The problem with intelligence

Artificial intelligence is dangerous. Not because it is artificial, but because it is intelligent. A commentary by Simon Rehsche, Co-Founder and Partner at Neu Creative Agency.

Simon Rehsche, Co-Founder and Partner at Neu Creative Agency

The creative industry is experiencing disruption with the advent of AI. This is exciting, thrilling and inspiring. And it harbors profound dangers. Soothing platitudes such as "no jobs will be lost, new ones will simply be created" or "in future, we will focus more on what fulfills us" are only partially soothing, even after being repeated a thousand times - because they are an expression of a too one-sided view.

Questions such as "Are job profiles, is our business model under threat?" or "Are other players crowding us out?" are important. However, another aspect is just as important and probably much more influential for the world we all live in:

The more widespread artificial intelligence becomes in our lives, the more directly artificial intelligence shapes our world in general, the more intelligent this world becomes. That sounds good at first. But what does it mean for the influences that inspire and shape us humans if they become increasingly, indeed maximally, or at some point only intelligent? When there is only intelligent humor, intelligent art, intelligent advertising?

It's called the creative industry, not the intelligence industry

"Intelligent" is used as a synonym for "good" in almost all areas of life. No wonder: intelligence, for example, is the best predictor of professional success across all professions, including those in the creative industry. An intelligent strategy is a good strategy, an intelligent decision is a good decision. Intelligence is also a necessary condition for creativity. But not a sufficient one. With the availability of AI tools, intelligence is becoming increasingly dominant as a formative force and is often confused with creativity - even in our industry, because intelligent ideas are often difficult to distinguish from creative ones. However, we should always be aware of one thing: AI tools are called AI and not AI tools for good reason. Whether artificial or human: intelligence applies rules, creativity breaks them and finds new ones.

The moment for purpose is now

Intelligence is tempting. It is linear, comprehensible, risk-free. It optimizes, is efficient. In detail, it is exactly what we strive for, especially in our risk-averse culture. But intelligence can also be terribly boring. It runs smoothly, it does not polarize, it does not provoke, it does not make mistakes. What is right in an economic context to maximize economic success is not only undesirable for our world as a whole: the idea of a world in which we always act intelligently in everything and are consequently only exposed to intelligent influences is a downer. After our industry has confused the term "purpose" with hygiene factors such as inclusion and sustainability in recent years, now is the best time to reflect on real purpose. The purpose of creativity. And thus the drive to protect our world from boring, slick perfection, repetition and boredom. This is only possible if we do not confuse creativity with intelligence. Not only - but also in the use of AI.

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