ADFEST 2024: Will A.I. Replace Me? What Can I Do About It?

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ADFEST 2024: Will A.I. Replace Me? What Can I Do About It?

A.I. was certainly on the lips of many at ADFEST 2024, on and off stage. While many agreed that AI won’t replace H.I. (human intelligence), which answers the first question, the bigger question is that second one. What are people going to do about it?


“A.I. won’t replace creatives. People who adopt it well, will,” warns Ashwini Deshpande, Co-Founder & Director of Elephant Design Pune and Design Lotus and Print & Outdoor Craft Lotus Jury President. Machine-aided art directors streamline visuals with tools like Midjourney, while A.I.-powered writers use ChatGPT for thought-starters, giving these A.I.-empowered creatives more time to innovate. Those who don’t, will simply get left behind.

In the right hands, A.I. is indeed a powerful tool. But is there more to A.I. than a creative assistant that doesn’t need coffee, sleep and TikTok doom-scrolling breaks?

“We shouldn’t just be asking, ‘What can A.I. do for us?’ We should also ask, ‘What can we do with A.I.?’” shares Malcolm Poynton, Global Chief Creative Officer of Cheil Worldwide and ADFEST 2024 Grand Jury President. The first simply stops at using A.I. to help creators save time. The second involves applying A.I. to make your consumers’ lives better.

The difference can certainly be appreciated with Cheil Worldwide’s innovative projects under Poynton’s charge – Samsung Talk, that uses eye tracking and A.I. to enable ALS patients to communicate and control home utilities, and Samsung Unfear, thatuses A.I. to filter out stressful noises that affect those on the autism spectrum in real-time. Just to name a few.

Of course, turning to A.I. alone won’t win hearts. Or votes in the judging room. Within the ADFEST judging rooms, jurors noted ‘A.I. for A.I.’s sake’ entries with no human connection falling short. “On the other hand, the best entries used human intelligence to dive deep into human insight, before choosing the right tool to connect to people, even if it is A.I,” shares Sulin Lau, Regional Head of Brand and Marketing – Mobility, Deliveries, Fintech, B2B, Grab Singapore and Brand Experience Lotus, Commerce Lotus & Direct Lotus jury member. “In fact, some of the best entries didn’t even have big trendy tech in the execution.”

Where does one begin? With A.I. evolving at such an exponential rate, it would make Skynet jealous. “People tend to use A.I. to strive for perfection, or to speed up processes,” shares Laurent Thevenet, Head of Creative Technology of Publicis Groupe APAC & MEA, who was a part of the “AI: Ad Industry Friend or Foe” panel on the ADFEST conference stage. “But remember, you’re a creative. Get your hands dirty, play with it and reach weird territories.” To illustrate his point, Thevenet recommends checking out @Niceaunties on Instagram.

Khun Vinit Suraphongchai, ADFEST Chairperson, offers a poignant perspective, “There’s no A.I. vs H.I. This isn’t a sports match with clear winners or losers. Unlike a match, the evolution of technology is constant and unpredictable. The best approach? Collaborate. Use your human experience to guide A.I. in a manner that resonates and positively impacts humanity. That way, we all win.”