The Royals partner and Move 37 CEO, Dave King, explores how AI might reshape the fabric of the advertising industry – potentially disrupting a variety of traditional agency models.
When Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov was beaten by IBM’s chess-playing computer in 1997, he didn’t see the defeat as a loss to the machine, but rather as a wake-up call for humans to the potential of working together with machines to achieve greater levels of intelligence and creativity.
Kasparov went on to create Centaur Chess, which brought together teams of humans plus computers, playing against lone human or computer competitors. From the outset, the winners were not the world’s best chess supercomputers at that time, nor a chess grandmaster. Instead, what Centaur Chess proved was this:
Human and machine together were able to defeat human or machine alone.
This has become an important principle when we think about the benefits of embracing new ways of working in an augmented creativity mindset.
What might it take to be a creative centaur?
Human and machine: our strengths and weaknesses are complementary
When we work with AI to augment creativity, both humans and machines have their relative strengths and weaknesses.
While humans have a natural ability to use intuition and emotional intelligence to create more engaging and resonant creative solutions, machines can analyse large amounts of data quickly and accurately, identifying patterns and insights that may be difficult for people to detect.
While people can become fatigued and make mistakes when performing repetitive tasks like data entry or image editing, machines can produce consistent results with minimal variation, ensuring uniformity across creative output.
Creativity is often thought of as a uniquely human domain, but what we’re about to experience is a whole new set of superpowers available for anyone who works with ideas, communications, content or code. The ideal interfaces are not there yet (hint: it won’t be chat), but there are a lot of people working on creating new forms of machine-human symbiosis aimed at extending our understanding, perspective and talents.
But it’s important to understand that AI is not a replacement for human creativity, but rather an exciting augmentation of it.
AI algorithms are incredibly good at identifying patterns, and providing valuable insights to aid in the strategic and creative decision-making process. With the help of AI, people can now generate fresh ideas and validate their hypotheses at an unprecedented pace.
Just how people choose to get involved, understand and experiment from here will determine how prepared they are for what’s coming.
You are here: the lay of the land
Obviously the image models are becoming more powerful and controllable every day, and now creators and developers are prototyping tools to move away from prompting to providing a form utility that’s more closely aligned with everyday commercial creative tasks.
Coders have been knee-deep in Github Copilot and GPT-enabled development interfaces for months. But now the rest of us can start to get stuck into the co-creation of coded applications that allow people to simply describe how an app or website looks and functions – and see it emerge before their eyes. A recent OpenAI demo showed code created from a scanned sketch in a notebook. In seconds.
Overall, we’re witnessing an age of AI alchemy where it’s increasingly possible to transform anything into anything.
Text to video, research papers to ideas, one thought into a generated podcast, news articles into poems, brainwaves into patent applications. If you can imagine it, it’s done.
Now we get to watch human imagination and ingenuity push this technology way beyond the banal single-prompt gibberish of LinkedIn carousels. The genie’s out of the bottle and the future of imagination is unrecognisable.
What does this mean for agencies?
The emergence of augmented creativity signals a transformative period for marketers and agencies, potentially reshaping the very fabric of the industry.
Firstly, clients and agencies will have to reevaluate their business models and approaches to accommodate this hybrid human-machine model of creativity. The centaur model, which combines the strengths of human intuition and AI’s data processing capabilities, suggests a need for a more integrated and collaborative approach.
Businesses will need to foster environments conducive to this new form of collaboration, which might involve revamping team structures, adopting new technologies, or investing in training and upskilling.
Secondly, there will be profound implications for the speed, efficiency, and quality of creative output. Agencies will be able to leverage AI for rapid ideation, concept testing, and execution, allowing them to deliver projects more swiftly and effectively.
This accelerated productivity could also lead to more competitive pricing for clients, potentially disrupting traditional agency pricing models. Will charging by the hour still make sense in a world where AI is doing parts of a job in a fraction of the time?
However, the human element remains vital in the creative process, offering contextual understanding and emotional intelligence that machines cannot replicate. Therefore, a balance between AI and human creativity will be key to producing resonant and culturally relevant work.
Lastly, the emergence of augmented creativity presents an opportunity for agencies to differentiate themselves and for clients to select partners that can best leverage this new approach.
While everyone may have access to AI tools, the talent and ability to effectively use these tools will not be equally distributed. Agencies that excel in this new environment will likely be those that are experienced, open-minded, and willing to experiment with these new tools.
For clients, this means they must be discerning in their selection of agencies, seeking those that can demonstrate their proficiency and innovative use of AI in their creative processes.
Overall, this shift towards augmented creativity will redefine the landscape of the marketing industry, demanding adaptability and innovation from all involved.
Unbuckle and throw yourself amongst it, it’s about to get beautifully messy.