Man vs Technology

“One day the AIs are going to look back on us the same way we look at fossil skeletons on the plains of Africa. An upright ape living in dust with crude language and tools, all set for extinction.”

The above is a quote from a film I went to watch last week called Ex Machina. The story focuses on a computer programmer who works for a multi-billion dollar Internet company. Through a random lottery he is given the opportunity to visit the CEO at his mountain retreat where he is given the chance to participate in a once in a lifetime experiment that has him interact with the worlds first artificial intelligence in the form of a semi-robot girl. The film had the usual man vs. technology theme running throughout and at times moral and ethical issues were brought into question. But one message that most people took away from this film was that the machines had the advantage over humans.

We see this in many films like the Terminator series, The Matrix, 2001: A Space Odyssey where computer intelligence has surpassed its creators and at times even taken over. Quite recently Google announced that it was very close to developing machines that would be able to mimic human behaviour, even claiming that within 10 years their algorithms will allow computers to develop ‘common sense’. Shazam, an app known primarily for it’s music identification capabilities, has moved on to visual recognition. A small logo on the bottom of your screen will determine whether the object is, in their words, ‘shazamable’. This moves it further into the augmented reality category. And of course we can’t forget how Google Glass (renamed Project Glass) will be revolutionising the way we see things. As exciting as advances in technology like these sound is it really beneficial to us as humans?

The quick and obvious answer would be ‘yes’. Technology like this has sent men into space, allowed us to connect to someone else from across the world, lets you live-stream events at will. All those are no doubt giant leaps for the technology and science industry. But how soon will it be before your job can be taken over by a machine? It’s a different answer for everyone. Some jobs require you to think instead of do which would require a very advanced system if it were to ever be replaced by a computer. Whilst others jobs are already centred on the use of a computer therefore would that make it more easier to be integrated with any futuristic A.I?

Every week I receive emails from Adobe telling me about a new app that they’ve launched that helps cut down my work rate and will revolutionise the design industry. Last month an app called Adobe Shape turned everything that you photographed into a vector therefore making things like fonts, patterns and any vector based design you’ve seen available to edit and work on at the click of a button.

I have always wondered what an A.I graphic designer would work like. There was a point where I thought that creative jobs like mine where probably the safest against such a threat. When it comes to design it’s different because it’s for clients with specific briefs and desires. Sure if it came down to the process of creating something in an application then I might be in trouble as I’m sure it’s not too difficult (for a programmer) to program a computer to follow commands on a keyboard. So in terms of speed and rate of work completed I wouldn’t be able to compete. But what sets us apart is the ability to think creatively. It’s still a while before computers can think critically and make decisions based on experience.

Before you had websites that lets you create logos and web pages in 3 easy steps. But that was based on a template and very little flexibility. You cannot discuss your ideas with that kind of a system or ask it to change anything at will that isn’t part of it’s preset (not yet anyway). However recently you have websites like The Grid that allows you to upload pictures that help capture the mood and style you want and through complex algorithms delivers quite astounding results. What’s more impressive is that it changes and adapts to your needs as you throw more things at it. It’s still in its early phase so there’s still some time before it’s the next best solution. But at the rate that computer intelligence is advancing it won’t be too long before that turns into a reality.

Hakim Shujaee is a Creative Thinker and Designer at Happy Creative, a full service marketing and creative agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to www.happy-creative.co.uk

Happy Hakim
Happy Hakim
Hakim Shujaee is a Happy Designer. A good film (too many to mention) and digital painting make Hakim happy.
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