August 8th, 2023

AI is suddenly everywhere…

Or at least, that’s what it seems like to us at D4R and its integration into various industries is well and truly underway, and the creative industry is no exception.

(Image courtesy of Bootcamp)

Although AI seems to have only recently blown up over the past decade or so, the birth of AI actually traces back to the 50’s when researchers began exploring the concept of “thinking machines” and attempting to create machines that could mimic human intelligence. Now in the 21st century, with advances in computing power, data availability and algorithms techniques, AI has experienced a surge. Machine learning has led to breakthroughs in various AI applications, including image recognition, natural language processing and autonomous vehicles. AI continues to evolve rapidly, with ongoing research and development driving new innovations and capabilities in the field of AI.

(Image courtesy of Smoking Dutchman)

Friend or Foe?

The more sophisticated the tool gets, the more data it has had to acquire to act and work as accurately as possible. Often when talking about AI, this poses the question surrounding personal data and very likely, yours. What do AI systems do with our data? Where do these systems get their data from that they need to exist? How is this data being used and what precautions, if any, are taken when it comes to sensitive information? These are the questions many of us want to ask but don’t have the right people to answer them because quite often these companies may not even know themselves.

For creatives, such as writers, musicians, actors and artists, copyrighting is a major issue. AI software uses information and images that are already available to generate new content but depending on how the output is configured it can often look rather similar to its source without acknowledgement of the human creators.

As well as resulting in claims over image rights and possession of information, AI has also been the cause of strikes among these creatives, arguing that their profession may be in danger due to the advanced technology that AI provides, resulting in various regulations being put in place.

This concern was highlighted in the latest Black Mirror season where AI was the subject for satire. For those who are not familiar with this episode of the tech-dystopian series ‘Joan Is Awful’ features crypto crashes, data breaches and most prominently, generative AI. The episode follows a character who realises, to her own horror, that her day filled with misfortunate events has been played out on a streaming site for all to see, played by Salma Hayak. Except later in the episode viewers learn it isn’t Hayak at all, but an AI generated likeness of Hayek commissioned by unethical employees of the streaming site. Whilst this is not the sole theme of the entire episode it is certainly an underlying theme that runs throughout leaving a lasting impression of AI on viewers.

(Image courtesy of Nick Wall, Netflix)

But it’s not all bad

You may think that what generative AI can do far outweighs the concerns. When used correctly we think that AI can be an extremely useful tool, as well being a bit of fun too! A few months ago, you couldn’t log into TikTok or Instagram without escaping the uncanny AI generated portraits filling your feed, or the endless ChatGPT memes, bringing light to the more often negative connotations associated with AI.

We believe that we shouldn’t work against AI but instead use it to augment our intelligence as AI will always need human input and so it can be leveraged to enhance our creative work. For example, if you were to ask Midjounrey, an AI image generator, to design a retail space with a concept based around biophilia and outer space, yes it would generate a thought-provoking image, however it is the human input that has had to initially ideate the concept.

(Image courtesy of Lensa)

Although AI can save time on repetitive or routine tasks it cannot give human feelings and thoughts, and where retail is concerned it cannot determine how humans will interact with and in a space. AI does however enable us to focus on tasks that require human abilities, such as ideation, conceptualisation and problem solving, what we do best.

We believe AI is pivotal in how the retail industry looks now as well as in years to come. It aims to take the shopping experience to the next level, with the rise of even more personalised technologies, immersive environments, and seamless customer journeys.

With all that being said, we cannot rely on AI because AI relies on us. In order to yield better results for the future we need to feed AI with fresh artwork and ideas. Essentially nothing can match the human brain, but AI certainly can expand your mind and feed human creativity.

(Image courtesy of Unrated)

What’s next for AI?

Even in its current form, the sophisticated tech is already shaping everything from how we live to how we work and, of course, how we shop but like anything there’s always room for advancements…

Stay tuned whilst we explore all things AI this August.

If you have a vision to execute a best-in-class store or retail activation that responds to the future of retail and creates hype within your industry and the wider retail sector, we would love to bring that vision to life.

Let’s talk.