There is a prevailing sentiment lately online that, “AI is going to take our jobs”. I have heard and seen this on LinkedIn (which is why I am posting here, as well as on LinkedIn) and various social channels like Reddit and Instagram. Midjourney, the visual AI, has already produced an incredible amount of art, photos, and illustrations with amazing style and detail based on user prompts through Discord. Not to be outdone, Adobe has an AI tool (Firefly) integrated with their Creative Cloud, and Canva is offering a similar AI tool. The big change in conversation seems to be around ChatGPT, which already has millions of users and is generally writing everything for everyone.
I understand fear of being replaced in your job (the transition to AI has already claimed the Wendy’s drive-thru) but I think a lot of this conversation is really about fear of change. In tarot cards, the “Death” card is feared, but is more appropriately a sign of change in one’s life, not the end of life.
“The Death card shows the Messenger of Death – a skeleton dressed in black armor, riding a white horse. The skeleton represents the part of the body that survives long after life has left it; the armor symbolizes invincibility, and that death will come no matter what. Its dark color is that of mourning and the mysterious, while the horse is the color of purity and acts as a symbol of strength and power. Death carries a black flag decorated with a white, five-petal rose, reflecting beauty, purification, and immortality and the number five representing change. Together, these symbols reveal that death isn’t just about life ending. Death is about endings and beginnings, birth and rebirth, change and transformation. There is beauty in death, and it is an inherent part of being alive”– biddytarot.com
I see AI as a huge change to our work and world. If anything, we should be embracing AI as a powerful tool to unlock new creativity, new productivity, and new dreams. For some people displaced by AI taking their current job, I’m optimistic it will also open up new possibilities in more expressive, creative, or fulfilling fields.
It is easy to be optimistic about these changes when it is not your career or job being replaced. There is a human cost to progress, and it feels exceptionally personal and targeted to lose your job. As the discussion around AI continues we cannot forget this human consideration, and accommodate for it in what AI can do to benefit future career trajectories. I believe there is a place where progress and human fulfillment can both be advanced with what enhanced artificial intelligence can provide.
As a child, I drew the worlds in my head on entire reams of paper. I created whole worlds filled with monsters, princesses, knights, and dragons (some inspiration for my most recent gameboard project, Heart of Korrem). I also had a constant frustration that I couldn’t express fully what was in my head and share it with others. The world and vision were too vast, and even with the unlimited time I had as a kid, I never approached showing all of it. I had a secondary fantasy of cloning myself to do more, create more, and finally get the full vision out in front of my friends and family.
AI can fulfill this productivity fantasy. Adobe’s Firefly has incredible promises, such as using your own art as “seed art” to create more in your style faster. In high school I was introduced to Photoshop, and I was initially furious at it; it is cheating! I spent the day coloring when you could color quicker and faster with Photoshops fill tool. I saw PSD as a shortcut and an unfair advantage over analog coloring – and I see now how immature and unready for change I was.
There will always be a market for vintage; art inked, drawn, colored, and edited by hand. Handmade art will also continue to be a meditative practice for artists; I know I draw and color to relieve stress aside from creating something of value. There will always be a need for creative new thinking, despite the benefit of advanced tools like ChatGPT, Firefly, and others. AI is a powerful tool, and we would be foolish to turn away from it because it is scary, new, or misunderstood.