AI ‘cannot replace human creativity’

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McCann India chairman/ceo/chief creative officer Prasoon Joshi, received a special citation by the Abbys at Goafest 2018 for his immense contribution to advertising.

In an interview with exchange4media, Joshi spoke about the changing dynamics of advertising in the wake of disruptive technology and how advertisers are coming to terms with this shift.

You have been part of the Master Jury this year. Can you tell us about the key areas that the jury wanted to improve?
“One important feedback was about that when you do integrated campaigns, there are many stakeholders in it. These used to be times when only one agency used to do all the work. Today you have got one event company doing that work, one content creator who is also contributing.

“So when you overall look at the integrated campaign for a brand, to be fair we have to at least mention every contributor who would have contributed. It’s like one painting which is in bits and pieces contributed by many people. So that painting is incomplete if you take two peoples contribution out of that.”

Your work continues to inspire and guide new talent and the Abbys this year once again recognised this contribution. How special is this peer group honour from the numerous awards and accolades that you have so far?
“This industry is home to me. Advertising is where I have been brought up. I came in this industry where I had no clue of what I would do with the wiring I had in my head. This is the place where I learnt the art of storytelling and I nurtured my interest in music I think it’s a great industry in terms of collaboration and when your peer group honours you that is a different feeling completely. It has an immense amount of warmth and I cherish this honour.”

How is technology shaping contemporary advertising?
“In today’s world there is fear that technology is so rapidly changing that creativity and amusement can be confused. After some time you might run out of amusement but craft can make the difference. Craft has the power to say the same thing again and yet sound fresh and new.

“Creativity is not science, its art. AI and data is science. So science will go hand in hand with art but let’s not confuse the two.

How would you describe the interplay between artificial intelligence and human creativity in advertising? Can the two co-exist and how?
‘How Artificial Intelligence (AI) in advertising will work is that you would feed a lot of scripts and what has been done before, and AI would do permutations and combinations and create fresh things out of it.

“But for the writer and the creative people you don’t do permutations and combinations of work done before.

“With AI I feel it would be difficult to touch upon an emotion which has never been touched before.

“Most importantly, when you are developing AI, you are feeding in ‘already-been-expressed’ emotion. AI’s inability to experience raw emotion, which humans have, will form the crux of the AI vs human creativity debate in time.

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