Oh boy. What a day. I was just reflecting on summer the summer of 2022 when I took a tour a the new generative AI models that were being released. "Uh oh. And also yikes. So am I done?" I know I am not alone. Designers artists and creators from around the world were all blown away with the generative AI that the ML systems were able to produce.

Is this the end of the [ ______ ] ?  Uh, no.

Fast forward to the middle of 2024. I have been using AI tools for all sorts of stuff. From simple image generation to using an AI voice generator for the voicemail message on my iPhone.  We all know the tools; ChatGPT, Midjourney, Adobe Firefly, RunwayML, ElevenLabs, Neural.love, Leonardo, and on and on and on. It's exciting, it's impressive, it's scary, it's now part of our every day work life. I now get hired by clients just to figure all the AI stuff, what, who, how, etc.

oh no! Every person in the world has their own Mac!  – of course that meant every [ insert job or business ] became extinct. (my 1st Mac above circa 1990 lol)
Was the introduction of the personal home computer the "end" of anybody? Uh, no.  Basically, what happened was people using personal computers replaced people not using personal computers.  AI is the same deal. AI will not replace people but people using AI will replace people not using AI.
I trained AI. Yep. You probably did too. We kind of all did.  I searched the LAION 5B dataset (a large-scale dataset for "research purposes" consisting of 5.85 Billion CLIP-filtered image-text pairs). You can too at https://haveibeentrained.com/ . And sure enough, I found a lot of my stock images in the dataset. What up with that? Where's my payment for the license fee?

What is the good and bad?

AI has been both a blessing and a curse. Some have stolen content. Others have put an ethical model in place. It's like having a mischievous genie granting wishes and then stealing your lamp.

Can AI replace creativity? Again, duh. No.

AI-powered tools like Adobe Sensei and DeepArt.io can generate unique visual effects, enhance images, and even create original artwork based on our input. These tools can help us experiment with new styles, colors, and compositions, pushing the boundaries of our visual creativity.  Use it, don't rely on it. Be creative with AI, not because of AI.

This has happened before.

Cameras _
When the first photography camera was introduced, it changed everything. It was like a revolution in capturing moments, allowing people to freeze time with a single snap! This innovation brought a new dimension to how we preserve memories, document events, and express our creativity. However, despite the transformative impact of photography, there are still painters. The art of painting continues to thrive, offering a unique, timeless way to interpret and represent the world. Photography and painting coexist, each enriching the other, and providing diverse mediums for human expression and storytelling.

Computers _
When the first computer was introduced, it revolutionized the way we live and work, transforming industries and everyday tasks in ways previously unimaginable. However, it did not replace everybody. Instead, it created new opportunities, roles, and professions, empowering people to achieve more and sparking an era of innovation and collaboration. This groundbreaking technology augmented human capabilities, enabling us to tackle complex problems and unlock potential in numerous fields, while humans continued to be at the heart of creativity, decision-making, and interpersonal connections. Also, the Mac boot up chime, I mean c'mon.

Interwebs Online .Net _
The invention of the internet was groundbreaking, revolutionizing the way we communicate, access information, and conduct business. It created a vast digital landscape where knowledge could be shared instantly across the globe, connecting people in ways that were previously unimaginable. However, despite its transformative impact, the internet didn't replace everybody. Human expertise, creativity, and personal interaction remain irreplaceable. Professionals across various fields still bring essential skills and insights that technology cannot replicate.

AI as stepping stone.

I do not like that most of us have been ripped off.  Stealing and using our images. It's not fair. What are we to do?  I personally am interested to see how all the lawsuits pan out. I appreciate and respect what Adobe has done with Firefly – ethical training and paying creators a fee.  I have been paid by Adobe and a few other agencies for ML training done using my work.  At the same time I am excited with all the new tools we have and the ones coming.  It feels like a 1996 moment, launching up Netscape Navigator or booting up my very own Macintosh.  But, this new tech is not about being lazy.  Many untalented and just plain greedy people will use AI to make mountains of ugly things. We will reach critical mass and there will be trillions of useless files littering the interweb landscape.  But ... there will be those of us who use AI as stepping stone.  We will combine it with the camera, the computer, the internet and other tools to make stuff we never could before. It's the wild west and there's lots of gold out in them there hills!

Chad Anderson