August 23, 2023
Thanks to platforms like ChatGPT and Midjourney, generative artificial intelligence is at the forefront of everyone’s mind right now. But it’s worth noting that AI tools have already been essential to our digital lives long before these platforms hit the market. We’ve all experienced searching for movies or products on popular platforms only to have additional recommendations pop up that are tailored to our purchase or browsing patterns.
AI has influenced what we buy and how we consume for years via things like news feeds, support chats, and personalized product and content recommendations. While these new generative AI tools unquestionably represent a big step forward, they may not actually be all that different from the AI we already use today. AI has been surrounding our lives in subtle ways for longer than you might have realized. These new advancements in generative AI are just the next evolution of something we’ve already become accustomed to.
Is It Too Good to Be True?
This excitement at the potential of generative AI needs to be tempered with the reality of its current capabilities. Many people who have used AI for content creation would say it struggles to unearth and construct true, relevant insights and present them in a unique and innovative way. While ChatGPT might be able to engage a user in a coherent conversation, its responses are clearly an aggregate of existing content. The signs are so telling that Google can even flag content that was majority constructed by AI and direct traffic away from it.
Meanwhile, AI art generators, such as DALL-E and Midjourney, can’t shake the otherworldly, overly pristine qualities of the images they produce. In a sense, these tools are too perfect to be human. They lack the meaningful creative insights and quirky imperfections in the execution of those insights that make human creations truly one of a kind.
While this is sure to change in the future as AI continues to evolve and you navigate this space cautiously, these limitations highlight something important: Authentic human experiences cannot be replaced. When talking about using generative AI in marketing, you shouldn’t view it as a question of AI vs. human creativity. Instead, these new platforms can be seen as additive to existing processes.
Just as AI has helped millions of people discover and choose more meaningful content and products, generative AI can help inspire you as a creator and accelerate creative workflows. AI can help you discover concepts, connect trains of thought, and build on existing insights, ultimately creating sparks that can unearth new, unique ideas.
2 Steps Forward
As a creative learning to use these technologies for the first time, you might not know where to start. It can be difficult to know how to get the most out of them, how to avoid the pitfalls, and how to use generative AI with care.
Here are two strategies I’ve found effective in using these platforms to spark new lines of thought.
- Use AI tools as a starting point.
Approach these platforms not as you would a collaborator but as another tool that can help you create, enhance, and ideate. In one of my experiments with Midjourney, I decided to plug in a somewhat conceptual song lyric to see what the output would render.
What I found was that it could only deliver literal results based on those lyrics. While fascinating in their own right, the renders were all rather vague and not substantially different from one another. In order to deliver something more specific, I had to supply it with more guiding parameters to refine, which sparked an idea for another set of inputs.
In other words, the creative process with AI is much the same as the ideation process you’d need to go through with any other creative tool.
- Begin with a purpose.
These generative AI platforms can lead you to new insights and springboard you to bigger thinking, but they’re not replacements for your own creativity. We at RAPP are pursuing a model of exploring how we apply generative AI alongside our core values, ensuring usage and outputs are validated by experts. So, to use AI as a tool that adds value to your project, you need to start with a perspective of what you’re building toward and have a general idea of what you’d like the result to be. Copyright infringement is continually an issue for any finished output from these platforms, so it’s important to understand and outline what your purpose is for utilizing them.
To avoid this issue, begin your project with ideas about how generative AI could assist. Will it help ideate topics or a direction, help teammates come up with alternate ideas if they’ve hit a roadblock, or suggest corrections and look for errors? These methods can help facilitate your teams’ creativity without replacing it or inadvertently taking from other creators.
It’s still up to you and your marketing team to come up with a creative seed from which your project will grow. But, deployed correctly, AI can help inspire you to reach new heights and supply you with the tools you need to reach them. And it can be reassuring to know that we’ve all been using AI all along. It’s how you found your favorite movie, the new song that is now in your top 10, or the household product you didn’t know you needed until it was suggested to you through the related search results. Now with more advancements, the way we utilize AI will continue to evolve and elevate our work, personal interests, and more even higher.