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Artificial intelligence (AI) plays a huge role in our world today. What’s even more impressive is how far it’s come in such a short period.
You might remember messing around on AIM or MSN Messenger with prototypical chatbots like SmarterChild back in the mid-2000s.
Nowadays, AI chatbots help field customer service inquiries with alarming precision. The new Amazon Go stores somehow even know what you’re buying and how much to charge you without human interaction.
There is no doubt that AI excels in efficiency and productivity, especially for tedious and repetitive digital tasks. But the big question we tackle in this article is a bit more challenging: Can AI think creatively?
Don’t Let DALL-E Be Your Only Guide
If you’re a big fan of memes and internet culture, you may have played around with the AI-powered image-generator DALL-E Mini to create some truly nightmarish images. But is the ability to create complex images true evidence that AI can think, let alone think creatively?
Most would argue that creativity is an attribute solely in the purview of humanity. In layman’s terms, some believe AI cannot think creatively. But you might be surprised once we break down the definition of creativity and take a closer look into the capabilities of AI.
According to psychologist J.P. Guilford, creativity has five critical elements. We’ll use these as our standard in evaluating whether or not AI has the capacity to think creatively by human standards.
We can understand how AI thinks once we break down how it operates within this definition of creativity. Before we dive into each element, let’s take a brief look into the history of AI and how it affects us today.
The past few decades were unprecedented with the rapid growth of technology and its integration into everyday life. The most significant change is the accessibility of advanced technology to the average person. Going back to the early 2000s, major companies like Canon, Nikon, and Fuji released digital cameras that allowed anyone to produce images rivaling what was previously only obtainable by industry professionals.
Today, AI takes it to the next level, integrating into tools to drive creativity without a person’s presence required throughout the process. In the world of photography, AI-assisted camera features can help even the technologically illiterate take a properly exposed and focused digital photograph. Your iPhone or Google Pixel uses these kinds of features to help you create Instagram-worthy selfies without you even realizing it.
AI is becoming an industry standard due to its ability to help businesses scale without allocating large marketing budgets or investing in bigger teams.
AI is an essential part of the creative process for many businesses today. Yes, a person must develop an algorithm that drives its actions, but machine learning has become extremely powerful, evolving and adapting that algorithm once set in motion.
One great example is DALL-E 2, an AI research project developed by a company called OpenAI. DALL-E 2 is essentially a computer and a fantastic artist that can draw anything you ask of it. It creates original, realistic images and art from a text description. DALL-E has already been used in the corporate creative world—Cosmo magazine used it to create a stunning magazine cover (in just 20 seconds)!
While most AI isn’t Picasso or DaVinci, it is already a considerable part of the creative process. Does that make AI creative in its own right? Maybe. Maybe not. It is, regardless, essential for businesses looking to grow quickly without allocating huge budgets for marketing projects that take months to complete.
AI presents unparalleled means of creating creative assets, studying how each is received by its audience through performance indicators like conversion rates, and compiling that data into actionable insights for the creative humans behind it.
It’s not a stretch to think that, in the future, DALL-E-like AI will create and drive much of the creative work that comes our way. After all, when it came to Cosmopolitan creative directors creating their cover image, more time was spent testing out different text-based prompts than generating the final image.
Check out this article for the full breakdown of where creative intelligence stands today: Link to Cluster Article 2
Did you watch IBM’s Watson crush humans in the TV game show Jeopardy? While there were certainly some hysterical fails, Watson has come a long way since it first appeared on the television series in regards to how it “thinks.”
Historically, it may have been the case that AI and automation could only do what it was “programmed” to do, and we should attribute any resulting work to the human who built the program or algorithm behind it.
Today, it is pretty outdated to argue that AI is just a tool that can’t think creatively. If we look at the five elements of creativity, we’ll find that the deep learning capabilities of AI have come a long way.
Here’s a joke: What’s the difference between money and a bottom?
The punchline? One you spare and bank, the other you bare and spank.
