Originally published in the Boulder Daily Camera and the Longmont Daily Times-Call.

Years ago, I asked a client how he knew he would be successful in his business.  “That’s easy,” he said. “No one does it like me.”  This notion underpins all successful marketing efforts – separating yourself, business or organization from the competition.   Others are likely to offer the same products and services you provide.  What people desire is what is unique. This is surely true in the creative industries – marketing and advertising included.

So far, creativity is a uniquely human quality.  Yet, generative AI applications such as ChatGPT are disrupting the status quo. One question among creatives who generate their work based upon their unique knowledge and talent?  How will this impact my status as an independent contractor or salaried employee? Will I be replaced by AI, or will my work become more valuable?

For these reasons, the creative industries are closely watching the development of AI.  The term “creative industries” refers to a set of knowledge-based and income generating economic sectors, ranging from advertising, broadcasting, crafts, film, graphic design, music, publishing, tourism, art, etc.

All of these activities have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent. They have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property.  Creative industries participate in the creative economy.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development recently described the creative economy.  “The creative economy has no single definition. It is an evolving concept which builds on the interplay between human creativity and ideas and intellectual property, knowledge and technology. Essentially it is the knowledge-based economic activities upon which the ‘creative industries’ are based. The creative industries are the lifeblood of the creative economy.”

What does this mean?  If AI replaces human creativity, will individual human creativity continue to be valued in our future economies?

Let’s explore three possible scenarios: 1) people use AI to augment their work, leading to greater productivity, 2) generative AI creates a flood of cheap, quick content that drives out human creatives, and 3) human-made creative work demands a premium because it is matchless.

In the first scenario, AI continues to become a partner in intellectual endeavors. It will increasingly augment the effectivity and creativity of our human intellect. Those in the creative industries will need to learn how to best prompt the AI tools  with instructions to perform their work. “Prompt engineering” is likely to be a prerequisite skill for creative workers in the decade to come.

With generative AI, a major disruptor of our creative work has emerged. Scenario two may play out with businesses showing little patience to apply human generated creativity in an effort to increase productivity and content generation. So, be prepared to invest significant time and effort to master the art of creativity in a world dominated by generative AI.

In the last scenario, business and organizations understand the need to seriously consider what these new technologies mean for being a creative human today and how much importance we wish to assign to the role of human authenticity in art and content. Original work will become more valuable.

The Harvard Business Review noted, “Businesses and society will be responsible to decide how much of the creative work will ultimately be done by AI and how much by humans. Finding the balance here will be an important challenge when we move ahead with integrating generative AI in our daily work existence.”

As a creative, I have been reflecting on this.  Edward De Bono notes, “There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all.  Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.”  Well said Edward.

Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising. 
She may be reached at 303-638-7127; scornay@comm-concepts.com; www.comm-concepts.com; Facebook.com/Communication Concepts; X @CommConceptsPR; or Linked In.

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