As Google has made us dumber when it comes to not storing information which otherwise can be easily searched, will AI gradually make us forget the skills that gave us an edge at work?
Artificial intelligence is clearly becoming a part of our lives. While most of us won’t even realise it, there are many elements of our tech lives that are already getting a nudge from artificial intelligence and machine learning. And this is not happening by accident. Technology already has reached a point where it can take artificial intelligence—which has been evolving for a few decades—to more consumers thanks to better computers and other hardware. However, artificial intelligence’s real impact will be felt when it starts entering our work spaces to take over some of the mundane tasks we do on a daily basis.
One of the interesting mass implementations of artificial intelligence in the work space, especially in the creative industry, is the year-old Adobe Sensei, which digs into “trillions of content and data assets all within a unified artificial intelligence and machine learning framework” to power intelligent features across all products of the company. Shanmugh Natarajan, managing director and V-P (Products), India, says the idea is to harness the intelligence of the creative community to serve their own needs. “With the underlying technology of machine learning and artificial intelligence, we are able to not just automate the drudgery, but also give the users a way to amplify their creative intelligence,” explains Natarajan.
But how exactly can artificial intelligence make life easier for a person in a creative field? A good example of this is how the Puppet Warp feature in Photoshop and other Adobe products powered by Sensei now learns from millions of photographs and how designers work on those photos to transform a picture the way the artist wants. Sensei actually figures out the elements and the context using natural language and even lets the creative artist use voice to change the image the way he wants, with minimal manual interaction. It can now do appropriate masking and even predict what you are trying to achieve, in a way making the designer herself redundant because it knows from data how millions of designers are reacting to such a situation. So, instead of shifting thousands of points on an image to change it, a creative artist now just needs to move a few pins.
At this point, Sensei will take over, as it knows how the rest of the points will react to this. Is that really a good thing? Adobe’s way of looking at this, Natarajan says, is about artificial intelligence and machine learning amplifying the creativity or experience of our customers. “It is going to be there when they need it, it will get out of the way when they don’t. It is going to make you a better creator and just amplifies what you are good at. So, you are the person who makes it better.”
For now, the fears around artificial intelligence are not limited to whether it will take over human jobs. Given that artificial intelligence is being compared to electricity and how it impacted human life, I am scared we will start outsourcing a lot of thinking, and even some of our creative skills, to computers. As Google has made us dumber when it comes to not storing information which otherwise can be easily searched—as contact apps have made us forget phone numbers, as Facebook has made us not remember important dates—will artificial intelligence gradually make us forget the skills which gave us an edge at work?
“Now, everybody is realising that they are creative in some or the other way. We want to provide the tools so that they can express themselves well. Without something like Puppet Warp, it would have taken more time to get the creative right with the acceptance of all the stakeholders; now you can do it faster, but without losing your creativity. That is how we look at it,” says Natarajan. He thinks these are all evolutions we have to accept. “These are the things technology will take us through. I think that is acceptable. Of course, there will be some nostalgia around what we used to do.”