Zebrar’s Simone Clow discusses AI and Innovation in the week that was at SXSW
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Original Link: https://www.bandt.com.au/simone-clow-discusses-ai-innovation-in-the-week-that-was-at-sxsw/

Simone Clow (lead image) is the CEO of creative technology Company Zebrar. Here, Clow talks about attending (and speaking at) SXSW Sydney last week through the lens of creativity and technology…

The highlights for me were David Droga, founder of Droga5 and CEO of Accenture Song, interviewed by the whip-smart and engaging Sunita Gloster. “Creativity needs technology to be real; technology needs creativity to be more relatable and human,” Droga said, “The canvas for creative thinking has never been bigger”. Meaning, that if we think creatively to solve problems and use technology where relevant, the ideas can be bigger, more engaging, more impactful, more purposeful, more powerful and larger reaching “The role of creativity is to keep clients relevant,” he said.

David encouraged creatives to appreciate AI and not fear it. He said, “Gen AI could write the next version of Fast & Furious; you can plug that in right now, and they would give you 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14…Gen AI is not going to write Barbie because that is a different take on things that takes a type of mindset that is leaps, reverence, and quirks that makes us us”.

Pictured Left to Right: David Droga, founder of Droga5 and CEO of Accenture Song. Sunita Gloster, Non-Executive Director for Maurice Blackburn Lawyers and the UN Global Compact Network Australia.

Predictably, AI was a hot topic at SXSW. In her keynote, Amy Webb, futurist, author, professor and CEO of ‘Future Institute Today’, also touched on using AI for Creativity. When approached by a major studio before the writer’s strike in the US, she was asked if AI could write scripts; she replied that it could write 80% of a show where there were years of scripts as a dataset and a clear formula (for example Law and Order). However, AI cannot write anything original. In Charlie Brooker’s (Creator of ‘Black Mirror’) engaging discussion with Julia Zemiro, he also touched on AI saying he asked ChatGPT for a story outline but upon reading it said “I’m bored because this is so derivative… It’s just emulating something. It’s Hoovered up every description of every Black Mirror episode, presumably from Wikipedia and other things that people have written, and it’s just sort of vomiting that back at me. It’s pretending to be something it isn’t capable of being”.

Pictured Left to Right: Emilya Colliver, founder and CEO of Art Pharmacy and Sugar Glider Digital, Mia Forest, digital artist, Simone Clow CEO of Zebrar, Michelle Wang, digital strategist and consultant at Sugar Glider Digital.

So the creative genius (Droga), AI futurist (Webb) and Black Mirror creator (Brooker) agree – mediocre and formulaic work can be outsourced to AI. It will not replace true creativity, which makes sense given AI analyses patterns in datasets, so it needs that dataset as a source.

Amy is an AI optimist in terms of outsourcing analytic and repetitive tasks to AI, but, concerned that in our attempts to remove friction in our interactions with technology, AI will end up making all our decisions for us, and therefore we lose agency (for example, when we search for an answer in a search engine we will just be given the answer and not the option of multiple sources). Over time there will be less choice and more ‘directed’ decisions made for us. Our lives will be homogenised. Good news for brands (who are sponsoring those decisions). Bad news for humans.

Inspirational regarding User Experience Design was Tom Nash, guitarist, DJ, and quadruple amputee (interviewed by global Digital Placemaking expert, designer and speaker Andrew Hoyne). Engaging as a speaker he was insightful and thoughtful about using universal design to “solve problems for the individual that benefit everyone” with “outcomes that expand the user base, improve existing CX for existing users, provide competitive advantage and uncover hidden benefits”.

The talented Kip Williams, artistic director of Sydney Theatre Company, spoke about innovation in the theatre genre, and how he has re-invented stage production. Discussing the tech involved in the staging of his production of Dorian Gray, as a “mashup of cinema and theatre”, with the multiple live cameras and traveling screens, all in real-time contributing to an enriched theatrical experience.

Pictured Left to Right: Emilya Colliver, founder and CEO of Art Pharmacy and Sugar Glider Digital, Mia Forest, digital artist, Simone Clow CEO of Zebrar, Michelle Wang, digital strategist and consultant at Sugar Glider Digital.

Author and art curator Emilya Colliver, digital artist Mia Forrest Forrest and I sat on a panel on Immersive Technology and the Future of the Arts (hosted by Michelle Wang). We discussed Transmedia Entertainment, and Kip’s premise of the genre mashup, predicting the emergence of AI and other immersive technologies, together with the coming of age of Gen Z and Gen Alpha (the generations who grew up on the ipad and expect to be able to interact and immersed in content around them) which will lead to an increase cross collaboration of art/film/games/theatre/dance/music etc.

In the Metaverse Meetup we introduced the newly formed AMAC Australian Metaverse Advisory Council where Angus Stevens (chair of AMAC and CEO of Start Beyond), Trent Clews-de Castella ( co-founder and CEO of PHORIA), Oliver Weidlich (founder and director of design & innovation at Contextual, and Adjunct position at the University of Sydney) and myself introduced our definition of Metaverse: A network of immersive experiences that merge digital and physical realities; enabled by technologies such as virtual and augmented reality and AI. It represents the next generation of the internet, offering new avenues for social connection, entertainment, economic, collaborative and creative activity. We hosted a spirited discussion about Metaverse with real world examples on why it is relevant now and in the future for business and government providing purpose and value (Brand Engagement, Digital Twins, Corporate Training, Education, Medical, Entertainment, Retail, Banking, cultural preservation, social services and so much more).

In summary, we need creative and tech collaborating to solve creative problems and bring value to clients. The possibilities are greater than ever when we combine creative thinking and creative technology. For Agencies and Marketers the next generation will not be advertised to, we need to work together to engage them to authentically interact with brands.

Simone Clow is the Co-Founder and CEO of Zebrar.