Insight | Tips | Creative Industry

Jack, our Animation lead shares his thoughts on AI and where it might fit into our world as creatives.

Words By: Jack Purling

10 June 2024

My opinion on AI has been a bit of a roller coaster, from the early days of having a laugh, generating a blurry Paddington bear starring in Mad Max, to the “Oh shit” moment of seeing it generating something usable and a general concern for mine and so many jobs in the industry. Today, I’ve calmed down, keeping a watchful eye on developments, but on the whole, I don’t really worry about our place in the world as creatives.

It’s here, it’s not going anywhere. It’s fair to say there’s a huge percentage of creatives, myself included, that are skeptical and concerned about the rise of Generative AI, some see it as a herald of the “enshittification of the internet”, others are worried about it’s ethical impact and the growing amount of resources it drains. Even with this in mind, I don’t see this beast being effectively managed with government intervention unless the PM gets wrangled in an AI generated sex scandal.

And with all that baggage, there’s thousands of companies already using it for their day to day content (despite a growing mistrust in AI content). If potential customers are moving to using work that they can generate something “good enough” in a click of a button, it’s a heartbreaking thought that us traditional creatives will have to down tools and learn prompting to keep up, to have a slim chance of staying in an industry we love.

“This blog was 100% written by a human (you can probably tell by the bad grammar).”

Jack Purling

Or will we?

It would be foolish of us to ignore the pace of generative advancements, but we’re in a strong position to recognise the flaws and problems with using it, and advise our clients accordingly. But I feel there’s an expectation to use AI now, everyone’s heard about it now, everyone knows it could save them time and money, so it’s only a matter of time until we’re asked “How can AI save us money on this?” We’re not in this game to make a quick profit, unlike big tech pushing these apps, we genuinely care about telling your compelling story, we’re not going to use fast solutions for the sake churning out content, but spend time crafting something that meets your goals.

Saying that, there’s actually a range of tools we can use to help advance our workflows without sacrificing our integrity, from upscalers like Topaz, and Adobe’s audio clean up, I see these tools are doing what the emergence of After effects did to B2B video, before having a personalised animation would only been available to big money hitters like banks and coca cola, it brings the bar of accessibility down to something affordable, now with these tools anyone can have a 4k video with crisp clear audio.

Transparency is Key

As I write this, at Meantime we’re currently putting together a framework of acceptable AI usage, we recognise the usefulness of some tools but are keen to draw a line in the sand of where our ethics stand, asking ourselves questions like how far should we use GPTs, good for grammar and tone checking perhaps, but what about feeding it NDA documents to build a script? Perhaps we’re comfortable using Midjourney to generate small assets for a collage piece, but find a fully generative film dishonest? Hopefully by asking these questions we can figure out the best way to keep up with trends, offer value to our clients but maintain our personal ethics.

It should be said everything written so far is my opinion, i’m not representing the company policy here. I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone’s views and sharing them with you all. In a world of increasing AI usage, I believe we’ll be seeing more of these frameworks, which will be as important as Privacy Policies or Modern Slavery Statements. Having transparency to build trust, authenticity, that human connection, that’s what will set us apart from the prompt engineers.