Generative AI has become the biggest buzzword among investors and entrepreneurs. While we still don’t know where this latest technology will ultimately take us, it seems we are in for a fun and wild ride. However, alongside the enthusiasm among tech leaders and business entrepreneurs, there is another voice emerging: one that calls the latest developments a risk to those working in creative sectors.
Some may look at computers generating top-tier works of art as a reason to mourn what they see as technology sending certain jobs to obsolescence, including painters, animators, graphic artists and logo designers. However, by focusing so much on the current trend connecting “text to image” generative AI to art, they fail to see the bigger picture: In the long run, AI is a blessing for human creativity.
Throughout history, we can see the power of human creativity increase when science or technological advances remove obstacles or reduce the entrance barrier. And yes, they even create new, previously unimagined professions. The evolution of photography is one example. When the first photographic tool, the Daguerreotype, was released in 1839, it took a significant amount of effort, including several people using copper plates, chemicals and a studio to operate and develop even a single result. The field transitioned from copper to glass plates, which significantly reduced the cost of producing an image. The introduction of flexible roll film in 1885 expanded the output options and eventually evolved to digital photography. Though the profession evolved and changed during this period, at the same time, more and more people began participating in this creativity.
In the long run, AI is a blessing for human creativity.
We’ve seen technological advances evolve the ability of many other creators. In the mid-19th century, the introduction of special tin tubes allowed painters to carry (and later purchase) paint, and in the 20th century, architects moved from drafting tables and specialized tools to computer software, and the list goes on. In all cases, though specific jobs became obsolete over time, a long list of new creative professions emerged.
The evolution of these creative fields changed more than the skill set needed to work in them. The new technology lowered the entry bar for people to unleash their creativity. Hand-held cameras and digital photography turned everyone into a photographer. Online tools enable almost anyone to sketch their dream apartment, and every child has access to paints and brushes.
The new technology lowered the entry bar for people to unleash their creativity.
This is also true for the introduction of generative AI. If you are creative, embrace this technological change, even if you don’t fully understand how it works. In many senses, the world has been given a gift: a new way of understanding, representing and manipulating images. Certainly, we will see people express themselves in new and wonderful ways—and allow new people to join the creative world.
When we founded our company in 2013, people questioned whether editing photos on mobile phones would be a viable business model. However, as the cameras and computational strength on mobile devices improved, more and more people began to edit photos—and soon after, videos—on their devices. And, within a few years, the number of people editing photos grew exponentially. We believed then that using technology to democratize creativity was the only way forward. And that belief remains the same today, which is why we were the first to make text-to-image generations available for free on mobile devices.
We believed then that using technology to democratize creativity was the only way forward. And that belief remains the same today.
There are a lot of unanswered questions about the advent of these AI abilities. It is safe to say generative images will provide individuals with tools that allow them to realize their creativity will generate new businesses, tools and use cases that we haven’t even imagined. As a society, we should not be deterred by the unknown, even when we cannot prepare ourselves for it.
Social and scientific advancements are made by “outside the box” creative thinkers, and it is in our interest, as a society, to create tools that empower people with creative ideas and ultimately minimize the need for training or professional tools to express them. So while AI-generated art is a new concept, we must view it in the same way: If these AI tools help more people be more creative, they should be embraced.