Why our creative jobs are safe from AI (for now…)

December 15, 2023
Amy Scott

If you haven't seen the AI-generated Pepsi ad from earlier this year, take a quick pause from this blog and look on YouTube, as it needs to be seen to be believed.

This year especially, creatives have been mopping the sweat from their brows with the increased usage of ChatGPT and other AI generators. AI's current limitations lie in its inability to replicate the depth of human creativity, which thrives on emotional nuances, cultural understanding, and the capacity to craft resonant narratives. Its proficiency in data processing notwithstanding, AI lacks the innate ability to infuse art with the profound essence that captures the imagination and emotions, ensuring that human ingenuity remains irreplaceable in the creative industry.

For example, would you even have realised ChatGPT wrote the previous paragraph with a one-sentence prompt? And how do you know this one isn't either? I'll throw in a tipo to prove that I'm real, but it's got you thinking, hasn't it? But it isn't all doom and gloom for us at Sunday Treat, considering a lot of our work lies in comedy. Comedy will be the final frontier for AI to tackle, purely because of comedy's subjective nature. It's hard enough to be funny even when coming from a human brain; you have to consider timing, relatability, context and niche experiences that present the mundane nature of the human experience in a somewhat weird way.

Take the Pepsi ad, for example. While we chuckled over it, AI wasn't in on the joke. The ad features some truly grotesque-looking hands and questionable ways of drinking from a bottle. While AI can generate perfect faces and choose a decent soundtrack, we can't stop cackling at the video's premise. Flames shoot from off-screen, mouths glug at the liquid that isn't there, and we can't stop thinking about the strangely formed hands that are holding the Pepsi bottles.

Still from Pepsi AI-generated advert

Although the ad has the classic hallmarks of previous Pepsi commercials, it misses the mark for at least 25 seconds' worth of its 30-second run. But not just the dodgy image generation makes this commercial painful to watch. A broader question needs to be asked here: What makes a successful advert? And that is relatability. Realistically, ads where you stand around as your house is set alight, don't scream, 'I'm thirsty, let's get a Pepsi'. A more philosophical question also needs to be asked, such as 'What is creativity?' Is it the presence of uniqueness? But if that was the case, Dali AI could combine Van Gogh's 'A Starry Night' and Edvard Munch's 'The Scream', and it would be a unique and, therefore 'creative' work of art.

While AI can trawl the internet for the best references, can it create something unique from its own 'brain'? No, it cannot. AI can only combine ideas. No matter how vague the qualities of each reference are, it cannot compute a totally unique thought. So, how is that different from a load of creatives sitting in a room bringing their ideas together to form a video? I think this lies in how the idea comes together, which is far more difficult to quantify (yet not impossible). For example, at Sunday Treat, we have six creatives working at our London video production company. Each person has different experiences, expertise and sense of humour. Our team starts with the craziest idea, whittling it down until we come up with something that works for our clients (who also have individual, specific requirements).

While you can tell ChatGPT, "Make this video funny in tone" or "Learn the tone of voice of a brand and come up with a video to support their campaign, " it will never understand the human nuances of what a client is asking for. Creativity is about discussion and compromise. When a client says, "The video needs more flair", we will know what that means in the context of our previous engagements, whether that's a passing comment on a shoot or reading between the lines of their creative feedback. AI is not advanced enough, nor does it have the capacity to see the creative process as a whole.

Having said all that, we will watch for more AI-generated ads closely. Although we scoff at them now, AI is getting better at humanly disguising itself because of the nature of how it's built. It's constantly learning from its mistakes and taking its lessons from human error. One thing we do have on our side, though, is a joint 'rejection' of AI in creativity. For example, if I were to tell you ChatGPT wrote this entire blog, you would feel disappointed and turned off. It wasn't, I promise, but you can't be 100% sure, can you?

ChatGPT prompt

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