For a long time, creatives have felt safe in the artificial intelligence world. But now, we're not so sure.
It is often said that AI cannot display creativity or emotions and that these factors stop it from being able to accurately replicate a human. However, have we now broken down another barrier with emerging technology? Is it true that AI is capable of being creative?
There have been many advancements recently in the world of creative AI and in this article we are going to explore what’s out there today.
We hear a lot nowadays about AI and whether it is going to take over our jobs. While AI will not replace humans as such, it will certainly replace many jobs across different industries in the future.
When it comes to creativity, it cannot be denied that AI will struggle to fully replace creative roles, particularly because art and design are so subjective, but the tools that exist already are extremely capable of producing complex art work which can evoke human emotion.
What is creative AI?
“Where AI is the simulation of intelligence in machines, Creative AI is the simulation of creativity in machines” - Ed Newton-Rex
So, what actually is creative AI? In short, it is the use of machines to create art. Creating art, graphics, images, music, books - literally anything is possible in the creative AI world.
There are many different ways that people have harnessed the power of machines in this way, some have created bots that will generate any kind of artwork possible, or have used AI to piece together a movie trailer or a song.
We are seeing creative AI popping up everywhere in every industry and it is going to be interesting to see what advancements are still to come with this technology.
AI technology in the creative industry
“To an AI, creativity isn’t exactly the power of imagination as much as it is the power of creation" - Mara Anton
Below are three examples of AI art tools which use machine learning to create pieces of art. You can give some of them a try for yourself by visiting their website links.
We can’t deny that it’s pretty impressive what some machines can do!
Midjourney is an independent research lab that produces a proprietary artificial intelligence program that creates images from textual descriptions, similar to OpenAI's DALL-E.
In order to use their platform, you need to sign up via discord and then use the bot. You have 25 free images and after that you will need to subscribe.
To ask the bot to create an image, click into one of the ‘newbie’ channels and type ‘/imagine’ into the message bar, followed by your request. For example, for the image below we typed ‘a happy teddy bear in a field of daisies having a picnic bright vibrant cartoon’.
The bot will then generate four images in under 60 seconds based on your text. From there you can select one version that you wish to upscale.
On their platform you can also view pieces of art that users have asked the machine to create. The results are quite spectacular!
DALLE 2 is an AI system that creates realistic art images from descriptions in natural language. It interprets the language and then gives creative outputs. It can also extend already existing pieces of artwork or repurpose them.
You can input any text into their system and it will produce a piece of artwork like the one below. The words in black are what were chosen for this particular image. The combinations and possibilities on this software are endless!
Since DALLE was launched they have improved the capabilities and the machine can now generate images that are four times higher resolution and are overall more accurate. The newer version is better at matching an interpreting the captions and overall photorealism is higher quality.
Below is a comparison of what the machine created in version one vs version two:
AdCreative is an AI platform that can create and upload all your social media content with AI-driven data. AdCreative can:
- Design ads for every social media platform; Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest and Twitter. Each ad can be made a certain size which will be relevant for the platform.
- Generate copy - text and headlines where the machine will write in the correct way for your advertisement. You can input your target audience and the machine will select the appropriate language to use.
- Get creative insights into your ad performance across all social media platforms. You can gain a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t in your advertising campaigns.
- Generate social media posts that look professionally designed without any human involvement.
It’s scarily good! Give a whirl with a free account…
Creative AI examples
We have looked at two AI technologies that are used in the art space and one that is popular in the content creation space but what else can AI do that is creative?
AI can create music. IBM’s Watson and Sony’s Flow Machine are two examples of companies that have harnessed the power of AI to create music. A popular music producer called Alex da Kid teamed up with IBM’s Watson to try and create a song together. A whole song was written and produced using a machine.
AI has been used in the world of live music with musicians putting on virtual concerts to thousands of people. The most recent example of this is ABBA and their ‘Voyage’ tour which was entirely virtual. The band partnered with Industrial Light and Magic, a visual effects company who used advanced motion capture techniques to create virtual copies of the band. These virtual copies behave in the exact same way as the band members, mimicking eye movements and dance moves.
Another example of creative AI is in the film industry. AI was used to create the first ever cognitive movie trailer for a horror film called Morgan. The machine was fed scenes from the movie and it then picked out 10 different scenes to pull together as part of the trailer. This is the first time a machine has been able to do something like this without any human intervention.
In the food industry AI is also being used to create recipes and combine foods in different ways. There is even an AI-developed whisky that was created by a Finnish company in collaboration with Microsoft. AI is also being used to revolutionise the food research industry, with some companies using AI to create brand new food flavours or changing flavours of existing foods in ways that no human would be capable of doing themselves.
So, how about writing?
Surely, a machine surely isn’t capable of writing entire novels? We couldn't be more wrong. Initially, machines were only capable of writing short-form ‘journalistic’ style content but there have now been some examples of AI being used to write whole novels.
The results were slightly questionable and although it reads like a novel, it isn’t the same as a novel written by a human. The machine doesn’t have a real understanding of what has been said before and how that links to the future so it doesn’t quite make for a best-selling book. With technology advancing at the rate it is just now however we never know what might be in store for novel-writing and AI.
These are just some examples of AI being used across different types of creative industries and it is certain that AI will only continue to become more involved in these industries as time goes on.
