The dawn of automated creativity

Designers have resisted the idea of AI, but it can open up new horizons for creativity and personalisation, says Stink Studios’ James Britton

In a recent episode of a four-part ­BBC series of Reith Lectures on artificial intelligence, Professor Stuart Russell discussed AI and what he predicts will be “the biggest event in human history”.

While the theme is future-­facing, as he describes a path to general-purpose AI (where machines can competently replicate all the things that humans are currently capable of), there are increasing examples of AI and automation creeping into our everyday lives — from recognition of objects and faces in images, to speech recognition and machine translation.

Open machine learning platforms that generate images from text ­descriptions have emerged, with results that range from frighteningly accurate to beautifully abstract, but a distinction continues to be drawn between mechanical tasks requiring a machine to complete a fixed objective and those tasks that require empathy, humility and a human touch. For this reason, automation continues to be seen as the enemy of creativity.