AI has become the new buzzword that has been applied to anything and everything. You can’t attend trade shows without seeing AI attached to labels such as AI apps, AI-enhanced coffee, and AI influenced healthcare, etc. As of recent, AI has been in transition mode. It has moved from merely a “hype label” to something of reality. Some are even calling it the AI-driven “fourth industrial revolution.” On today’s show, I am going to be discussing AI and how it can be applied and used in innovation.
Innovation and creation come from our learnings and experiences. With every new creation comes inspiration from something else. Edison didn’t invent the lightbulb; he perfected it. Einstein was inspired by physicists that went before him. So what is the difference between AI invented and AI-inspired? Input and experience play a key role. For AI, that comes in the form of the “training data” supplied to the system to recognize patterns and identify the best solutions. Training data is critically important and allows AI to do what it does. It is part of an element called machine learning, which has historically applied to games like chess and go. It was initially thought that humans had a unique advantage at these kinds of things. Here are a few examples that may prove otherwise:
- Deep Blue’swin over Chess champion Garry Kasparov. It took multiple attempts, but the robot’s skill evolved after a while.
- IBM Watson’sJeopardy win over human trivia kings.
- Google DeepMind’s Go-playing bot’s win against a Korean grandmaster. The top player has retired, saying that a human will never be better than a computer at Go.
Is this proof that AI is becoming smarter than humans? It depends on how you define smart. Do you define it by IQ number, critical thinking skills, or memorization? What makes humans smart? Let’s not move too fast here. In the case of chess, the key is to recognize patterns and to be able to look at the number of steps ahead. These are two skills that computers have become quite good at using machine learning. So is that the definition of smart?
There is no doubt that AI will make an impact. Will it have an impact on innovation? If so, how will it be manifested? In what ways can we use AI to support our innovation endeavors? Are you ready to jump in?
AI and Creativity
One example of AI is in the writing of stories for Associated Press
AP uses deep learning in its Wordsmith tool to generate millions of news stories for financial services and sports, outpacing the output of all major media companies combined. Wordsmith has been trained on articles written by others that were redeemed as “good.” It plans to offer medium-specific stories, such as those published online and read on the air by newscasters, publication-specific stories separately tailored for publications like the New York Times and Buzzfeed. The question I ask myself is, could they write the script for my show? Not really, because my show isn’t triggered by press releases, and based on a specific style. So what is the downside of this? No one is reading the press release to validate it manually.
One of my hobbies is to write instrumental music I use during ideation and brainstorming workshops. They recently came out with an experimental AI plugin from Magenta Studio. I’ve been experimenting with it to see if it can be a tool to help me create better instrumentals
Magenta provides a pretty easy way to get started with AI applied to create music. Another example of AI applied to creativity is when Christie, in October 2018, auctioned its first work of art generated by an algorithm called a generative adversarial network (GAN). This GAN approach meant that the AI was fed 15,000 portraits painted between the 14th and 20th centuries to train it in a style of art. Then a portrait was created by one computer network (the generating computer) that attempted to convince a second computer (the discriminating computer) that the image it generated should pass as real art. The discriminating computer is trained with portraits to teach it how to discern what a good portrait looks like so it can play the referee. The generating computer’s task is to create convincing art through a feedback loop, which improves both their capabilities over time. The portrait that passed the test sold for $432,000. This begs some important questions: Who should get the byline for the article published by the wordsmith tool for AP? Who gets the songwriter credit for the new song?
Who should sign their signature to the painting?
Could AI be applied to creating ideas that result in high impact innovations? Could it replace human creativity? Could AI be used to generate new ideas? I don’t think so. It could be used, however, as a tool to take raw ideas and apply AI to expand, enhance, and improve them. Possibly a tool to help the human side of brainstorming get past the mental block of generating more and better ideas.
So if we use AI as a tool to “create,” …
- Who should get the byline for the article published by the wordsmith tool for AP?
- Who gets the songwriter credit for the new song created by a tool like Magenta Studio?
- Who should sign their signature to the painting?
- Who should get credit on the patent application for a tool that helped in brainstorming?
AI augments what authors and inventors can do. With advances in machine learning, the interaction between algorithms and the creative process is changing. AI now allows artists to find unexpected beauty in chaos and complexity that exceeds the human grasp. AI is something to experiment with. It shouldn’t be feared. I am very optimistic about the role AI can play as a tool.
Five Minutes to New Ideas
No two people are alike. We all enjoy different movies, music, and experiences. To be normal is not to be average, but different. For some reason, we are uncomfortable showing our differences. Many people feel inadequate when looking at others around them. Face it; we are all quirky. Everyone has their own “normal.” It is normal to follow your natural inclinations. Trying to conform to the crowd is not acting like yourself. We are all outstanding in some way. Once we find what our “super-power” is, life takes on a new meaning. What are the steps to being content with who we are? Find out who you are and be that. Discover your strengths and use them. This week on Five Minutes to New Ideas, tell yourself, “You are unique, and it is your duty to be who you are. “
Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is email@example.com, or you can go to PhilMcKinney.com and drop me a note there. If you are looking for innovation support, go to TheInnovators.Network or want to be challenged to develop the next big idea, check out our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.
To learn more about applying AI to innovate ideas, listen to this week’s show: Will AI Replace Human Creativity?