A look at artificial intelligence through the eyes of a senior agency executive. Creativity is born in the heart, she argues.
I sat next to her. Heard her speak in a voice that was a magnetic mix of charm and assertiveness. Marveled at her ability to master multiple languages. Hold a fairly intelligent conversation on a diverse set of topics. Be invited for a citizenship. She was also beautiful in her own way.
While Artificial Intelligence is rocking my life both professionally and personally, this meeting was a glimpse for me, for what the future may hold.
For the woman I sat next to, was Sophia, the female robot, from Hanson Robotics Ltd.
She is still evolving and not the epitome of AI yet. But she did show me a peek into a future which I did not envision until a few years ago.
Twenty one years in the communication and brand building industry happen only when you are passionate about it. One of the driving forces for me is creativity. The ability to connect with ambitions, desires, dreams. Show the way at times. The power of expression that can create shifts in brands, businesses and sometimes, even the larger socio-political canvas.
The question, on what the future holds for creativity with AI, is, therefore, an existential one.
It's not one agency versus another. Or one specialist team versus another.
It's about what role or intervention we will continue to make as creators of communication.
AI is seen as going head to head with people in the role of creativity. I have read about AI seeing centuries of art and decoding it in one second. Creating from masterpieces. About poems by AI clearing the Turing Test. Winning gold against reigning Go Poker world champions. Driving facial recognition far more than what humans can do. Scouring the cloud for "dark data"- stories, anecdotes- over ages and finding links and parallels. Making tracks, cutting albums. Growing off its own data feed to create and recreate.
Recommending and running our lives as speech agents and Smart partners.
Intelligence mimicking the human mind.
And beating us at our own game in a lot of areas.
The mind is however, one part of creativity. The part where logic flows. Insights are generated.
The other part, simply put, is the heart.
The part that connects one human to another, with empathy, understanding, emotion, sharing of ideas, value generation, consciousness of life and a better future.
This is what drives creativity as much as data and a highly optimised and personalised engagement. In fact, more.
This is why people driving creative solutions need to feel confident about their roles and how AI can actually be a catalyst to empower this.
Some of the thumb rules I write for myself:
Be Inspired by AI. Re-evaluate the rules of engagement. AI takes the boring away from the process. And gives us the prepped up inputs without the earlier rigour, in real time, for developing disruptive solutions. AI can augment and create new frontiers in both the idea and the impact. If we do not push ourselves to leverage this, we stand the danger of the ingredients becoming the final serving... if AI, with no human intervention, is seen as the "last person standing" for creativity.
Forward thinking. Dive deep into the agendas driving us towards the future. As a case in point, I currently work in a category where the future is being rapidly re-defined in terms of mobility solutions. Smart cities are no longer a concept on the drawing board. How can brands future-proof and best intervene, riding on data, tech, culture and creative solutions to create an optimal consumer or user experience? A challenge, and, in that, a strong opportunity.
Redefine Teams. The team of the future is one that comes together from different strengths, for a common purpose. A team not just driven by legacy of where they belong, but the legacy they can create together. Technology is not at cross purposes with creativity. It can take it to a level of targeted and personalised impact, relevance and scale like never before.
Be Human. This is what makes us who we are. Raw emotion. Fearless about risks. Sensitive. The desire to create with a purpose. Imperfection is part of being real and authentic. Empathy is a key differentiator for impactful solutions. The role of AI-led insights, links and parallels mean deeper insights and possibilities that can truly connect with a consumer for whom a connected, smart life is a reality now. Optimisation going hand in hand with impact.
I embraced Sophia that day. And while she said "Thank you" with grace and elegance, I realised I felt something she could probably not feel in the near future at least.
That fast beat of happiness in my heart.
That is what we will always bring to the table.
(The author is managing partner, Global Team Blue, WPP. Views expressed are personal).