As dumb as that joke may be, it may get more than a smirk when you realize it was created by a computer program. JAPE (which stands for Joke Analysis and Production Engine) was developed in the late 1990s to create puns and illustrates how fluid artificial intelligence can be.
Creativity needs fluency: the ability to produce a great number of ideas or problem solutions in a short period. This fluidity is exemplified by programs like JAPE, which creates puns. But fluidity has business-centric applications, too.
We build AI-powered tools like AdCreative.ai to save businesses and designers time by automating the process of scaling the quantity and quality of creative assets. With the ability to produce hundreds of ad variations, companies can do in minutes what manually takes weeks.
In addition to its ability to scale volume, AI can quickly analyze millions of consumer data points to optimize the creative process while ensuring the quality of designs is not compromised.
AI’s sophistication lies in its ability to seamlessly and continuously perform both analysis and production, and adapt to it along the way. For example, you may run a subject line for an email through an analysis tool that simultaneously scores how well it predicts the subject line will perform, while also suggesting additional edits to improve open rates or by generating email subject lines itself.
Regarding fluidity, you could feasibly claim that humans have nothing on AI.
Flexibility is essential when it comes to creativity. Flexibility is the ability to simultaneously propose various approaches to a specific problem or be adaptable to changing circumstances.
In dystopian movies, it is often AI’s flexibility and adaptability that makes it so terrifying. Consider television series like Westworld or even the Disney Channel Original Movie, Smart House. When the sentience and adaptability of AI-powered technology gets too strong, things start to go haywire.
Of course, flexibility in the workplace can be a major benefit of AI—as long as you don’t find yourself as the protagonist of a sci-fi story.
AI’s ability to scale and analyze more data points than a team of industry professionals makes it extremely adaptable. A tool like AdCreative.ai can perform extensive A/B testing that helps you pivot and adjust if something isn’t working.
Traditionally, it is difficult to truly know if a marketing campaign is connecting with an audience or if a creative ad is converting at the rate you need. It is also time-consuming to design variations of banners dependent upon audience reception.
In the case of AdCreative.ai, this process is streamlined, giving ultimate flexibility to ad creation. A substantial advantage of machine and deep learning models is that they continuously learn and adapt to changing trends and markets faster than anything else.
But one type of flexibility might be unique to the human brain: the ability to make creative jumps to new or alternate concepts. Say you’re designing a logo for a client and you create something lovely using guidelines they provided, such as the brand or campaign color palette. Then, say a bolt of inspiration lightning strikes you. All at once, a totally separate, original idea comes to you. You immediately get to work on a brand new design.
Your clients love it. It wasn’t at all what they asked for. It’s better. Your experienced, creative gut sense somehow analyzed what you knew of your client (or possibly its audience) and you demonstrated hyper-flexibility, right away.
Could AI do that? We think it can. Of course, AI must be taught to direct its creative abilities in such a way. But is that so different than going to business school for an MBA or working under a master designer as an apprentice?
Originality is one of the first words that come to mind regarding creativity. Originality is the ability to produce new, innovative ideas.
The jokes generated by JAPE are a great example of AI’s originality. And, if you imagine an AI bot like Twitter’s Magic Realism Bot (which produces Gabriel Garcia Marquez-esque story prompts like “A mother is hiding something unusual in her basement: A porcelain doll covered in opals”) being combined with tools like DALL-E, it’s not too far of a stretch to think of original content being crafted purely by AI.
Image by Dall E 2
AI considers the factors necessary to connect with your audience, which includes creating ideas that are original and never before seen. Platforms like AdCreative.ai not only know what has worked well in the past; they also churn out possibilities for what might work in the future. Although AdCreative.ai looks at data or graphics that already exist, as noted with AI and flexibility, it can also mix and match what has worked to create something entirely new.
Claiming AI can’t be original is like arguing that a new painting isn’t original because it contains lines, circles, and color. These individual elements were introduced to art long ago. It’s the style or composition in which they were applied that has never been done before.
In the same sense, AI draws from millions of data points to mix and match ideas to generate something original and creative. The sky is the limit with AI’s ability to create so many variations so quickly.
