The speed and scale at which generative AI works is truly game-changing, but could it really be that artificial intelligence brings with it only good news? The answer depends on your approach. While the benefits of the technology are manifold, unsupervised AI runs the risk of being clouded by bias, and potentially creating content that puts organizations in jeopardy of noncompliance and other risk. 

In fact, Capgemini found 51% of executives say that lack of clarity on underlying data used to train generative Al programs is their top concern, followed by 45% who say they lack confidence that the generative Al programs are fair (inclusive of all population groups). These concerns highlight just how crucial it is for organizations to take steps to ensure greater transparency and accountability in the development and deployment of AI programs in order to build trust. 

Reducing Bias Requires Transparency and Oversight 

Transparency and oversight are the name of the game when it comes to working with AI. As a technology created by human beings, no matter how advanced, it’s inherently exposed to bias from the get-go. However, with the right combination of talent and tools, you can nip bias in the bud and generate inclusive content that truly stands out. 

Creative teams that are skilled at working with AI should understand what to look for in the tools they use to pick out bias. They want transparency on the methods used to generate content and oversight on the way AI models are trained, so they can correct bias in their content and better understand where it originates. 

Choosing the right third-party tools and platforms to facilitate this is crucial, as is a partnership with the data science teams that implement them. With the right tools and data, and the skills to back it all up, teams can better understand how to craft effective prompts that generate inclusive content and implement methods to eliminate bias in the first place. 

Compliance Takes Expert AI and Expert Humans 

Compliance can take many forms. In regulated industries like healthcare and financial services, it requires adherence to industry guidelines. For other organizations, it may consist of how consumer data is used to market. It’s true that artificial intelligence can be taught rules to follow, but these rules are often highly nuanced and fast-changing.  

Simply relying on AI alone to create content will not result in compliant content. It takes skilled creative teams that are well-versed in the areas of compliance and know where and when to rely on other internal experts to check that content is ready for its audiences. While AI can be trained on compliance and regulations, in a fast-moving world of ever-changing requirements, highly trained human teams can work with artificial intelligence to create marketing content that is both highly personalized and fully compliant. 

This all means that compliance review must be built into a process that also includes dynamic generation of personalized content from the beginning. A highly trained creative team understands the elements of a marketing campaign that can and should be personalized, as well as those that need to remain unchanged for compliance reasons. 

After all, there won’t be a substitute for human insights and strategic thinking any time soon. Thus, the real strength of utilizing AI isn’t in replacing strong team members; it is in augmenting them. Or, as Barry Asin, President of SIA, puts it, “Generative AI won’t take your job, but someone using it will…It’s not technology alone, it’s the ability of people to work with the technology.” 


The rise of generative AI we’re currently witnessing has the capability to dramatically expand the scope of content creation in a way we’ve never seen before — and this new era comes with its own unique set of challenges. Getting the best possible results takes a not-so-secret ingredient: talented creatives who are skilled in the methods that enable artificial intelligence to shine, while understanding where humans still have a vital role to play. 

If you’re looking to get truly outstanding results from working with generative AI, you’ve come to the right place! Check out our latest release, The CMO’s Guide to Exceptional AI Content, to learn exactly how you can do it too. 

Download the Guide

Our AI Insights blog series continues below. Catch the first installation here if you missed it!

AI is an immensely powerful tool that is revolutionizing the world of content creation as we speak. In addition to its ability to generate better results from content creation efforts — in conjunction with knowledgeable creative teams — can ensure that content is brand-safe, available in real-time, at scale. For this reason, it’s rapidly gaining in popularity across industries and job functions.

As AI continues to evolve, its potential for automation is becoming even more profound. According to Gartner, by 2026, 20% of repetitive processes will be automated by domain-specific GenAI implementations in every industry. This means that AI will have an increasingly important role to play in the workplace, streamlining processes and freeing up valuable time for more complex and impactful tasks.

The combination of AI and knowledgeable creative teams is a recipe for success, and we can expect to see even more exciting developments in this space in the years to come. With the power of AI at our fingertips, the possibilities for content creation and automation are truly endless.


