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Artificial Intelligence or Humaan Intelligence?

20 July 2023

It is clear that the world isn’t ready for another opinion piece on how AI is going to revolutionise our industry, however as with any new technology, the landscape is much more nuanced and only through practical evaluation do the true use cases start to appear.

It is fair to say that the opinions of the Humaan team around the use and application of AI are mixed.

Our naturally curious tendencies, combined with a passion for exploring emergent technologies means that there is a significant cohort within the team who are fully engaged in the conversation and display a voracious appetite for learning and application. Conversely, the more pragmatic and cynical members of the team (author included) are on the sceptical side of the spectrum, viewing AI in its current form and more pertinently, GenAI, as a tactical tool that risks clouding key client conversations around brand growth, audience engagement and marketing strategy.

Is AI here to stay and take on the world? Or can we repurpose the crown we used for last year’s coronation of the metaverse?

To discover the truth, we ran a hack.

At 4pm on a Friday (AKA Friday 4s) we power down for the week, raid the fridge for something cold and listen to a rotating cast of Humaans espouse anything and everything from the latest project updates, personal challenges faced or identified UX and technology trends in the market. It is a sacred ritual, so whilst we were busy discussing the week that was, we asked Framer to create a new website for a generic house building company.

Artificial Intelligence or Humaan Intelligence?

Head of Implementation, Paul Spencer, briefed the script to the robots before hitting the big red deploy button. “Framer isn’t a tool that we use often, but we have heard a lot about their new website creation feature so we thought we would try it out. The results are naturally questionable, but it was able to create a basic IA with sample content across both desktop and mobile devices in under 15 seconds.”

“It is an impressive output under the constraints, yet you can clearly see all the tropes of basic website creation and category cues in its construct which it would have leveraged from a huge data set that probably reaches millions of existing online experiences.”

Dan Moore, Head of UX & Design, agrees. “It was certainly an eye-opener, but it is highly unlikely ever to be a feasible avenue of website creation for the agency. We pride ourselves on creating extraordinary experiences, built by humans (us), on behalf of humans (clients) and most importantly, to be used by humans (audiences). Creating that moment of deep engagement with a website or app is predicated on combining true audience insight with exceptional design thinking. For all the advancements in AI, these are two areas that the technology is still lacking in.”

“We hear about organisations using this form of AI in order to give them a head start before they then go back in and finesse the work. The challenge I have with this approach is that your foundations are compromised from the beginning, meaning you are always polishing, not creating something bespoke from the bottom up. We are certainly advocates of data to shape and inform our decision making, however, we prefer to layer quantitative analytics over qualitative insight to provide both scale of audience intent and validation to our strategic recommendations.”

That is not to say that AI is not being used within the agency as Moore explains; “There is merit in embracing AI tools to assist with our workflow, such as Github’s Copilot or utilising ChatGPT to generate placeholder copy when content isn’t readily available. Whilst this will never be the complete solution, it can often aid the internal stakeholder approval process, especially with client teams who are less conceptual and abstract in their thinking.”

However, there is one significant use-case of AI where Humaan has been a strong advocate and proud early adopter; meme creation. Our Slack channels are full of generated imagery showcasing an alternative reality for our team; from developers in space, to our design team as army generals, new Humaan logos and much more.

Artificial Intelligence or Humaan Intelligence?

In the short term, Humaan will continue to explore viable implementations for AI technology to help us continue to add value to our clients and their projects. This could be surrounding website content, code writing or creating project efficiencies to help meet deadlines, with other potential use cases to be evaluated as they become apparent.

However, asking technology to create that magical intersection of brand experience and audience intent is still going to be challenging for AI. It remains fundamentally a human experience and one that we will continue to create using our Humaan Intelligence.

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