MARCH 25, 2019 / 4 MIN

My ‘Why’ for pursuing ‘CreativeAi’

Karn Malhotra

I’ve always been curious about the future. The fact that all your plans for tomorrow are based on anticipation — sure it might be calculated and based on predictable outcomes from the past — but someone decides to change a small detail and *boom* it sets a domino effect in motion.

A lot of the conversation around Ai in general has been very fatalistic and i’m probably guilty of the same. Sharing what everyone is doing, without the context of maybe why they’re doing what they’re doing. In a manner that it can be a gateway for you to do the same or different.

So i’m sharing here, why i decided to go down the ‘machine driven predictive design output’ route.

I’ve been a designer for 15+ years and been fortunate to work with some great designers and clients (this isn’t a segway into a highlights reel — which is a separate conversation around how the ‘presentation’ format at conferences is so broken). My inherent drive has always been to drive value for customers and colleagues alike. I’m sure i’ve made some not so popular decisions and recommendations over time, but you learn.

In pursuing this ‘CreativeAi’ route, my intent was to figure where we’re going as a ‘design community’. I’m looking to create a viable business no doubt, but i’m very aware of how this fits into the ecosystem.

I don’t think enough people are openly exploring or talking about the potential impact of Ai on the way we’ll work and deliver our work. For example: i was at a shoot yesterday where the director was giving the main protagonist some direction about singing a punjabi song with ‘a little more josh (excitement)’.

It’s very likely that in the near future, the camera might have a facial recognition and emotion capture mechanism inbuilt, gauging the authenticity levels of the actor and the likelihood of that emotion connecting or not with the viewing audience — psychographic and demographic data of which has been fed into the system at the outset.

So when the actor delivers something that rates lower on the ‘audience emotion connection scale’ (AECS) — a screen alongside the camera immediately shows him examples of other scenes from the past where he has either delivered dialogue with more convincing emotion, or how others have delivered dialogue that’s made a tangible connect with the TG — based on the AECS or on hard sales data.

This doesn’t seem so far fetched does it?

All this would otherwise be done by a director, a researcher, statistician, sales manager — but is instead done by a virtual system. Real time.

My point is that, yes, there are tangible reasons to be concerned about creative jobs being replaced — but therein lies the inherent opportunity.

Gary Kasparov refers to Ai as — ‘Augmented Intelligence and not Artificial Intelligence’. He has said more than once that ‘we’re still some way from this completely dystopian future where ‘skynet’ becomes self aware and machines take over the world’. So let’s stop thinking of it as something to be afraid of and this vague entity that we need to keep watching from the corner of our eye.

My foray into Machine Learning and Ai has been a result of us (at wanting to create greater efficiencies around the designers’ and brand managers time. Help them focus on tasks with greater cognitive load, not repetition.

Your thinking gets sharper when you challenge it with new situations — not by dealing with the same repetitive task over and over again.

We’ve faced multiple challenges around tech, people, logic of the algorithm, scalability etc. It’s a work in progress but we’re getting there. Like all new subjects, we’re learning through doing.

So if you’re a designer, artist, musician, writer, ‘creator’ of any sort. My invitation to you is to look at those tasks in your workflow that can be broken down into components. Then look for ways or tools to either track them or to automate them in some way. A good place to start might be by exploring the various widgets you’ll find on zapier or ifttt.

You don’t immediately need to jump into find an ‘Ai driven system’ to replace what you’re doing :) Start small.

Clear space for yourself to be able to think more. I’ve also found that turning off your ‘notifications’ for all your apps — including email, whatsapp, instagram, facebook etc goes a long way in helping you focus.

The future of work will be remote and focussed on what ‘original’ value you can bring to the table —something that a machine can’t pull out from a database. And to do that, being able to think lucidly or put yourself in situations where you can, is important.

This is what works for me :) to each his own.

I’m also keen to chat with anyone either already doing something in the Creative+Ai space (music, art, design, writing, photography etc) or is thinking about doing something or is just generally curious to know more. The focus is on building the tribe.

The only way we can avoid misinformation perpetuating conversations is by having open, transparent conversations around where things stand and where they could go.

Wish you well,