Efficiency Without Sacrifice

The combination of top creative talent and artificial intelligence has proven to be a game-changer for marketers. With AI, marketers can analyze vast amounts of data, identify patterns, and generate new insights that can inform their decision-making. By automating tasks that are repetitive and time-consuming, the technology can free up marketers to focus on more strategic and creative activities and, as a result, allow them to deliver more impactful campaigns and content that drive better business results with their target audience.

Of course, what good is an increase in efficiency if you don’t have the marketing results to match? Optimizing the cost to deliver high-performing marketing campaigns and content is one of the major benefits of an approach that combines top creative talent with artificial intelligence.

Moreover, generative AI has been found to increase the performance of marketing campaigns significantly—a testament to AI-powered marketing strategies. In fact, 58% of US marketers said increased performance is a benefit of generative AI, according to eMarketer. With this heightened level of efficiency, the potential impact on productivity is truly impressive.


One Input, Many Outputs

The potential of generative AI in content creation goes beyond just omnichannel customer experience. Generative AI’s ability to take text-based inputs and translate them into a variety of mediums — from text-based blogs, to images, videos, and more — means that the future of content marketing and creation can utilize generative AI to create content for an omnichannel customer experience.

This is just another way in which creative teams can leverage generative AI to create highly personalized and targeted content for their customers, spending less time resizing, reformatting, and researching the latest size requirements for each of your marketing channels. This gives them more time to focus on creating great content that is impactful and ready to be translated into many formats for your omnichannel communications.

Ultimately, generative AI has the potential to revolutionize the way we approach content creation and marketing. Given the technology’s capacity to create content for multiple channels, at scale, and with unprecedented levels of personalization, the future of how humans create content is indeed exciting.


Humans Strategize, AI Multiplies

Generative AI technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we approach marketing and communication activities. With the ability to automate the work activities that absorb as much as 70% of employees’ work time, generative AI provides an opportunity to allow humans to be more strategic, and for the marketing work they perform to be more efficient and scale to meet consumers’ rising expectations for more tailored, personalized experiences.

By 2025, Gartner predicts AI avatars leveraging text-to-video using generative AI technology will support 70% of digital and marketing communications, up from less than 5% in 2022. This significant shift will allow companies to provide their customers with more tailored and personalized experiences, ultimately leading ultimately lead to greater brand loyalty and customer satisfaction.

When done well, this means that your creative talent spends their time and focus on the things that matter, like making sure your messaging is on-brand and laser-focused on your target audiences. Then, generative AI can produce the many brand-safe variants that your customers have come to expect. By embracing this technology, companies can stay ahead of the curve and meet the rising expectations of their customers while maximizing the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns.




Fulfilling the promise of generative AI, delivering great results at scale in a brand-safe and ethical manner, takes more than a simple software solution, however. It takes a combination of skilled talent using artificial intelligence tools in an intentional, strategic manner.

Generative AI has the potential to scale content creation and allow cross-medium creation, while improving efficiencies throughout the process. Get the best of it all by partnering generative AI with talent who knows and understands how to get the best results with the prompts, methods, and tools that will power tomorrow’s personalized customer experiences.

Our AI Insights blog series continues, next delving into the process of embracing scale while avoiding bias and non-compliance when working with generative AI. Continue reading here!

It’s hard to avoid the buzz around artificial intelligence these days, and unlike some fads that have come and gone over the years, there’s good reason to take notice of this one. Marketing and communications teams are amongst those who have the most to gain from these technologies, thanks to their immediate, practical application for organizations today.

In this setting, AI makes more sense than ever: after all, why walk up the stairs in a tall building when you can take the elevator instead? In fact, McKinsey estimates that generative AI could add the equivalent of roughly $3 trillion to the global economy, with 75% of that falling into marketing and other areas directly related to the customer experience.


Great Results, with a New Kind of Partnership

With customer expectations to receive personalized content, offers, and experiences constantly increasing, brands are feeling added pressure to ensure their content marketing is multi-channel, brand-compliant, and personalized down to the customer in the moment they need it. This means that more content is needed, and creating it at scale, across the channels, and in the multiple variants that are needed for hyper-personalization requires a level of effort that few if any marketing teams can produce on their own, let alone sustain. Thus, a new kind of partnership is needed.

