My esteemed colleague Jake Sorofman’s recent post got my attention. Probably because I really like Jake’s writing, but also because I’ve been around tech for awhile. And my dad’s an artist who literally only uses his eyes, hands and some paint to create. Stuff. Paintings.
So what really got me going was when Jake asked the questions, “…can automation commoditize the human genius now required to produce emotionally evocative content? Can this lightning in a bottle be canned and distributed at scale?”
Now we’re headed to that fork in the road where Jake and I part ways. He goes on to say that human emotions are easily mainpulated and that given certain well-known and well understood forms of storytelling — his example of Hollywood is spot-on — a well designed machine could spit out a convincing script. Perhaps. But what will happen is an exponential increase in derivative, formulaic content that while satisfying a majority of consumers, ultimately works against the audience and the creators. Why? As it becomes more and more predictable, the content — and from a marketer’s perspective, what marketing messages can be associated with it — reduce even quicker than the machines can master reductive storytelling. Why? Because it becomes the norm. And all the norm knows how to do is replicate itself. Machines can certainly gain further insight by repetion and clever programming, but ultimately they will simply refine an exisitng model.
So to all the creatives of the world, I ask you not to ignore my esteemed colleague. Rather, as you contemplate the power in automation, also try to remember the words of noted philosopher (and shredding guitarist), Frank Zappa who once said:
“Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.”