How can AI work for us?

We’ve all got the memo by now that artificial intelligence is going to irrevocably change our working lives. But how might this play out in reality? And could it – instead of simply decimating jobs – help us make better creative work?

AI continues to dominate thinking in 2023 and is often – as is the way of the world these days – couched in apocalyptic terms. At the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity last week, discussion of AI was everywhere – featuring in numerous talks on the official programme for delegates, but also in ‘fringe’ events taking place across the city. The backdrop to all this was a sinister-sounding new report from Forrester that dropped the week before and prophesied that “advertising agencies in the US will automate 7.5% of jobs by 2030”.

The prospect of so many jobs being replaced by machines undoubtedly conjures up fear, alongside a sense of inadequacy and worthlessness. But in the wider discussions and debates, some more optimistic and nuanced positions emerged, along with the prospect that AI might improve rather than decimate our creative lives.

This was expressed in two very different talks – one on the main stage at the festival, which saw OpenAI’s COO Brad Lightcap in conversation with Margaret Johnson, CCO and partner at ad agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners; the other in a storefront in the city hosted by Wieden+Kennedy ad agency, which saw a much smaller crowd take in the thoughts of Nilesh Ashra, CEO of OK Tomorrow. Here’s what they had to say.