The partnership we’re referring to, of course, is one between creative talent and their AI counterparts: the methods and platforms that are the toolset of the creative talent of tomorrow. This partnership leads to effective results, while saving copious amounts of time and focusing your creative talent on the work that matters. According to Gartner, 30% of outbound marketing messages from large organizations will be personalized using generative AI tools by 2025, up from less than 2% in 2022.


Better ideas, More Quickly

With remote and hybrid work, plus an increased demand on marketers, it can be hard to schedule in-depth brainstorming sessions for every new initiative that “needed to launch yesterday.” Smart brands are getting great concepts and ideas more quickly by combining human and AI brainstorming.

Generative AI is great at building on starting points provided by humans, and skilled creatives who understand how to prompt artificial intelligence-based tools effectively can supercharge the idea generation process with this AI-human hybrid method. When working with well-crafted prompts, AI can generate a multitude of potential ideas that creative teams can edit and build upon, eliminating any that may not be as relevant.


Scaling to the Occasion

If you operate on multiple marketing channels, have several audience segments, conduct business in several geographies, and/or have other demands that require content variations, you know the scaling issues that come with creating content for even the most routine campaigns. And when it comes to hyper-personalizing content down to the individual customer level, even the largest marketing department can quickly become overloaded.

Take this for instance: If an apparel retailer that sells several product lines on its multi-channel marketing platforms to different audiences in more than one geography creates a targeted campaign, they’ll need to create the following:

  • Multiple variants of copy and materials for each combination of product (e.g., shoes, shirts, jackets, etc.) and audience (e.g., gender, age, HHI, etc.)
  • Resized and reformatted the materials for each marketing channel (e.g., social media platforms, email, website, mobile app, etc.)
  • Unique country/language variations for each geography (e.g., US English, UK English, Spanish, German, etc.)

Keep in mind that this doesn’t account for personalized content that is tailored to the individual. This type of hyper-personalization can build on the above and tailor content to the individual based on things like:

  • Recent purchase behavior and frequency of purchases
  • Specific demographic information
  • Customer loyalty information

All of this adds up to many variations of content to be created. Rest assured, though, generative AI is up to the task of scaling content creation to meet customer expectations for personalized content and experiences.



Maximizing the results of generative AI with the right tools and methods, piloted by skilled prompt engineers and creative talent, means forming a new kind of partnership between humans and artificial intelligence — and it does not require any sacrifices on the outcomes you should expect either.

For organizations that are unsure of where to start, bringing in freelance experts to help with strategy and setup of an AI strategy can accelerate this shift. Whether it’s automation of text content variations or something more advanced, having the right team to set up a personalization strategy can take a generic-feeling marketing campaign and make it compelling and increase conversions.

Our AI Insights blog series continues, exploring what it truly means to effectively personalize content at scale with generative AI. Continue reading here!


Algorithms, automation, and machine learning are quickly becoming entrenched in today’s recruitment process. According to a recent survey, at least 99% of all Fortune 500 companies are now using AI tools to screen candidates during their hiring process.

Recruiters and hiring managers are using AI to help sort through vast quantities of applications and skim the cream off the top of the applicant pool, often using AI technology to “parse” resumes to streamline the hiring process. Resume parsers extract, analyze, and store resume data, which is then categorized, sorted, and searched via an automated process to assist a very human hiring manager or recruiter. Here are some tips that make a resume parser-friendly:

  • Brevity wins the game — think bullets over paragraphs
  • Keep the design simple — use a standard font, include your name in the file name, and nix the headers and footers
  • No infographics, tables, or word art
  • Keywords are key — research the role and cross-reference skills from past jobs that are in line with what is in the job description

By filtering out resumes that don’t have the necessary criteria, parsing software driven by AI can save countless hours that it would otherwise take to read through each application manually and has been largely adopted across industries. But just as hiring managers have leveraged AI to make their jobs easier, candidates have similarly gotten on the AI bandwagon, using the technology to quickly craft resumes and cover letters.

