In the latest installment of our AI series, we chatted with Jamie Venorsky, Partner/Chief Creative Officer at Marcus Thomas LLC, on using AI to experiment and what guidelines need to be properly defined before jumping all the way in.
Does your agency encourage or deter the use of AI in your work? If applicable, how does your team integrate these tools into the creative process?
Yes, we’re actively encouraging our team to experiment with generative AI. We’ve recently created an AI task force that includes members from each community of practice within the agency. We can’t truly understand the power of this new technology – or its limitations – without playing with it ourselves.
Regarding the impact of generative AI on our creative process, so far, we’ve found the most value in the concept-development phase. We’ve used it in our creative briefings to surface the familiar and expected solutions that we must push beyond. It quickly gives us a better place to start, and it has also helped get creatives unstuck throughout the conceptual development process. Platforms like Midjourney have also been incredibly valuable in composite development. We’ve also explored using it for high-level audience insights, but it’s critical that we fact-check anything we run through ChatGPT or Bard. We draw the line at using AI for any final, publicly facing assets (i.e. images and text). There are too many ownership and copyright issues in play for us to be comfortable publishing AI-generated work.
How does the accessibility of these tools affect the way it is used?
We’re living in beta today. Adobe Firefly, for example, has great potential, particularly since it will be integrated into tools we already use. But it’s among the tools that aren’t mature enough to apply in any meaningful way. Other tools like Midjourney are incredibly powerful, but corporate licensing is a challenge. And not everyone is comfortable working inside Discord. Most of our creative team has played in these tools, and others like ChatGPT, DALL-E, and Bard, but only a few are proficient with them.
As AI advances, how is the role of the creative redefined? In what ways do you see the landscape of creation changing/shifting in response to AI?
Based on where the technology is today, generative AI can help feed the idea, but it’s never the idea itself. It has the potential to elevate our creative thinking, not to replace it. It can help us quickly get surface-level thinking out of the way, clearing the path for more insightful and norm-breaking creative concepts. It can also help speed up design iteration and free up time otherwise spent on more mundane tasks. Generative AI is the latest tool at our disposal, but the tool needs humans that are empathetic and curious to be creative - it’s not the creative entity by itself.
If AI furthers its capability to create and think, what is a responsible way to use these new technologies?
At Marcus Thomas, we frame everything as part of a human experience. People are on life journeys, not paths to purchase. We fully embrace AI when and if it can help us solve real problems for real people. If using AI (or any tool for that matter) doesn’t meet that standard, then it has no business here. This thinking applies to the inputs as well as the outputs. We are cautious and concerned about what the current generation of tools has been trained on. Generative AI has triggered some interesting conversations about inherent bias and intellectual property. It would be irresponsible to go all in on AI before understanding how to address these issues.