Why AI is set to be a game-changer for creativity

IBM Watson research lead Dr John Smith reveals how creatives are already leveraging AI to create compelling and engaging content

From movie makers to fashion designers, the future of compelling and engaging creative content will be powered by great artificial intelligence.

That’s according to IBM fellow and manager of multimedia and vision, Dr John Smith, who caught up with this week with CMO to discuss how the vendor is working to build out applications of AI in the creative sphere.

“Truly creative people – the artists, the designers – it seems to be all about magic. But there is a method and process behind it,” he said. “And there can also be a lot of mundane work.”

As an example, Smith noted it can take three months just to make a movie trailer.

“One of the interesting things about the AI process is that it can really help streamline the movie trailer process, we can look at creativity and study it as a ‘black box’, and we can also look at historical data around the movie,” he said.  

Last year, IBM’s Watson cognitive computing platform was used by local couture designer, Jason Grech, to create a new fashion line using data-driven insights. The Cognitive Couture collection was based on analysis of more than 500,000 images of runway fashion imagery from an historic fashion archive, as well as real-time social chatter around fashion trends and consumer preferences.

“If we can assist these types of creative people, and augment that creative process, then I think can have a big impact,” Smith said. “The potential of harnessing AI to take creative content engagement to the next level is enormous."

Computer vision, image recognition, video understanding, speech, language, translation are just some of the commercial capabilities the IBM Watson research team is refining. It’s even attempting to teach Watson to feel, Smith claimed.

“We’re still researching and experimenting with a lot of these exciting concepts but we’re also moving in a very intriguing direction,” he continued. “The progress has been so great and rapid and that’s so gratifying. Things that were really hard five years ago are now easy in many ways. The pace of development is really exciting and we’re encouraged to take on the next steps like streamlining the creative process because our tools are becoming more and more effective.”

For organisations hesitant about embracing AI in the creative space, Smith said there should be no fear factor when it comes to embracing its power and potential.

“Being hands on with the AI processes, personally, I don’t have any fear,” he said. “There’s still a lot we need to learn, and people will always fear the unknown because they might not understand what AI is able to do today. But ultimately, creatives tell great stories, and at the same time, advertisers and brand campaigns need to connect with audiences in a meaningful way. And I see a lot of opportunity for AI in that space.”

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