Like It or Not, Candidates Are Using AI, Too

Hiring managers, however, are not the only ones using AI to get a leg up in the hiring game — candidates have caught on to this time-saver and are increasingly using generative AI apps like ChatGPT to ramp up their resumes. Savvy job seekers know that customizing their resume to match a job posting gives them a leg up in the initial screening process — which can be tedious and time-consuming. AI resume-builders, however, promise fast and easy CV customization. It’s no surprise that the adoption of generative AI for resume-building is on the rise.

Results from a poll of more than 1,000 job seekers who had used ChatGPT in their job search by found that:

  • Nearly half of those surveyed — 46% — said that they had used ChatGPT to write their resumes or cover letters.
  • 70% shared that they had a better response rate when they used AI-generated materials.
  • 40% believe that their interviewers were not aware that they had used ChatGPT to craft their job application materials.
  • Just 11% said they were turned down for a job because they’d used ChatGPT.

The potential risks are outweighed by the time-saving benefits for most job seekers, with 88% of those surveyed saying that they’re “somewhat” (41%) or “highly” (47%) likely to keep using ChatGPT to write their resumes and cover letters in the future.

Screening Resumes Is Now More Involved than Ever

Just as AI has inculcated itself into hiring managers’ toolkits, it is increasingly becoming a candidate tool, too. While we like to think that most candidates are honest when listing their skills and professional experience — as AI technology proliferates and expands in use, so do those who use it disingenuously.

Candidates who rely solely on AI to craft their resumes may end up with ones full of inaccurate information. And in a bizarre twist of tech fate, they in theory could even find themselves using the same exact resume as another candidate who used the same AI tool to craft theirs.

As AI ramps up for hiring managers and job applicants, it has become even more critical to develop innovative screening strategies to ensure that the person on paper matches the abilities of the one in real life. Some simple ways to see if AI has overly doctored a resume include generic phrasing, repetitive language, and odd formatting. AI could be at play if the resume you receive has a markedly different writing style than the other application materials.

The good news is that some identification strategies can help you get the quality candidates you seek.

Here Are Some Smart Identification Strategies for Hiring Managers

While the game is changing, not all hope is lost. The hope is that after you interview a candidate, you’ve gained a sense of who they are. To ensure you get quality (and qualified) candidates, here are some smart strategies that can help.

  1. Ask questions that are experience-based as part of your hiring process. To see if a candidate has the knowledge to succeed at your company, ask questions about their process for solving business problems specific to your industry.
  2. Pay close attention to the skills section. While it’s a smart move to use the job description to guide what skills are highlighted, if a candidate’s skills are identical to the job description, however, with little deviation, it may be a sign that AI authored the resume and that the applicant did not refine it to reflect their true professional abilities.
  3. Rev up your use of references. Be curious and take the time to contact all a candidate’s references. Take stock not just of the answers, but the tone in response to questions you ask. And perhaps look to see if there are any testimonials on a candidate’s LinkedIn page when vetting potential hires.
  4. Carefully assess emails versus interview presentations. Listen for possible variances between what is written on a candidate’s application and what they share about their experience during the interview. Your goal is gauge how authentically the candidate has depicted their professional skills and background. If a resume shows stellar experience, but the person doesn’t seem to be familiar with the industry in the way you would imagine from the document — it can become quickly apparent that the author was ChatGPT or some other AI resume builder.
  5. Cross-reference the job application with how the candidate is positioned on LinkedIn and other professional platforms. Be on the lookout for divergent narratives. If the story on LinkedIn is inconsistent with the experience listed on a candidate’s resume or does not match up with how they talk about their experience in an interview, it may indicate that some of their story was falsified with the help of AI. Take the time to compare materials and interactions to get the complete picture.
  6. Go beyond resumes and cover letters to ensure that you hire qualified candidates. During the interview, make sure to ask questions about how the candidate might solve a real problem they may face in the role to gauge how ready they are to hit the ground running. For certain roles, sample projects and practical exercises can help you determine if a candidate can do the work that they say they can do.
  7. AI resume screening tools are just one tool in the box. Resume screening is just one step in the hiring process — the value of this type of tool is to make sure that spam candidates who are not qualified are eliminated as quickly as possible, so hiring managers can focus on those with the skills and experience to succeed in the role. Please keep in mind that AI screening is a tool, not a total solution — it can speed up screening and reduce manual effort, but it’s just one part of the process. It’s critical to do your due diligence and spend time interviewing and vetting possible hires on a more personal level.



