The Intro

As a copywriter studying creative advertising at School of Communication Arts, I am privileged to have had the opportunity to attend a masterclass given by @DaveBirss, The Sensible AI Guy – a top AI instructor on LinkedIn Learning, and an authority at the intersection of creativity, innovation and AI.

The Backstory

AI isn’t new. We’ve had (analytical AI) stuff like binge-worthy personalised recommendations, voice assistants and digital ads bought programmatically for some time now. But it’s generative AI that has hijacked the headlines since late 2022. That was generative AI’s full-monty moment. Heads turned, eyebrows raised, pulses quickened – all at the creation of new text, image, video and code from simple (and not-so-simple) natural language descriptions (prompts). Rather than analysing data to make predictions, generative AI uses its training data to create new data. Dave Birss called this sea change an industrialised solution to thinking. I’ve also heard it called, in ecology circles, a Cambrian explosion.  

Effectiveness v Efficiency

As a creative tool, generative AI (ChatGPT-4, DALL-E 3, Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, Runway, etc.) can help you to become more effective at what you do. Effectiveness rather than efficiency per se. It still takes time to get the best results from AI models (large language and diffusion models).

Collaboration v Substitution

Generative AI augments and extends rather than replaces your creative skills. You still need a human layer. You still need to ‘brief’ the LLMs, validate the work and add your own indelible voice and lived experience, your own humanity. Sure, generative AI can help with planning, adding different perspectives and creative territories, but there still needs to be a human in the process. It’s an act of collaboration rather than substitution. This, perhaps, can best be summarised as:  

1) AI: General knowledge

2) Human: Contextual knowledge

3) Human: Specific knowledge

© Copyright Dave Birss 2023

The fifth industrial revolution (with AI as its central component) is already rewiring and reorientating entire industries across the globe. It is tentacled, ubiquitous and will impact every area of our lives in the months and years to come. As a junior copywriter entering Adland, with generative AI in my creative toolbox, I can do more, realise more in terms of creative execution. The quadrants below illustrate just how profoundly AI will impact our lives and what we have to gain by being early adopters of generative AI. (I’m not entirely comfortable with the term “Subhuman”, although it does serve to support the argument being made.)        

                                 Do more


         Superhuman    – Transhuman


Without AI ————————————— With AI                                


         Human       – Subhuman


                            Do less

© Copyright Dave Birss 2023

Closing Remarks

Given how rapidly generative AI has progressed in the space of a year (compounded by my small circle of competence in this area), I’m in no place to make any firm predictions or come to any comfortable conclusions. Some have likened generative AI to photography (which was predicted to kill painting, but instead imbued painting with a new significance), but I think AI’s far more disruptive, more transformational than that. Ultimately, as this year comes to a close, I’ll be watching Google for the next move. I’m not referring to AGI, just a LLM that dwarfs ChatGPT. Gemini. To be clear, I think human creativity will continue to flourish for as long as there are humans on this planet. We’re social animals, a tribe, an extended family, after all. But I have no crystal ball when it comes to creativity for commerce. Here economic forces extract value from human capital. Ultimately, whether this story has a happy ending is not up to the machines. That responsibility lies with us. The all-too-human humans.

Scrolled this far? You’re committed. Now connect with me here…

LinkedIn    JLLouis

Twitter    @JamesLouisInc

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