The creative sectors are among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with large cities often containing the greatest share of jobs at risk. With the rapid advancements in digital technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), and automation, several youths are becoming skeptical to opt for career paths in the arts, media, and creative sectors. In this post, we will discuss how to leverage new-age technologies for boosting careers in Arts, Media, and Creative sectors.
Building Arts, Media & Creative Careers by Leveraging AI and Computing
Co-authored by Sreeparna Dutta
Diwali was just around the corner and the festivity hangover has not subsided yet. It is this time when brands – big and small, fight it out in their own way to secure a place in prospective consumers’ psyche.
British multinational confectionery giant, Cadbury, came up with one of the most unique methods to promote small businesses – those which might have suffered tremendous losses, and/or were otherwise adversely affected due to this worldwide pandemic.
Cadbury roped in Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan to promote these businesses. They used Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to recreate the actor’s voice and face to promote local stores. Since this was a humongous task, Cadbury gave the power to people to create their customized versions.
The 2:18 minute-long video, titled ‘Not Just A Cadbury Ad’ immediately struck a chord with the viewers – so much so that it garnered 50K views within a day of its launch.
Watch the following video!
Media/Advertising Creativity and AI
Media is an ever-changing, ever-evolving industry. It is as much traditional as it is contemporary. While the traditional forms – telecasting and broadcasting continue to have their own share of consumers, the new-age digital platforms have created their own space in this Media and creative industry.
These platforms are constantly upgrading and updating themselves, leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to stay on in this ever-competitive market.
The world of advertising is no stranger to AI. Many award-winning campaigns like The Next Rembrandt have used it to illustrate what machine learning can do when pointed in the right direction.
Machine Learning & AI in Media and Creative Industry
Media and other creative industries primarily rest on four pillars – Creation, Production, Diffusion, and Consumption. Let’s find out how AI and ML affect each of these pillars, to bring about some kind of change in these industries.
This is perhaps the toughest job for AI to take up. Generic content like sports reviews, stock updates, and financial summaries can be fed to the computers and consequent automated narratives can be generated. Quantitative analyses are perfect for this purpose.
Various brands have already started utilizing AI to create easy and quick content. Companies may use AI tools to enhance the quality or increase the volume of their content.
Advances in Machine Learning (particularly, Natural Language Processing) have also given the ability to predict consumer behavior and direct them likewise. Each engagement works as a data point for the computer software.
On one hand, production tasks are usually highly creative, requiring a clear vision, a complete understanding of listeners and viewers, and extensive experience in order to craft a package or a program that meets the consumers’ needs and at the same time keeps them riveted. On the other hand, there are a few production tasks that are repetitive and require calculation. These tasks could be performed by AI and Machine Learning.
Content Diffusion and Distribution
Content management is a natural area of application for AI technology. Although the unstructured nature of video and audio data makes it more difficult to classify, advances in techniques such as image, emotion, and speech recognition have enabled media technology buyers to increasingly rely on AI tools to organize and search their content archives.
Content distribution is another hot area of application with end-users. For instance, Netflix uses AI not only to suggest better content depending on viewing preferences but also to optimize video compression and delivery.
According to users’ input (e.g., their behavior and interactive patterns), a model of the users’ traits, states, skills, and preferences could be built. This model could then be used in order to provide users with personalized content and experience, adapted to each user.
For example, for music or movie consumption, a model of the users’ preferences in terms of music/movie genre can first be built based on the users’ previous choices of music/movie.
Then, new music/movies, likely to be suitable to this user’s taste could be provided based on recommender systems. This is where artificial neural networks play a key role.
London – A Case-Study
London is a leading hotspot when it comes to the media and creative industry. London’s diverse range of theatres, pubs, restaurants, music venues, and nightclubs is second to none.
The city attracts talent and enterprises from all over the globe. The creative economy is estimated to provide one in six jobs in London and the creative industries generate around £47 billion for the London economy. The creative industry is also one of London’s fastest-growing sectors.
Creative Enterprise Zones of London focus on supporting artists and helping creative businesses put down roots and thrive. They will help artists and creative businesses to stay in London by providing affordable workspace, business support, and new routes into creative jobs.
Since 2012, the number of jobs in the creative sector (see Figure 1) and cultural industries has increased by 24%, bringing the total number of jobs to over 880,000 in 2016. Furthermore, and despite perceptions of low pay, people working in the creative and cultural industries receive relatively high earnings, with a gross median hourly pay for employees of £19.52 in 2016 – 23% higher than in other industries.