Resume screening has always been a critical step in the hiring process, but the game has changed with the advent of AI. While existing tools can help separate the qualified from the unqualified candidates, it’s essential that you dive more deeply into a candidate’s skills and background to ensure that the potential hire you are considering has the experience and know-how listed on their resume.

Change is the only constant — hiring processes will keep evolving — and it’s essential that your company’s practices do, too. If you’re looking for guidance on how to best leverage the power of AI and talent, Creative Circle can help keep you ahead of the curve.

The buzz around ChatGPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) took flight on February 7, 2023, when OpenAI — an artificial intelligence research and deployment company — asked a limited number of people to test it. The initial reviews were rave, and by the end of March millions of people worldwide were using ChatGPT to create content. A student in the UK asked ChatGPT to write a letter to the city council protesting a parking ticket, and her fine was revoked. And this is just the beginning.

For the uninitiated, if there are any of you left out there, ChatGPT is one of the most popular and widely used large language models (LLMs) in circulation. ChatGPT can follow complex instructions given in spoken language and solve challenging problems accurately — imagine if Alexa or Siri could contribute to a creative process. Its capabilities are as astonishing as they are simple:

  • generate, edit, and revise in collaboration with users on creative/technical writing tasks, including songwriting and screenwriting
  • learn an individual user’s writing style
  • accept images for inputs and generate captions, classifications, and analyses
  • handle more than 25K words and support longform content creation, extended conversations, and document search/analysis.

Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and other tech companies have developed similar models. And AI is stretching far beyond just smart chatbots. There are already several iterations of:

  • text-to-image models that create realistic images from natural language
  • image captioning models that describe pictures with words
  • open-source applications that will classify and summarize text
  • vision libraries that enable computers to detect and track objects.

These tools have spurred a tremendous amount of both excitement and distress in the world of work. Will AI take our jobs? Make us more productive? Or a combination of both?

Let’s examine ChatGPT as it’s used in the advertising industry specifically for a closer look.

The Limitations of AI

From OpenAI, the developer of ChatGPT: “While we have safeguards in place, the system may occasionally generate incorrect or misleading information and produce offensive or biased content. It is not intended to give advice.” OpenAI admits to three core limitations of ChatGPT:

  • may occasionally generate incorrect information
  • may occasionally produce harmful instructions or biased content
  • limited knowledge of world and events after 2021.

These limitations bespeak the need for human participation in any and every AI project. According to Todd Reinhart and Bill Skrief of AdAge, AI should streamline the human creative process, but it shouldn’t produce final deliverables:

“Just because a technology is in use doesn’t mean it’s ready for prime time. AI has been a media darling, but creative leaders need to look beyond the hype to determine if AI is right for their process and internal needs and if it synergizes with the comfort level and requirements of clients and partners.”

Reinhart and Skrief warn of the necessity to properly govern AI. Essentially, users must be fully aware and transparent about what it can and can’t do, as well as what it should and shouldn’t do.

For example, FreedomGPT is an LLM-based chatbot trained to have neither guardrails nor inhibitions. The tool was built by AI venture capital firm Age of AI and dispenses with most forms of censorship: it can explain how to build a bomb, it can use racial epithets and slurs and will, with the right input, happily praise Adolf Hitler. This has some unsettling implications. As recently as April, President Joe Biden told his council of science and technology advisors it remains to be seen if artificial intelligence is dangerous, but technology companies must ensure their products are safe.

Right now, ChatGPT is going through growing pains and working through a number of ethical and legal issues. It’s become apparent that human oversight is still required to recognize the technology’s potential for bias and toxicity.

How AI Can Help Ad Agencies

With only a few key phrases, ChatGPT can quickly generate multiple ad copy options. This can shorten the time usually devoted to brainstorming sessions or first drafts, giving copywriters and editors a head start. How simple is it? Ask ChatGPT, “write me ad copy for ______________.” So let it be written, so let it be done.

