The Writer’s Guild of America went on strike in the spring of 2023 due to concerns over the use of artificial intelligence (AI) by movie and TV studios to generate story ideas and scripts. However, according to Greg Harrison, chief creative officer at MOCEAN, a creative agency working with firms like Netflix, Paramount, and Marvel, generative AI technology presents both opportunities and challenges for creative professionals.
When AI tools like Midjourney and ChatGPT emerged, there was alarm about their ability to generate creative content. But after exploring these and other AI tools, Harrison and his team concluded that AI is not ready to replace human creativity. Instead, it should be seen as a fledgling technology that requires guidance and mentorship, similar to a junior creative team member.
Harrison sees AI as a tool that can provide inspiration and investigation, particularly when dealing with large amounts of material and searching for themes. He believes it is important to demystify AI and view it as a tool, rather than an emerging super-intelligent being. This perspective helps manage the fear and concern surrounding AI and its impact on creative jobs.
However, there are concerns regarding copyright and ethics when it comes to AI. Generative AI is trained on copyrighted imagery, which could lead to inadvertent infringement issues. Without a clear chain of titles or a clean and ethical training base, using such technology in a professional setting becomes challenging. Solutions like Firefly, Adobe’s generative AI tool, are a step in the right direction.
In the near future, AI is expected to be a collaborator and a source of inspiration under the direction of a creative director. Its potential as a tool for visual brainstorming, exploration, and even creating final outputs is promising, as long as it remains under human control. This could also lower the cost of complex visual effects or high-end 3D designs, opening new doors for creative ambitions.
However, AI’s role in the creative industry goes beyond generating content. It can also contribute by automating non-creative tasks, freeing up time for creatives to focus on their craft.
When integrating AI into a creative workflow, Harrison advises a cautious approach. He emphasizes the importance of valuing human creativity and culture and letting that guide one’s engagement with AI. In the short term, AI tools are best used for exploration, inspiration, and visual reference. It is crucial to experiment with them and understand their current limitations while examining their future potential.
“When used correctly, it can free creatives to focus time and energy on creative tasks, which has value,” said Harrison.
The convergence of AI and creativity presents an intriguing landscape for creative industries. Whether viewed as a tool, threat, or collaborator, the future of AI in these industries is full of possibilities. As we navigate this landscape, the focus should remain on preserving human creativity and culture, fostering collaboration, and maximizing the opportunities AI offers.