Is marketing a science or an art? The age-old debate has continued to divide opinion over the years. Creatives will claim that it’s an art. Data-driven analysts will insist that it’s a science. The truth is somewhere in the middle; marketing is both a science and an art.
But thanks to the rise of artificial intelligence, you’d be forgiven for presuming that marketing is now becoming more of a science than an art. As one of the hottest topics in technology today, the surge of AI seems to be unstoppable in disrupting every industry in its path.
Whilst some people see artificial intelligence as a revolutionary tool that can make our lives easier, others are concerned that AI is about to take their job. But if this does happen, which creative roles will be the first to go the way of the Dodo?
I always thought that creative work was one of the safest options. After all, you can’t teach computers to be creative, right? Wrong, apparently. It looks as though we are now in the early stages of basic creative work being carried out by artificial intelligence programs.
But how effective are they? Here’s a brief look at just some of the creative roles that are now, in part, taken care of by AI:
In the world of graphic design in 2017, sites such as LogoJoy, Tailor Brands and Withoompth use artificial intelligence and machine learning to generate basic logos within seconds using browser-based vector graphics from curated icon and font libraries.
Despite the fact that the generated logos are very basic, they’re already beginning to serve businesses in the lower end of the market. As a minimum viable product, it makes you wonder how advanced these websites will be in years to come.
That said, automated logo design (for now at least) is a cheap and cheerful alternative – and that’s about it. Plus, you can almost guarantee that your logo (or parts of) are being used by another business who took the very same decision to automate their logo design. Not so cool.
When Mark Duffy of Digiday said that ‘Human copywriters are doomed’, at first, I thought this was a bit premature. But that was before I learned about the advanced capabilities of Persado’s “cognitive content” platform, which their website describes as:
‘A smart system that combines natural language processing and machine learning technologies to machine generate the precise words, phrases and images that can inspire any given audience to act, every time’. Sounds pretty impressive.
Chiefly used to generate optimised email titles and body content, the platform is said to run 1 million + words and phrases collected over several years and scored against response data from 40+ billion impressions. It’s no wonder Goldman Sachs are throwing millions of dollars at it.
Since launching a crowdfunding campaign in 2014, The Grid was one of the earliest players in AI web design. As an automated alternative to conventional web design, their site boldly states: ‘Just add content, it designs itself, it’s your piece of a new kind of internet’.
It continues: ‘Meet Molly. Your new AI web designer’. ‘She’s young, she’s learning, but she’s already designed hundreds of thousands of web pages, including this one. 24/7 she’s experimenting, figuring out what works & what doesn’t’.
Despite the hype, The Grid has received a mixed response from the design community. Its criticisms include ‘difficult to customise’, ‘shoddy and expensive’ and the software demo basically looking like a reskin of WordPress and other popular CMS systems.
As tech develops, it will be interesting to see how these AI programs evolve. Inevitably, there will come a time where they will be able to conduct creative work to a higher standard. When that time comes, it’s up to us to find a way for it to coexist with human collaboration. But for now, I think we’re safe. Just about.