ChatGPT can also analyze consumer data and identify the most effective ways to reach specific consumer groups. The program can:

  • help advertisers determine the best social media platforms to use for their ad campaigns
  • determine the most effective times of day to target a particular market
  • generate new interests and audience groups.

ChatGPT can also conduct market research, another boon to ad agencies. This is immeasurably useful for advertisers looking to target consumer groups and/or specific demographics and discern their likes, their interests, and their overall buying personas. Some advertising experts even predict ChatGPT will eventually provide wireframes for the development and deployment of individual campaigns.

How AI Can’t Help Ad Agencies

AI is a good tool for generating new ideas and first drafts, but from there, think of it as a cake pulled from the oven: you still need a pâtissier to ice and slice it and put it in a display case (which said pâtissier has set at the perfect temperature and arranged alluringly, etc.). An application like ChatGPT can give you a good starting point, but it takes human creativity, experience, and imagination to create something wholly memorable.

“…at best, ChatGPT is a tool, a powerful one, that can save time and help creative talent focus on bigger thinking, but at worst, it’s a shortcut to mediocrity at scale,” says M.T. Fletcher of AdAge. “You don’t need a gizmo; you need an idea. You need an idea for a story, because stories are what people remember. Make your consumer the protagonist, your brand the catalyst, and tell a tale of transformation, redemption or discovery. From myths to memes, stories are what we share. And campaigns are never-ending stories. Which means creativity and non-linear thinking are still the most powerful tools in your arsenal.”

Example: AI in Action

As an example of ChatGPT’s capabilities and limitations, we asked it the question in the title of this article: “AI and Advertising: How Should Agencies Balance Smart Tech and Human Talent?” Here’s its verbatim answer:

“Artificial intelligence (AI) has transformed the advertising industry, enabling advertisers to target specific audiences, optimize ad campaigns, and measure results with greater accuracy. However, despite the benefits of AI, it is important for advertising agencies to strike a balance between smart tech and human talent.

 Here are some ways that agencies can balance AI and human talent in advertising:

  1. Identify areas where AI can add value: Agencies should identify areas where AI can add value, such as targeting specific audiences, analyzing data, and optimizing ad campaigns. This will enable agencies to leverage AI to improve their advertising efforts while also allowing human talent to focus on more strategic and creative tasks.
  2. Hire talent with the right skills: Agencies should hire talent with the right skills to work alongside AI technology. This includes individuals who have a deep understanding of AI, data analysis, and technology, as well as those with a strong creative skill set who can think outside the box.
  3. Encourage collaboration: To strike a balance between AI and human talent, agencies should encourage collaboration between the two groups. This will enable team members to share knowledge and expertise, and to leverage each other’s strengths.
  4. Emphasize the importance of creativity: While AI can help optimize ad campaigns, it cannot replace human creativity. Agencies should emphasize the importance of creativity in advertising and encourage their teams to think creatively and come up with innovative ideas that resonate with audiences.
  5. Use data to inform decisions: AI can help agencies collect and analyze data, but it is important to remember that data is only one piece of the puzzle. Agencies should use data to inform their decisions, but also rely on the insights and expertise of human talent to make informed decisions.

In summary, advertising agencies should strike a balance between AI and human talent by identifying areas where AI can add value, hiring talent with the right skills, encouraging collaboration, emphasizing the importance of creativity, and using data to inform decisions. By doing so, agencies can leverage the benefits of AI while also leveraging the unique strengths of human talent.”

As you can see, it’s a great start, but it’s largely just a start. The article is grammatically sharp with solid pacing, syntax, and tone, but the content overall is very general and offers few unique insights that truly educate the reader.

How the Right People Can Put AI to Work for Your Agency

AI content will often be “pretty good,” and “pretty good” is impressive when produced with such ease and speed. But anyone in advertising, communications or marketing knows that “pretty good” isn’t enough, especially in an increasingly incredible competitive market during economic headwinds.

So will the phrase “flesh-and-blood” become the “bricks-and-mortar” of the ‘20s, a way to describe increasingly irrelevant human capital as AI continues producing more and better content? In short, no, it shouldn’t.

