Resource or rival: artificial intelligence and the future of creative fields

Graphic by Kelsey Mason

“You’ve heard AI is taking over, right?”

“You know that job isn’t going to exist in 10 years because of AI, don’t you?”

“Why don’t you pick a career that’s guaranteed to be a little more…long-term?”

In a world where artificial intelligence is becoming more prevalent and more effective by the day, these are the questions I, and many of my peers, get frequently asked when we say that we want to go into writing or a similar creative field.

As AI rapidly advances and people find new uses for it every day, many people have begun posing questions about its future in the creative fields and the challenges AI may present to people attempting to enter those fields after graduation. 

Students who are interested in creative careers such as graphic design, technical writing, video editing, animation, copywriting etc. currently face a great deal of uncertainty. Will artificial intelligence erase their future career paths? 

Erin Pierce, assistant graphic design professor at Boise State, outlined her perspective on the issue. 

“I definitely take the approach that this is a tool that we can use,” Pierce said. “But how do we work with it? How do we design with it? How do we design better products and services using artificial intelligence, machine learning and chatbots, or just be able to bring up information quicker for someone so they’re more efficient in the tasks that they want to perform?”

While AI certainly could replace human labor in certain aspects of creative work, people in creative majors and industries don’t necessarily need to view artificial intelligence as the enemy. In fact, AI can be an incredibly useful tool. Productivity tools such as ChatGPT, Google Bard and Sora, OpenAI’s video generator, all offer students and professionals in creative fields resources and inspiration that can significantly simplify their work process if utilized correctly.  

AI can be used for a wide range of creative purposes; it’s a valuable resource for many creatives, such as those who might be looking for new ideas and inspiration for their work, those who might want a starting point for their writing or those who might need to quickly edit their visual content. 

For those worried about the potential for AI taking over there future career, it is important to consider that there are limitations to what artificial intelligence really can accomplish. Pierce discussed that while AI can be a useful resource, it isn’t capable of the quality of work many people believe it to be. 

“The more you use it, even at a smaller scale, you see it’s not totally accurate,” Pierce said. “It’s not a comprehensive tool in terms of producing the results you want. It requires critical thought on your part, some knowledge beyond what AI gives you to sort through, what is accurate or what you want to move forward with because it’s a good idea. I think what we need to do across the board is just understand the scope of the tool in terms of what it can and can’t do.”

Art in any form — visual art, music, writing or any other creative work -– made by artificial intelligence lacks the personal connection and emotion that accompanies work done by a living, breathing person. 

In an interview for a BGSU article, doctoral candidate Andrew Samo discussed this necessity. 

“‘Art was thought to be uniquely human because it gives off a feeling or communicates some idea about the human experience that machines don’t have,’ Samo said. ‘In some ways, it’s to be expected people felt more strongly about human-made art.’”

The products of artificial intelligence also lack the originality that comes with work produced by humans, since AI is only able to pull content from what already exists and cannot generate anything new. This results in a glaring lack of the actual creative element in the “art” that artificial intelligence produces. 

While the rise of artificial intelligence tools and uproar in the media might suggest impending doom for creative majors and careers, students who are hoping to enter such a field can resist this by reframing AI as a tool, rather than looking at it as the competition. 

AI isn’t the end of creative fields, it’s the beginning of an entirely new set of tools for people who work creatively that allows them to work more efficiently than ever before. As AI continues to advance, so will opportunities for creative majors to work more efficiently and find inspiration for their art. 

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