this technique, without any prima facie human intervention. While many view this development as a threat to flesh-and-blood livelihoods, I do have a wholly different point of view.
Every kind of creative economy (whether technology, fashion, content or art) can usually be divided into two clear categories, the original and the replication. For every original Gucci bag there are a million clones while for every great advertising idea, illegitimate global offsprings thrive. Sometimes the copy is formal, like the Bollywood adaptations of South Indian successes or voice/video cloning, while most often, the emulation is clearly irregular.
In either case, the human skill set optimal for such acts is exactly what Generative AI is best equipped to substitute, including the application of minted ideas in a new format. A whole host of content work on social media observes this pattern, as the routine posting calendar is best served templatised. Which is truthfully, the most time-consuming and labour-intensive part of any creative agency’s operational timesheet, and increasingly platinum priority for digital-first clients.
Which, therefore, brings me to the two potent opportunities that are rapidly emerging, firstly the restoration of original creative minds. Just as outsourcing liberated technology companies from the routine, agencies can now focus on genuinely innovative outcomes, which will remain a human secret sauce. This will potentially lead to greater premiumisation, as the assembly line gets increasingly mechanised and clients seek compelling disruption. Even talent will get skimmed the right way, as the mediocre get exposed and the brightest comes to the forefront.
But there will still be a role for the B-players in this growing episode, exactly as latest fly-by-wire planes need skilled pilots. No machine can be trusted to perform on its own, especially in the super-sensitive arena of brand management, and any clinical but ill-advised implementation can erode organisational value. So, the take-offs and landings for every output will be man-managed while the cruising altitude can be expertly handled by generative AI, thus leading to a sustainable equilibrium.
What’s true for the advertising industry can easily extend to film-making, literary transliterations and skilful creation of artworks. Clients will assign original strategy and creative work to the specialist agencies, while increasingly setting autonomous operations for Generative AI output, with appropriate navigators. Next time Bollywood wishes to convert a Telugu classic to Hindi, the machine can admirably recapture the dramatic context. When a multimedia extrapolation is needed, from written material to audio-visual, the data-aided interpretation can be ably inspirational.
To reiterate, the Generative AI evolution is the finest news for genuine talent, as their worth will be firmly established in terms of both fame and money. The creative universe will be further enriched as precious human acumen is not wasted on timesheet exercises and originality will overwhelm. The future is indeed bright, but only if we grab it with sincere opportunism.
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