Replacing your copywriters, editors, and proofreaders with large language models, or your animators, graphic designers, and illustrators with text-to-image AI applications, is a recipe for disappointment and failure. If you put together an orchestra without a conductor or set sail without a captain, you’re sure to find yourself face to face with disaster. In other words, you can’t just leave AI to AI.

AI is likely to change how your agency works and how your talent spends their time. It can grant you efficiency and increased speed by enabling you to produce more content in shorter periods of time. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves — AI is not likely to outright replace employees en masse anytime soon. At least, not for smart agencies and forward-thinking talent.

Because AI is so accessible and affordable, it’s helping to establish a baseline of competency that every agency can easily reach. To stay competitive, it’s more important than ever to have the very best creative talent. Brands will need the writers, editors, project managers, analysts, and more who can write careful prompts, fact-check and edit AI output, fine-tune content for specific customers, propose novel approaches to common client challenges, delight audiences with original ideas and, perhaps most importantly, stay keenly aware of AI’s quickly evolving abilities and pitfalls.

Jobseekers who stubbornly stick to old methods may soon find themselves becoming more and more replaceable. But the open-minded creatives who are eager to learn new tools, adapt their processes, and consistently challenge conventional thinking are going to be the most impactful contributors that a company can have. This is the type of talent that successful agencies will be seeking out, developing, learning from, and utilizing in the years ahead, and it’s the type of talent we work with at Creative Circle.

We are in an age of breakneck progress in artificial intelligence the chatbots have given way to AI tools that can create impressive, highly detailed images. Is it time to worry or rejoice?  

Say hello to an emerging and fast-evolving genre of AI known as text-to-image generation.

It’s a fascinating new front in artificial intelligence, where anyone can generate hyper-realistic images from a written text description.

While most users have generated work that leans toward the weird and absurd, like the Mona Lisa painting a portrait of Da Vinci, many are also experimenting with possible commercial applications. As you might imagine, this tech has stirred up deep existential and ethical questions about art, creating, and more. Who is the artist behind the creations — AI or its human user? Can machines be creative? And perhaps most germane for creatives — Will this new technology make certain creative industry jobs go *poof*?

Just this past midsummer 2022, a select few people in and adjacent to the tech industry were granted access to these text-to-image AI tools during initial beta testing. The two most prominent are Dall-E —derived from the name of the surrealist artist Salvador Dali and Pixar’s lovable animated robot Wall-E —and Midjourney. Dall-E was launched last year by OpenAI, a nonprofit research lab founded by Sam Altman, Peter Thiel, and Elon Musk, among others. Midjourney entered open beta in mid-July 2022 and comes from a self-funded AI research lab founded by David Holz.

These AI text-to-image tools are simple to use — but rife with controversy.

You can open the doors to a dazzling cornucopia of visual creation in seconds with just a few words or simple phrases. Here’s how these AI tools work: Users type in a text prompt like “a frog on a united states quarter” or “chickens gathered to watch human wrestling,” for example, and the results are wild. These programs can translate text into award-winning art that has roiled the art and design community.

The New York Times recently published an article, An A.I.-Generated Picture Won an Art Prize. Artists Aren’t Happy,” chronicling the brouhaha around the Colorado State Fair’s annual art competition awarding Jason M. Allen, of Pueblo West, CO, with the blue-ribbon prize in Digital Art for a piece he had created with Midjourney (he won $300).

via Jason Allen

Allen’s work, “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial,” won the fair’s contest for emerging digital artists, making it one of the first AI-generated pieces to win such a prize, provoking fierce criticism from artists who accused him of “cheating.” Allen defended his work, which in submission he had explicitly labeled “Jason M. Allen via Midjourney.” After winning, Allen posted a photo of his prize piece to the Midjourney Discord chat, which made its way to Twitter, where it ignited heated debate and backlash. Here are some excerpts from the online mêlée.