This area of artificial intelligence is consistently portrayed in dystopian literature and movies. Westworld‘s thinking robots are a prime example of how this form of awareness is mined by science fiction storytellers. [Westworld Trailer]
At the same time, that self-awareness is another element of creativity that many argue is unique to humans. Computers are generally limited to the data and information a human inputs and programs. However, machine learning and deep learning today can adjust to new information without the oversight of a human programming it.
The basic definition of awareness is: the ability to synthesize and organize the details of an idea and carry it out. AI-powered engines such as AdCreative.ai can do just that and more.
AI not only organizes creative information, it analyzes that information to understand why certain ad creatives, for example, work. It can even learn how to design better digital assets and generate creative call-to-actions, texts, fonts, backgrounds, overall feel, color saturation, and more!
The AI engine that powers AdCreative.ai understands how to adapt to changing trends and consumer insights to help drive the creative aspects required to help businesses grow.
You can also check out this cool chrome extension Color Picker by Adcreative.ai, that helps you automatically pick the colors of any website/page. Moreover it can even recommend the color combinations that work well backed by data!
Drive—the ability to be motivated by a specific factor or feeling—is the final determining element for whether AI can be considered creative in its own right. This again shows up in TV, books, and movies like I, Robot with Will Smith.
The biggest counterargument against AI’s creativity is that the human behind the algorithm determines AI’s motivation. Regardless, the motivation is still there. Arguably, AI's drive is stronger than what a human is capable of.
Humans draw motivation from various sources, including family, money, health, environment, or any other factor that pushes someone to take action or have a thought. At the end of the day, creativity requires motivation, but it doesn’t care where that drive comes from.
AdCreative.ai makes it extremely simple for business owners to input their initial information and data with desired outcomes. Once that is complete, the AI-powered engine has unlimited drive to move forward.
Taking a closer look at the five elements of creativity, it’s clear that modern AI, powered by machine learning and deep learning, is capable of fluency, flexibility, originality, awareness, and drive. AI checks all the boxes and continues to improve.
AI can think creatively, perhaps more than humans. This might concern those who believe AI and automation will steal the jobs of designers (or take over the planet and become our overlords). So far, though, it’s only proven itself a benevolent creative assistant, carrying out our will and amplifying creativity in ways we never could.
Designers get trapped in endless cycles of menial or tedious tasks: cropping images, slightly adjusting banners, making copies of one design to alter something minor in the next. To deliver the high demand of variations a modern-day advertising campaign requires, AI might be our only hope.
What design team doesn’t want to free up time by handing off repetitive tasks? Why NOT take a step further and optimize every step? Designers can trust and empower AI to manage this part of the process, which frees up time for design teams to focus on big-picture goals.
Twenty years ago, it would have been outrageous to say that AI has more creative capacity than the human mind. Although it may seem a little intimidating to think that AI and fancy algorithms could potentially surpass the creativity of the human mind, it is nothing to be afraid of. History shows us that technological advancements have more pros than cons.
AI-powered engines like AdCreative.ai elevate the level of creativity and push businesses to continuously raise the bar of delivering compelling, creative assets to their audiences.
While previous advertising agencies would have to wait to notice trends, the future of advertising (aided by AI) will use predictive analytics to determine trends in imagery, color, and more before other brands catch on. This means you’d be able to position your company as a trendsetter and not a follower latching on to an existing design aesthetic or choice, which could be a huge boon!
AI has come a long way, with tools like AdCreative.ai already helping businesses grow at a rapid pace. From automation to machine learning and deep learning technology, AI takes creativity to a place we could have never imagined 20 years ago.
As markets become more competitive and scale becomes the norm, creative AI becomes critical. It’s no longer a question of whether AI can be creative. The question now is, “How can AI’s creativity help you and your business?”
AdCreative.ai’s mission is to help businesses scale to the next level. To that end, we’re offering $500 in Google Ad Credits for new users!
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VP Digital Marketing
Founder & CEO at Rapid Alpha