iStyle For You - Artificial Intelligence’s Potential in Creative Industries
Photographed by Ayden Case of Isabelle DeMers, Arylon Wilks, and Ashley Chase
Styled by China Hill
Stylist Assist: Ryleigh Causey
Journalist Assist: Ashley Chase
By Chase Owens
Welcome to the dawn of a new world: a society currently undergoing one of the greatest technological developments in humankind’s history. Technological developments with such significance that they could elevate civilization to a level of greatness never before imagined, just as easily as they could make the human mind obsolete. This evolution in technology has come to be known as artificial intelligence, or AI, which is the ability of a machine to perform cognitive functions that are usually associated with the human brain (What is AI?, 2023). Recently, AI has become widely available to the public through generative AI applications such as ChatGPT and DALL-E. Generative AI works by accepting an input—text, images, audio, etc.—and generating an output in response. Outputs of AI can include just about anything, for instance, a report on flying cars, a prom dress designed with a plaid pattern, or the national anthem performed by your favorite rapper. By combining human intelligence with technology, productivity can reach unprecedented levels with incredible efficiency. AI’s ability to match, and even exceed, human ability in ingenuity and precision begs us to wonder, will there be space for human creatives in the future, or will AI overtake us all?
Generative AI is first and foremost intended to be used as a tool, an instrument that humans can use to enhance their capabilities as artists. It is not, however, meant to create art instead of us. With the ability to accept input of any sort and generate an output faster than humans can, AI can improve artists’ efficiency in creative industries, such as the world of fashion. By blending the expertise of creative direction and generative AI, creatives could input sketches and details—think fabrics, color palettes, and patterns—and receive 3-D models almost instantaneously (Harreis et al., 2023), allowing the design process of the fashion chain to be streamlined. This is not the only use for AI in the fashion scene, however; AI can compile and process information billions of times faster than the human brain (Mahendra, 2023), allowing for accurate predictions of fashion trends, which market sectors should be targeted with certain products, and generate product or consumer-specific marketing content (Harreis et al., 2023), which could bear tremendous effects on company sustainability due to increased business successes.
It quickly becomes evident that as a tool for artists, AI’s limits are endless, opening the door to a new era of creation. With all of AI’s incredible potential, however, comes concerns. AI’s established purpose is to be used as a tool to assist humans with processes, but what happens when AI expands beyond just being a tool? What happens when AI becomes so efficient that there is no longer a need for human artists in creative industries? What happens when AI replaces the human mind?
Artificial intelligence is one of the fastest evolving technologies in the modern era; advancing so quickly, that humans cannot possibly keep up. Continuing at this pace could have immense consequences for artists; if a designer brand can use AI to design, market, and sell new clothing, then they would have no reason to hire a creative director and design team to make the products. AI has already eliminated jobs for models in the industry, as recently shown in a decision by the clothing company Levi’s. Earlier this year in April, a proposed advertisement campaign announcement fell flat when Levi’s reported they would be using AI generated models to “increase diversity”. Naturally, this was met with backlash as it seemed to be Levi’s choosing to avoid paying for models under the guise of equality (Holt, 2023).
Following this trend of AI invading creative industries, the world of music has been shaken with new developments in AI’s ability to replicate the voices of some of the most popular artists in the world. Recently on social media, “Heart on My Sleeve”, a collaborative effort between Canadian artists Drake and The Weeknd, took the internet by storm. The issue with the viral track? Neither artist actually recorded any vocals for it; the song was completely created with the use of AI. Someone, somewhere, under the moniker Ghostwriter977, wrote the song and sang it themselves, using AI to replace their vocals with that of Drake and The Weeknd (Bloomberg, 2023).
For artists in the industry, their most valuable traits and qualities that set them apart are their voices and songwriting. We often choose which artists to listen to purely based on these factors alone, but with the use of AI, we soon will not be able to tell what is real and what is not. Sucking the human touch out of music eliminates the artistic aspect, killing the connection that an artist has with their audience.
Will music still hold the same importance to listeners if they know a song was made by a computer? Will fans of artists care if content is actually coming from their favorite artists, or will they just be happy to listen to new music? Although AI generated music is far from perfect and still heavily relies on a human to compose the piece, it is a threat to musicians that cannot be ignored and evokes the age-old question: what is more important, quality or quantity?
The wildfire that is AI has spread across more industries than just fashion and music. Recently, the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) engaged in a five-month strike, fighting for their future in Hollywood studios. While there were many points of contention between big money studios and writers, perhaps the largest was the concern over the use of AI in writing script material. AI cannot yet match human creativity in writing storylines or emotions, but the speed at which AI works, as well as the inexpensive nature of generative AI applications, provide Hollywood with an alternative to union workers with demands. Over fear of losing their place in cinema, the WGA took to the picket line (Silberling, 2023).
In this battle between humans and AI, humans came out on top, with the WGA and Hollywood studios finally agreeing on a new contract after an arduous walkout. This contract recently went into effect, allowing writers to resume their scriptwriting and bring the cinematic standstill to come to an end. While many other factors were considered in the birth of this new agreement, AI took centerstage with many new guidelines that studios would be required to follow, protecting the jobs of human writers. The most important new guideline is that studios will not be allowed to use AI to write or rewrite scripts. These guidelines do, however, define the ability of writers to use AI technology to assist them with the writing process, while denying studios the capability to enforce its use (Silberling, 2023). To some, this may seem like the WGA has solved the issue of AI in their industry, protecting their jobs and securing their place in the filmmaking process. In reality, however, the only accomplishment of this new contract is that it delays the downfall of human writers until May of 2026 (Silberling, 2023).
The contract between the WGA and studios has been set in place to defend against the current state of AI: a technology that can generate just about anything you please, but is not yet creative enough to develop and flesh out ideas on its own. With AI further developing every single day that passes, who knows what its creative capacities will be in two and a half years? AI could potentially be writing remarkable movie or television series scripts by the hour, completely rendering scriptwriters obsolete.
With companies beginning to choose to use AI technology rather than people, we must ask, what do humans have to offer that AI does not? The answer is simpler than you may assume; humans have one major advantage over AI: experience. The value of the human experience is best explained through the famous knowledge argument known as Mary’s Room by Frank Jackson, an Australian philosopher. Jackson’s argument is as follows: Mary is a scientist who has never seen or experienced color, but she knows everything there is to know about it. If Mary went outside her lab and saw all the colors of the world, would she learn anything new? Jackson says yes, and this would prove the existence of qualia. Qualia are the qualitative properties of experiences, such as pain or an itch. This argument attempts to establish that some knowledge can only be attained through conscious experience, something that AI currently does not have (Speaks, 2018). This experience gives humans the ability to recognize certain situations that may need adaptation, a contrivance that AI has not yet learned. The gift of intuition is one of our finest and most valuable traits, a phenomenon that no machine can currently replicate.
Artificial intelligence is a landmark in technological advancement that will revolutionize efficiency and creativity across industries; it is a tool that will encourage artists to break boundaries, attempting to create like never before. However, for all of AI’s ability to help creative industries reach incredible heights, it also holds the potential to turn equally destructive. Will AI become humankind’s greatest development, or will it become the death of human creativity? Only time will tell.