Future Perspectives on Creativity vs Automation
Creative Sector in London
While in the foreseeable future around one-third of London’s jobs could be automated, the creative and cultural industries are likely to be one of the most resilient.
Centre for London research estimated a 24% potential for jobs within the Arts, Entertainment & Recreation sector to be automated within the next 20 years – compared to the Wholesale & Retail and Transportation & Storage sectors, which have a 60% and 63% potential respectively.
Further research by Nesta shows that occupations categorized as highly creative – artists, musicians, designers, actors – are not at high risk of automation.
The US Scenario
In the US, the arts and culture have experienced significant economic setbacks from COVID-19. Across the spectrum of artistic and creative endeavors, restrictions on gatherings, changes in consumer behavior (voluntary or otherwise), and severe unemployment have taken a devastating toll on the sector.
The full scope and scale of the impact can be hard to discern, in part because of the size and diversity of the industries and occupations that constitute arts and culture.
What Does Data Suggest?
At present, consumers still favor humans when it comes to music, with 65% saying they prefer humans as writers and performers of pop music. However, the Connected Intelligent Machines report finds that six in ten of us believe that artificial musicians will be able to outperform humans in the hit charts by 2030.
The report also finds that today’s consumers consider movies, like music, a domain for human creativity, with six in ten consumers saying they would prefer human movie producers compared to AI counterparts. However, most of those respondents are seemingly unaware that AI is already used in the movie industry to augment human decision-making.
Content is just as much about creativity as it is automation. As long as that remains the formula, there will always be a starring role for the human in future content creation. That’s because creativity is seldom a solitary pursuit, but rather a collaborative effort.
Can AI/Automation Really Kill Creative Careers?
Before we get to the conclusion, let’s first understand what are AI/ML and Creativity.
What is AI & Machine Learning?
Essentially what some really smart people out there are trying to achieve, is a computer system that emulates human intelligence.
To achieve this, every system needs a starting point – massive amounts of data.
For example, in order to train a computer system to tell the difference between a cat and a dog, you would have to feed it with thousands of images of cats and dogs. Read this beginner’s guide to AI & Machine Learning.
What is creativity?
“Creativity is seeing what everyone else saw, and thinking what no one else thought”― Albert Einstein
Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality.
Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing.
So how difficult can that be for AI to achieve? It certainly seems that in today’s world, creativity is actually very arbitrary.
So, what is the “Solution”?
It’s time to future-proof your career!
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted economies and jobs all around the world. When it comes to the non-STEM domain, a good majority of the arts & humanities graduates have suffered a lot. However, if you have passion and talent, don’t leave out the creative sector and unwillingly settle for a STEM career.
Instead, if you have a burning desire to pursue creative careers, go the extra mile. You should understand and leverage technology, including AI, creative computing, and digital technologies. Earlier, we have covered How AI and Digital Technologies are Creating More Jobs for Arts & Humanities Graduates.
The creative industries are already exploring innovative routes to COVID-19 recovery, including new business models, experiences, and forms of creative production emerging from the need to survive, invent, and respond to changing demands during pandemic restrictions.
AI Creating More Job Opportunities in the Creative Sector than Ever Before
Practitioners are taking AI technologies and using them to push the boundaries of what we previously thought possible. In this way, AI is set to revolutionize creative media. New forms of AI can make great differences to the way we work in fashion, fine art, broadcasting, journalism, music, and film.
The unprecedented adoption and experimentation with new tools and technologies over the last 18 months have further accelerated interest in the practical and playful possibilities of Creative AI.
Prior to COVID-19, the creative industries were one of the fastest-growing parts of the UK economy, with digital technology and ambitious R&D – including AI – central to its future. However, the creative industries never stand alone and will also play a key role in helping society emerge from this challenging period.
What are the challenges?
The main challenges facing the creative practitioner of integrating these technologies into their workflow are the following:
- Learning how to code: If you want to work with deep learning neural networks, you will need to learn how to code.
- Learning the individual syntax of each framework: Each of the frameworks mentioned above have their own way of doing things. To learn how to use a framework, you will need to learn commands specific to that framework.
Education Combining Arts, Media & Creativity with AI and Creative Computing
It’s true that the current job market is heavily dominated by STEM jobs. Arts and Humanities graduates are struggling; especially, in the post-pandemic era.
However, there are jobs in the arts, media & creative sectors. The requirement of the skill set has changed.
This is why a lot of technologically-focused universities are gaining more traction in the field of arts & humanities.
