Throughout history, many occupations have fallen victim to the latest big tech — street lamps snuffed out the lamplighter, direct dialling switched out the switchboard operator, refrigerators iced the ice cutter, etcetera.
Ever since the invention of the wheel, machines have made some form of human labour redundant. And in late stage capitalism, if your job can be replaced by tech, it will be.
But those jobs are different from mine! (I hear you say ... ) My job is special! I have domain-specific and institutional knowledge! I work with my mind. A machine can’t be as creative as me. I’m irreplaceable!
AI has already upended countless blue-collar occupations. It would be peculiar if the creative industry were somehow exempt.
In the tracks of Midjourney and Dall-E 2, Shutterstock has produced its own AI Image Generator based on “Ethical AI”. AIVA, Soundful and SoundRaw are just a few AI Music Generator platforms a Google search and subscription away. And with the growing ubiquity of ChatGPT, purveyors of the written word are perhaps in the deepest water
There’s the fact that AI can only aggregate what already exists, which in our industry is better known as plagiarism. Without the human, you lack that dash of essential originality.
And there’s the Automation Paradox, that states the more efficient an automated system becomes, the more critical human involvement becomes.
There will always be the possibility of small mistakes and big disasters, no matter how advanced the tech. Applied to advertising, without human guidance and supervision, you run the risk of campaigns fronted by 6-fingered talents and social media pages managed by chatbots.
In the future, it’s inevitable that AI will get smarter, better, and maybe capable of true originality. But ask yourself: even if we could fully automate a plane, wouldn’t you want a pilot in the cockpit?