In an age where automation is rapidly progressing and machines are getting ever closer to meeting human capabilities, we’re exploring the skill they simply cannot match – creativity!
Sure, you can give a robot a logic-based task and it’ll utilise an algorithm to successfully complete it for you, no problem. But give the robot a task that requires it to not only compute, but understand, interpret and empathise with a complex web of external factors (such as emotions, intuition, perceptions and ethics) and it will fall flat. That’s because creativity as a skill goes against everything artificial intelligence relies on. It cannot be replicated, formulated or predicted. It’s defined by the unexpected and it’s inherent in the human consciousness.
Kai-Fu (author of AI Superpowers) estimates that a whopping 40% of professions will be automated in the next 15 years. So as many jobs and processes within our daily lives undoubtedly become replaced by robots, creativity is becoming an evermore prized skill in the human arsenal. But what does this mean for brands? And how will this human quality continue to flourish in an increasingly technologically savvy and digitised landscape?
Everybody wants to achieve a first in their field, but to be a pioneer requires a distinct trait. That is, the ability to think outside the box.
AI functions by using data compiled from the most frequent outcomes within a given situation and then generates a response to match this. That’s why automation cannot provide us with truly innovative results or solutions to the way we work – it only mimics what’s been done before.
So as we look to the future, brands seeking to stand out as leaders in their industry shouldn’t consider just washing their hands with creative and handing it over to the robots. Whilst there are now sites that can generate logos automatically, they can’t replace the need for graphic designers. The imagination, experience, ability to convey a brand image and mission statement as well as ensuring a logo meets 100% of a client’s needs is unique to humans. To establish a true point of difference, brands should think about how to implement automation effectively to support creative, not replace it. For instance, it has the potential to free designers to use their time more creatively by automating technical tasks such as resizing collateral and checking for brand consistency against digitised guidelines.
Humanity is where true and lasting value is created. We will engage, relate and buy things because of the experiences they provide, because of their transformative power – Gerd Leonhard, Futurist
More than just being different or new, creativity is also the key to forming authentic connections with consumers. Whilst automation will continue to take over the repetitive tasks of process-driven jobs, it can’t foster consumer loyalty alone. Brands form continued, successful relationships with their audience through empathy and meaningful communications (whether that’s through their visual identity, verbal identity or any other consumer touchpoints). But that’s not to say we should shun technology altogether. Using human judgement we can creatively apply technology to new scenarios to enhance communication. Technology should be used wisely and never as a replacement for sincerity – consumers can see right through it. In the same way that an off-the-shelf WordPress template will never be a worthy substitute for a bespoke website, automated creative can’t genuinely engage or connect with consumers.
reativity isn’t confined to artistic skills – it also boils down to the ability to solve problems in original ways. Everybody approaches an obstacle differently based on their life experiences, their personality and a whole host of sources that can’t be simulated by a machine. This problem-solving is also essential to building the foundation for a brand and its strategy. Positioning a brand requires critical thinking for us to evaluate the landscape and look into the future of the industry, rather than affirming the current status quo.
Creativity is problem-solving with relevance and novelty – Stefan Mumaw, LinkedIn Learning Instructor
Automation is changing the way brands and industries work. But whilst it will undoubtedly become a huge part of what we do, it won’t leave us all without a valuable role to play in society. Creativity will continue to be increasingly respected and technology will allow us to focus on expressing this skill authentically and meaningfully. The future isn’t a total submission to the robots. It’s a chance to open up to greater creative opportunities and freedom.