Earlier, it used to be only the big brands like Stanford and MIT. But, now, a lot of other universities are doing great in terms of research and employability in the arts & humanities domain. Read Technology-focused universities are rising up the arts and humanities subject rankings.
Careers and Jobs that Combine Arts & Creativity with AI & Computing
- Software development for the creative industries
- Customer insight and personalization for the creative industries
- Digital product development for the creative industries
- Research and development for the creative industries
- Content creation for creative industries
- User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) Designer
- Interaction Designer
- Information Architect
- Data Scientist/Researcher
- Graphics, Media, and Digital Designer
- App Developer
- Research Assistant
- Creative Consultant
New-Age Courses to Boost Arts & Creative Careers by Leveraging AI
Example#1: Courses at MIT
At MIT, all undergraduates take a series of required classes, nearly a quarter of which are in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Many students go much deeper – majoring and earning degrees in architecture, design, history, languages, linguistics, literature, music, philosophy, or theatre – often alongside a degree in a STEM field.
Graduate students also come to MIT for advanced degrees in disciplines including architecture, design, media, philosophy, linguistics, science writing, comparative media studies, and multidisciplinary programs such as ACT (art, culture and technology), MAS (media arts and sciences), and HASTS (history, anthropology, and STS: science, technology and society).
Example#2: Research and Education in the UK
The Alan Turing Institute
The AI & arts interest group at the Alan Turing Institute is a multi-disciplinary effort encompassing multiple stakeholders drawn from academia to cultural heritage institutions to the creative industries and policy-makers.
The group is motivated by the fact that we are currently experiencing a digital revolution driven by the constantly increasing amount of data in our world.
The AI & arts group is primarily interested in those scenarios where artistic content is created and then delivered and consumed. This means we look at the application of AI and data science to
- support cultural institutions to improve their understanding of their audiences
- support and enhance creative practice in music, performance, visual arts, and moving image
- connect creative individuals and their creations to audiences
University of Arts London (UAL)
The MSc Data Science and AI for the Creative Industries program at UAL offers a great opportunity to re-orient their studies to an applied STEM discipline in a creative industries context. The program provides applied computer science skills, data science training and introduces students to functional approaches to AI across multiple use cases.
There is another program – MA/MSc Computing and Creative Industry, which provides even more flexibility in creating a customized postgraduate program.
For example, units available in this course come from MSc Creative Computing, MSc Data Science and the Creative Industries, and MA Internet Equalities. This means you are able to select specific areas of study that interest you and tailor your post-graduate experience at the CCI to support your career aspirations.
Queen Mary University of London (QMUL)
The MSc Media and Arts Technology program at QMUL program teaches how to combine world-class technical and creative skills to shape digital transformation and improve lives.
Students will learn creative computing techniques, interactive system design, user evaluation, and study data analytics methodologies and tools.
Other Countries in Focus – Ireland and New Zealand
Ireland and New Zealand are the other two countries that are also coming up with more courses in this field.
The Creative Technologies Research Theme at the Trinity College Dublin integrates creative arts and technology, creating a unique and dynamic combination in areas of multimedia, gaming, content, and production.
The Postgraduate program (M.Phil) in Music and Media Technologies gives an equal emphasis to technological and artistic domains, with particular reference to Music and to emerging New Media markets. While Music is the cornerstone of the program, the structure of the course encompasses all aspects of New Media technology and artistry – audio, video, web, and interactivity.
The University of Limerick is another Irish institute that has been doing solid work in combining media & arts and technology education. The Master’s Degree in Art and Technology program fuses emerging media, computer science, electronic music, and digital art. Through its strong emphasis on practice, the program explores the impact that technological advances and art have had across cultural disciplines.
In New Zealand, popular universities with similar focus are:
“Our intelligence is what makes us human, and AI is an extension of that quality.”― Yann LeCun
High school is a wonderful time if you make good use of it. Again, your academic performance will always be the prime focus, but that’s not the only focus; every youngster should focus on building themselves up to be a value-adding person to the University ecosystem they want to get into. Not only will all these extracurriculars help you grow as a person, but they will also get you ready for the years to come when you’re abroad.
Stoodnt is conducting a 3-Week Liberal Arts Summer Program for Grade 8 – 12 Students. The Online program includes Visual Arts, Mass Communication & Journalism, Storytelling, Creative Writing, Graphic Design, Academic Research, Entrepreneurship & Finance, College Essays, Liberal Arts College Admissions Guidance, and Electives around STEM subjects including Coding & AI for beginners. If you are interested, feel free to Apply Here.