  • This is so gross. I can see how AI art can be beneficial, but claiming you’re an artist by generating one? Absolutely not,” shared one Twitter user.
  • “We’re watching the death of artistry unfold right before our eyes,” another Twitter user wrote, who was quoted in the New York Times piece.
  • “No effort? Please,” another wrote. “If Jackson Pollock can splatter paint onto a canvas or Maurizio Cattelan can tape a banana to a wall, and both are called “art” (both which take hardly “any effort at all”), then this counts too.”
  • “Fine tuning and curating is the art here. If they just presented generic Midjourney art, then… It wouldn’t have won. Figuring out what looks like good digital art is the art itself.”

Some tweets excoriated Allen, while others defended him. Many argued that using AI is no different from using other digital image manipulation tools like Photoshop, and that human creativity was necessary to craft the right prompts and curate the final award-winning piece.

Controversy over new art-making technologies is nothing new.

The New York Times article shared that “controversy over new art-making technologies is nothing new. Many painters recoiled at the invention of the camera, which they saw as a debasement of human artistry. (Charles Baudelaire, the 19th-century French poet and art critic, called photography “art’s most mortal enemy.”).”

Is text-to-image AI different? Maybe, maybe not. Regardless, human artists are, however, understandably anxious about their futures. Will anyone pay for art or design if they can just generate it themselves? Or are these just new tools that will augment concepting and prototyping, freeing artists, designers, marketers, and more to focus on the more directional components of creation?

Just this past June, Cosmopolitan commissioned art director and digital artist Karen X Cheng to produce the magazine’s first-ever AI-generated cover art — a strong woman shown as an astronaut, based on creative direction from Cheng and the Cosmo design team. The headline and lede on the cover read, “Meet the world’s first artificially intelligent magazine cover. And it only took 20 seconds to make.”  While it took Dall-E twenty seconds to render the image, that bombastic but attention-grabbing claim does not take into account the time it took to refine the art direction or compose the right prompt to achieve the final image.

Cheng documented the process and posted the video on Instagram, which showed the hundreds of iterations of text prompts she typed before coming up with: “wide-angle shot from below of a female astronaut with an athletic feminine body walking with swagger toward camera on Mars in an infinite universe, synthwave digital art.

Via Cosmopolitan

Cosmopolitan wasn’t the only magazine with an AI-produced cover this past June. The normally buttoned-up Economist deployed a Midjourney-created piece emblazoned with the headline: “AI’s New Frontier.” These examples are significant because they show how quickly digital technologies can go from bleeding edge to market, giving rise to a panoply of complex emotions.

What is the future of text-to-image AI, and what does it mean for artists and designers?

Advances in AI have often sparked concern about the displacement of human workers. While those concerns are legitimate, IBM CEO Ginny Rometty recently said, “If I considered the initials AI, I would have preferred augmented intelligence.”

One way to look at this new technology is that it can help push creative visions forward. Someone putting together a presentation might find they can communicate ideas visually that surpass their artistic abilities. The production team for a video shoot can quickly test out backdrops and props ahead of time. An advertising agency can tweak drafts of a new campaign before having artists work on the final concept.

The reality is that AI design tools are already a part of the creative industry. The Adobe Creative Suite is full of AI-enhanced features. Premiere Pro has proprietary Adobe Sensei AI embedded, allowing automated captions to be created. In Illustrator, the ability to trace and vectorize sketches is powered by AI, as well as the skin-smoothing and other retouching tools in Photoshop’s neural filters.

This compendium of AI use cases from the last several years shows how ubiquitous automated design has become, but it also demonstrates that without creative intervention from human artists and designers, the results of AI-generated design can feel derivative, regimented, and homogenized — making the case that without a human to steer the way, this technology has no intrinsic soul. Perhaps the future is for humans to be captains of creation, with a growing array of digital tools at their disposal.

About the author. 

An award-winning creator and digital health, wellness, and lifestyle content strategist—Karina writes, produces, and edits compelling content across multiple platforms—including articles, video, interactive tools, and documentary film. Her work has been featured on MSN Lifestyle, Apartment Therapy, Goop, Psycom, Yahoo News, Pregnancy & Newborn, Eat This Not That, thirdAGE, and Remedy Health Media digital properties and has spanned insight pieces on psychedelic toad medicine to forecasting the future of work to why sustainability needs to become more sustainable.