Heads up, creatives: AI won’t replace you, but you need to step up

Rather than making humans obsolete, AI can bring out the best in people in various professions, according to experts.

Contrary to widespread apprehensions regarding AI and job security, several experts are optimistic that AI can help boost our creativity, resourcefulness, and ingenuity. 

This was the prevalent sentiment at last week’s panel discussion by Google Philippines and the Internet & Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP) on the creative and transformational possibilities of AI.  

By allowing AI to crunch daunting sets of data and figures, people have more energy and brainpower for the more important tasks such as creative thinking and strategy development.

Moderated by Adobo magazine founder, president, and editor-in-chief Angel Guerrero, the panel included industry leaders and experts, such as Nikki Del Gallego (Data & Insights Lead, Google Philippines), Denise Haak (President, IMMAP), Cynthia Dayco (Head of Content, Metrobank, and Chairperson, Boomerang Awards and IMMAP) and Raymund Sison (Partner & Chief Creative Officer, Propel Manila, and Chairperson, Digital Young Creators, IMMAP). 

When a creative approaches AI with solid concepts and skill sets, they are able to produce even better work. 

The panelists provided compelling examples to make their case. Del Gallego shared how letting AI crunch large amounts of data allows her to focus on higher-order tasks and work more efficiently; Haak noted how AI can help spot patterns in data and analytics that we may not see; Dayco emphasized that there are specific awards now being given to performance campaigns that use Google AI.  

​​“AI is going to give us more time, more space, and more sleep,” quipped Sison, prompting laughter from the crowd. In a sense, this is true: by allowing AI to crunch daunting sets of data and figures, people have more energy and brainpower for the more important tasks such as creative thinking and strategy development. “You can use AI as your brainstorm buddy, your imagination enhancer, and more. This will open up a thousand creative portals for you,” he added. 

However, as the panel kept praising the possibilities of AI for marketers and creatives, a thought that I couldn’t articulate yet kept bugging me—somehow, there was something lost in the equation. Or was I just a pessimistic party pooper in this happy AI appreciation session?

From left: Angel Guerrero, founder, president, and editor-in-chief of Adobo magazine; Nikki Del Gallego, Data & Insights Lead, Google Philippines; Raymund Sison, Partner & Chief Creative Officer of Propel Manila, and Chairperson of Digital Young Creators, IMMAP; Cynthia Dayco, Head of Content for Metrobank, and Chairperson, Boomerang Awards and IMMAP; Denise Haak, President of IMMAP. Photo from Google Philippines.

Toward the end of the event, Haak said something that gave me a lightbulb moment:

“AI is kindergarten. It’s not really in its infancy stage—it’s a toddler. As we engage with it, like kindergarten, we’re going to learn a lot about it through play. It’s not going to be that structured or clean-cut. We’re going to fall a lot, but it will be fun. Most importantly, right now is the foundation of how AI is going to grow up.”

That’s it, I thought. I looked around the room and realized that, in one way or another, all of us were the “bigger” kids within this kindergarten that we call AI. Not only do some of the experts in the room know how to harness AI, but they are experienced enough to learn properly from the falls and failures that they’ll encounter while using AI. The panelists, marketers, and creatives in the event have all been through the basics of their jobs and have upskilled enough to grow with AI and work with the technology accordingly. 

Haak’s interesting take on AI: the technology is “kindergarten.”

These beg the following questions: what then becomes of an inexperienced fresh graduate who doesn’t have their basics covered yet? Going by Del Gallego and Sison’s ideas, how can a first-jobber leave parts of their job to AI and focus on higher-order thinking if they haven’t worked and studied enough to prepare for advanced responsibilities? As somebody from the creative field, I resonated with the scenarios that Sison presented, so I knew I had to settle these curiosities with him.  

“[For first-jobbers in the creative sphere, I agree that] they should be given proper training on the basics of creativity: thinking creatively, knowing what good ideas are, what good design is, how to present [ideas], and what good production is, among others,” the chief creative officer says. 

Citing that we’ve been able to create compelling things without AI, Sison notes that we should be able to do good work even without the technology. As such, when a creative approaches AI with solid concepts and skill sets, they are able to produce even better work. 

Sison looks at taste as the defining factor in an age where skills can easily be learned or replicated by AI.

Sison also emphasizes the role of humanity in harnessing the power of AI. “The rise of the machines should motivate us to strengthen our sense of humanity better—our connections with each other, our sense of empathy, our skill of identifying good ideas.” 

In an age where everyone can potentially learn creative skills or allow AI to replicate certain tasks, taste—a subjective factor which Sison considers part of our humanity—will be the definitive element in making and evaluating good creative output. “If everyone knows how to edit a video, for example, those with good taste will inevitably create the best work.”

He also reminds people of the responsible and skillful use of the technology, underscoring that humans still have that dominion over it. “We have to remind ourselves that AI can only give you what has been done—it can only generate ideas from what you feed to it. It can predict possibilities, but these are based on past patterns. That’s why courses on prompting AI are already available, so that we can use the technology to the best of its capabilities.”

The new lifestyle.