Benefits of creative AI
So, what can AI do to benefit us as humans in the creative space?
Speed of production
Creative AI is opening up a world of opportunities for creatives in the 21st century. It is a way of speeding up the creative process, from brainstorming to designing to then publishing content, this removes the need to employ a human and as a result they can dedicate time to other more important and meaningful tasks.
Unique creative outputs
The type of creative work that AI is producing is unique and it’s possible that no other machine can produce something identical to that of a machine.
AI is also empowering non-creatives to be creative. By producing ideas and content and pushing the boundaries of the art world, people can see how diverse the creative world is.
The possibilities are truly endless.
No more creative blocks
With a machine doing the creative work you don’t have to worry about having a mental block or having a day where you feel less creative. The machine will always be able to produce no matter what. These machines can also produce at a pace no human is capable of working at, meaning output will be higher.
Ideation and collaboration
Using AI is also a way of opening up opportunities for collaboration and presents situations where people can build on other’s skills. It can ensure authenticity when it comes to producing something that is truly individual and representative of what the creator wanted and it can enhance confidence in a creator’s skills when they see what is truly possible with the use of machines.
Accepting and using AI is a way for humans to better understand how it works and how they can harness its power in a positive way for humanity. Accepting this viewpoint means we can reap the benefits of AI while still being able to do things ourselves and remain an important player in the creative process.
Concerns about creative AI
Naturally, there are concerns surrounding creative AI and what it means for the creative industry.
It is an extremely new concept that not many of us are familiar with and as a result there can be resistance towards these tools. Are they going to replace jobs in the creative industry? How can we control what these machines do with our ideas? How secure and safe is it?
Let’s look into some common concerns surrounding creative AI…
It’s just not the same as a human
Many are apprehensive about creative AI purely because the artwork and things they produce are simply not the same as if they were created by a human.
When we go to an art gallery and we view artwork we feel emotions and we can sense the journey of an artist. Seeing physical artwork and meeting artists can evoke emotions inside of us in a way that digital art cannot.
Many creatives argue that this is vital for their own jobs to remain safe, that humans realise digital content just isn’t the same as physical artwork.
Limitations in creative AI
Another concern is with regards to the limitations on what people can request these machines to create. With every AI tool there needs to be a policy which confirms that they will never create artwork which will offend others. Most tools state that they will not allow for harmful production of images that could be graphic, inappropriate or distasteful but we have to be sure that this will be monitored effectively. Most systems have been trialed and tested before being put to public use and they are continually improving on this front.
Creative AI and copyright issues
There are also concerns surrounding copyright. Who actually owns the artwork that is generated by these machines? What happens if people who were on the team are no longer living but the machine has produced content that needs to be owned by someone?
This is an ongoing concern and something which will need to be thoroughly investigated before any laws or regulations can be put in place.
Although there can be some resistance to AI as it is new and unfamiliar to many, we have to consider that in the past many technological advancements were initially uncomfortable and unfamiliar. People were not sure about television nor the smartphone but we have adapted to allow these tools a place in our everyday lives.
Will AI creativity ever match human creativity?
AI is extremely advanced and can perform some pretty incredible tasks but creative AI will never match human creativity. For the time being machines are not capable of replicating what a human can do with it’s mind when it comes to creativity. Creative AI is simply a tool to use alongside human creativity. It can speed up the process and produce more work at a faster rate than humans but we will always need a human input when it comes to creativity.
“AI cannot replace human creativity and idea generation, but it may be the greatest supplement to the human brain ever discovered.” - Vitaly Pecherskiy
Machines cannot interpret meaning in the same way that a human can. Being able to distinguish between levels of meaning and establishing what is meaningful and what is not is a fundamental element of human creativity that machines cannot replicate.
Machines have no understanding of social context. Things that make us human are our ability to understand the context around us, to adapt our communication according to our surroundings, to understand complex topics like politics and religion and understand and feel all kinds of emotions. AI at the moment has no ability to do this, meaning our human ability to be creative remains on top.
"Our intelligence is what makes us human, and AI is an extension of that quality." - Yann LuCun, Chief AI Scientist, Facebook
Will AI replace creative jobs?
Creative AI has certainly got a long way to go before it will replace any jobs in the creative industry. Although these platforms are forward-thinking and have some amazing features we are yet to see how their work can outperform humans in this creative industry.
Being able to walk around a museum and view artwork or visit a modern sculpture exhibition is still a more enriching and fulfilling experience than viewing artwork through a screen. This could change as humans evolve and adapt to the ever-growing digitalisation of our world. There are already many job roles that have been replaced by AI but the creative industry remains low-risk for now.
However, the importance of the human mind in the creative space is something that cannot be underestimated. Creativity is subjective and interpretive and humans are the only beings on earth that are able to produce such a personal and individual thing as art. AI for now is a supplement to creative roles.
AI can produce social media ads quicker and provide useful data insights, or it can create some mesmerising artwork but whether that art is appropriate for specific projects will still require human judgement. AI can write novels but a human still needs to proofread the content and make adjustments where necessary.
AI is an incredibly useful tool that is enhancing many industries, including the creative one but we don’t need to worry about it completely taking over the creative industry for now. Phew!