Often, when people talk about artificial intelligence (AI) and creativity, they’re debating the ability of AI systems themselves to be creative. Indeed, one initiative to produce “art” with AI-powered robots traces its roots back to the mid-1980s. AI has also been enlisted to help create music and even to write horror stories.
However, most of the intersection between AI and creativity – at least for the near future – will be of a different sort. The most common scenario will involve AI systems freeing people from tedious tasks, thus giving them more time to be creative and innovative.
AI is already showing that most task that can be systemized can be done by a machine. There are innumerable labor-intensive processes that AI systems can automate. For example, systems powered with AI technologies can:
- Sort through huge datasets of retail sales, identifying patterns and trends that can inform forecasts and inventory decisions.
- Categorize, label, and analyze troves of unstructured data, including documents, audio files, video files, and images.
- Serve as a first line of cyber defense, analyzing logs of network traffic and user activities to identify known attack signatures or abnormal behaviors.
In the past, teams of people have been able to perform some of these data entry, categorization, and analysis tasks, though many have been repetitive and/or manually intensive. As digital transformation has occurred, and with it the generation of huge volumes of structured and unstructured data, many of these tasks have simply moved beyond the realm of human capabilities. AI-powered systems are rapidly stepping in to fill the gap.
Not every person freed from a repetitive process will automatically become a creative genius, of course. But with AI systems automating many time-consuming task and processes, large numbers of workers will be freed up to spend more time focused on strategic activities, including some that are creative.
In fact, a recent survey of 2,300 global business and IT leaders by MIT Technology Review Insights ®, in association with Pure Storage®, found widespread support for the emerging link between AI and creativity. Nearly half (47%) strongly agreed with the statement that, thanks to AI, “We could dedicate more time to thinking creatively about the business challenges we (and our clients) face.”
Not surprisingly, the survey respondents also closely associated AI’s application with well-defined and repetitive tasks. Forty-four percent strongly agreed with the statement, “AI will be of most use to businesses that replicate tasks and rely on routine procedures.”
Helping to foster creativity is just one of many ways in which data-driven AI is expected to impact businesses. To view the full findings of the survey, visit here.