The rise of the creative machines

Written by NTN staff

A new report from Ericsson finds that the introduction of AI systems will affect most professions in the future, with job roles changing rather than disappearing.

The question on many peoples lips is how artificial intelligence will be used in the workplace and if it will complement or substitute human skills.

It is expected that the application of machine learning will free up time and resources. For example, the Swedish municipality of Trelleborg has assigned a robot for administrative tasks, such as handling applications for financial assistance and security alarms.
But what about letting computers carry out assignments that require creativity?

The debate whether computers can be truly creative started two years ago after world Go game champion, Lee Sedol, lost to AlphaGo, a computer program developed by the Google company DeepMind. What surprised the engineers and Go experts was that AlphaGo had secured the victory with a remarkable move that no human had ever done.

Rebecka Cedering Ångström, co-author of the report, reckons machines will become increasingly flexible and evolve over time, and so AI will be introduced in functions that were previously assumed to require human skills, like creative jobs.

In fact, artificial intelligence is already being used for creative work. The NSynth Super developed by Google creates new sounds for composers and musical artists, and IBM’s Chef Watson combines ingredients based on food chemistry and different cooking techniques for new recipes and flavours.

Another example is Myntra, an Indian fashion e-commerce company that has used artificial intelligence for a long time. One system identifies trending colours, patterns, and cuts by scanning social media, and suggests new designs. Another system evaluates the suggestions and determines which of the designs that are most likely to be popular and should be produced. The approach has been very successful and Myntra is using the technology for two of its brands.

Michael Björn, co-author of the report and Head of Research at the Ericsson Consumer and Industry Lab, says: “The introduction of artificial intelligence systems will affect most professions in the future. In most cases the job roles will change rather than disappear. This means that people will need training to take on new tasks, and lifelong learning schemes will rise in importance.”

The report (here looks at a number of examples where AI or machine learning plays a role in a creative context.